Two Best Ingredients to Unclog a Sink 


Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar create a bubbling reaction that can break apart even the most stubborn drain clogs. To use, mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar in a drain, let it sit for 15 minutes and then flush with boiling water. 

If you have metal pipes, this method may also work on clogs caused by hair and grease. If your pipes are made of PVC, skip this option. 

Baking Soda 

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a versatile, inexpensive white powder that can soothe heartburn, zap odors, and deodorize garbage disposals. Its most famous chemistry comes from its role as a leavener, which helps baked goods rise by producing carbon dioxide gas. 

When combined with vinegar, baking soda creates a reaction that loosens and dissolves gunky drain clogs. It is a more gentle alternative to chemical drain cleaners, which can damage pipes and cause skin irritation. 

Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down your sink drain, followed by 1/2 cup of distilled vinegar. The audible fizzing is a sure sign that the two ingredients are reacting to neutralize each other and dislodge your clog. After waiting about an hour, unplug the drain and flush the pipes with a pot of boiling water. If your clog persists, repeat the process. The hot water will help flush away any remaining baking soda and vinegar odors. 


Not only is vinegar a prized cooking ingredient, but it’s also a potent drain cleaner. Its acidity helps to dissolve clogs, especially food scraps that have been sitting in the sink. 

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Pour a cup of vinegar down the drain followed by a pot of boiling water. The bubbling reaction should loosen the clog and allow the hot water to flush it from the pipes. 

You can use lemon juice in place of vinegar, if you prefer. Or you can try using Borax, a concentrated form of baking soda with extra cleaning power. Borax has an added bonus of killing fruit flies, gnats and other annoying pests that love to hang out in clogged drains. 

Bob Vila suggests another natural way to unclog a sink: pour 1/2 cup of salt and then a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, or overnight if it’s a particularly stubborn clog. Then pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to clear the pipes. 


Salt is a natural declogger that works similarly to liquid drain cleaner but is less harsh on your pipes. Mix table salt with baking soda in a ratio of 1 cup to 1/2 cup (or

use more baking soda for a larger clog) and pour it down the drain. Let it sit for about thirty minutes (or overnight for a stubborn clog) before flushing with a pot of boiling water. 

You can also try using Epsom salt, which is different from table salt since it’s a chemical compound that contains magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. This product, which is usually used as a skin softener and pain reliever, can dissolve soap residue and clogs in your drain. 

If these two ingredients aren’t enough to break up your clog, try adding cream of tartar. This compound dissolves buildup along your pipes and clears metal drains of lingering residue. Mix two tablespoons of cream of tartar with baking soda and salt in a mason jar, then close the lid and shake. Pour this mixture down the drain and let it sit for about an hour before flushing with hot water. 

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Grease-Fighting Dish Soap 

Unlike liquid drain cleaners such as drano, this homemade recipe for unclogging a sink is safe for pipes. It combines two ingredients you likely already have on hand: baking soda and boiling water. 

First, remove the sink pop-up stopper or tub stopper and get as much backed-up water out of the drain as possible (but don’t pour it down the clogged pipe). Next, mix 3-5 tablespoons of grease-fighting dish soap with a pot of boiling water. Slowly pour this mixture down the clogged drain, being careful not to splash. 

The hot water helps the dish soap break down the fatty, oily gunk that commonly leads to FOG clogs. When the clog is gone, flush the drain with another pot of boiling water. Repeat if necessary to clear stubborn clogs. And remember, preventing drain clogs in the first place is always best! Scrape plates and pans after cooking, dispose of greasy residue in the trash, and avoid flushing diapers, wipes, tampons, and other hygiene products down the drain.

For actual help with plumbing and serious clogged drains, consult a plumber and find more information on and sites alike. Professional plumbers are required for help with tasks that require expertise and experience.