5 Drain Cleaners You Can Make at Home

Clean your drain for a fraction of the cost using pantry staples.

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There’s nothing quite like realizing the water level has crept up to your ankles halfway through your shower. Ew! Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us. Next time you’re a victim of the drain (sink or shower), use household ingredients you have on hand to solve the problem in a snap. I’m sharing five drain cleaners you can make at home, using everyday staples.

Hex Tile in Guest Bathroom

Hex Tile in Guest Bathroom

Hex tile in varying shades of brown is used for the shower floor in the guest bath.

From: Fixer Upper

Before trying any of these, be sure to first remove your drain screen or stopper and wipe out any visible blockages with a paper towel.

Baking Soda + Vinegar

Unclog Slow Drains

Unclog Slow Drains

Before you go the chemical route to clear a slow drain, try baking soda and vinegar! Shake a cup of baking soda into the drain, then heat up a cup of vinegar and pour it into the drain. After several minutes, flush with lots of hot water. Repeat as needed. *do not use on a clogged drain

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda, followed by 1/2 cup vinegar down drain. Plug drain, and let sit for one hour. Then, pour a pot of boiling water down drain. Repeat if necessary.

Baking Soda + Lemon Juice

Lemon Slices

Lemon Slices

Lemons are a natural disinfectant, stain remover and are wonderful for polishing metal. Also, lemons are inexpensive and eco-friendly.

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda, followed by 1/2 cup lemon juice down drain. Plug drain, and let sit for one hour. Finish with a pot of boiling water. 

*If you’re working with a clogged kitchen sink and prefer the smell of lemon to vinegar, consider this method instead of the first method. Do know that lemon juice costs a bit more than vinegar, though.

Baking Soda + Salt

CI_Brittni-Mehloff_ombre-shower-curtain-add-salt-to-dye-step5_h

CI_Brittni-Mehloff_ombre-shower-curtain-add-salt-to-dye-step5_h

Mix 1/2 cup table salt and 1/2 cup baking soda together, and pour down drain. Let sit for about 30 minutes (or overnight if it’s a tough clog), and follow with a pot of boiling water.

Baking Soda + Salt + Cream of Tartar

10 Kitchen Uses for Baking Soda

10 Kitchen Uses for Baking Soda

10 Useful Baking Soda Solutions

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup salt and 2 tablespoons cream of tartar in a jar that seals. Close jar, and shake to combine ingredients. Pour half the jar’s contents down drain, and save the other half for later. Follow the solution with a pot of boiling water. Let drain sit for one hour. Then, run tap water to rinse any remaining solution down.

Salt + Borax + Vinegar

Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

If you’ve cleaned your sink and it still smells like something died in there, your garbage disposal is the most likely culprit. While your disposal is off, dump a cup or two of ice into it. Then turn on the water and run the disposal. This should dislodge gunk that has stuck to the blades. After the ice has disintegrated, turn the disposal back off and turn off the water. Then dump half a cup of baking soda into the disposal and follow with a cup of vinegar. You should absolutely get the “science project effect,” but that pop and fizz will help clear out any remaining particulates in the disposal. Finally, after the science project has been washed down the drain by some nice hot water, grind a cut-up citrus fruit down the disposal (if you want to eat the fruit, even just the rind will do). The citrus acidity will chew away anything that dared remain, but the real upside is how nice a smell-turnaround your disposal will have made!

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/-Oxford-

©iStockphoto.com/-Oxford-

Pour 1/4 cup salt, followed 1/4 cup Borax down drain. Then, pour 1/2 cup vinegar down. Finish with a pot of boiling water. Let sit for one hour or until it clears; then, run hot tap water to rinse any remaining solution down.

The Dirtiest Places in Your Home + How to Clean Them

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It's hard to find time to clean when you have a busy schedule. Follow our tips on how to clean the dirtiest items in your home.

Kitchen: Sink Area

Raw meat, raw fish, what’s left of dinner — the sink has plenty of growing bacteria. Give it a scrub with baking soda, then follow up with a white vinegar soak. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to warm water, or place vinegar-saturated paper towels in the sink for 15 minutes to completely sanitize. 

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Bathroom: Toothbrush

Water alone won't sanitize months of growing bacteria. Put your toothbrush in the dishwasher, or use a UV cleaner for 10 minutes to get rid of bacteria. 

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Kitchen: Refrigerator Handle

Germs can live on refrigerator handles for at least two days. Apply a small amount of dishwashing soap to a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away bacteria. Avoid using bleach or other harsh cleaners to prevent chemicals from getting in your food.

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Living Room: Remote Control

Everyone touches the remote, often times while snacking. Use a cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol to clean germs without damaging delicate buttons. Tip: Use disinfectant wipes to clean the remote in a hotel room. 

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Kitchen: Faucet

The aerator on your faucet, the little screen at the bottom of the spout, is a hotbed of bacteria. Remove and soak it in white vinegar every couple months to get rid of germs and lime buildup.

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Every Room: Light Switches

Light switches are one of the dirtiest items in your home, which results in an abundance of germs. To clean, spray a cloth with all-purpose cleaner or a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. Gently wipe the faceplate and switch.

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Bathroom: Walls

Nobody wants to think about it, but when you flush with the toilet lid open, nearby surfaces get contaminated. Your favorite all-purpose spray or hydrogen peroxide is a simple solution to this nasty problem. 

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Every Room: The Walls

While you're at it, go ahead and give all of your walls a good scrubbing. Wipe off any loose dust with a soft cloth, then gently scrub off any dirt with an all-purpose cleaner that's safe for your walls. (Test in an inconspicuous area first if you’re unsure.) Don’t forget the molding!

Kitchen: Cutting Boards

A clean cutting board is important since you place food directly on it. Using soap can wear down a wooden board, but vinegar will gently disinfect it. Scrub with a baking soda paste and salt for a deep clean.

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Kitchen: Sponge

If the kitchen sponge smells, that's proof that it's harboring bacteria. Place a wet sponge into the microwave for a minute and a half to kill bugs, or run it through the dishwasher (and replace it regularly).

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Kitchen: Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal can also produce a foul odor if not cleaned regularly. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes; then pour a bucket of hot water down the drain to rinse. Grind half a lemon in the disposal for extra cleaning power and a fresh scent.

Photo By: ©iStockphoto.com/-Oxford-

Kitchen: Oven Knobs

You touch oven knobs frequently while handling food, but how often do you clean them? Pull the knobs off, and give them a good cleaning with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. For stubborn stains, let the vinegar sit for at least 10 minutes.

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Dog Bowls

To clean your pets' bowls, remove the food and water and run them through the dishwasher. Use vinegar to get rid of lime buildup, and wash with dish soap in between dishwashing cycles.

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Home Office: Computer Keyboard

You touch your face. You type an email. You reach for your lunch. You type a report. You get the idea. To clean your computer's keyboard, unplug it first. Next, gently wipe with a 1:1 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water, but make sure not to get your keyboard too wet.

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Bathroom: Shower Curtain

Getting rid of mold on your shower curtains is easier than you think. Spray plastic shower curtain liners with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water, and run fabric curtains through the washing machine once a month.

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