Best Non-Toxic Drain Cleaner. EVER.

Cross-posted from my Filling Spaces blog

I have been through hell and back with the plumbing in my house over the years, so few things make me crankier than more plumbing problems. Even a clogged sink is now sufficient cause to cast a death pall over the house, because it’s never that easy. I do my best to prevent UFOs (unidentified foreign objects) from falling down the drains, keep one of those drain protectors over the drain in the tub to catch hair, and don’t even use the garbage disposal much because at this point I just don’t trust it to get the job done.

Be that as it may, while I was washing dishes last night, I got ambitious and started cleaning out the refrigerator. I found some items that were, let’s say, past their expiration date. (cue <em>Dragnet</em> theme) Leftovers. The ugly, fuzzy kind. Well, for some reason I forgot my usual caution and fed the foul beast to the jaws of death in the sink. Seems like it wasn’t the night for it. Luckily, at this point most of the dishes were already done because – you guessed it – CLOG. Nothing was moving. I could spin the jaws of death to my heart’s content, it was beyond that. Whatever it was had decided to take up residence in the pipes somewhere in the wall, it seems. I went for the first line of defense: Plunger. No dice. Just pushed the standing water back and forth from one sink to the other. Chemicals? All I could find was a partial bottle of some very caustic liquid lye, which came in its own protective resealable plastic bag, ya know, just in case. Fine. I was in no mood for screwing around with this. Down the sink the requisite amount went, and I dutifully waited. Half an hour later I poured hot water down the sink, as directed.


My mood was becoming fouler by the minute. The choices were (in no particular order):

  1. Call a plumber. Yeah, that’s fun at 8:00 on a Saturday night.
  2. Go to the store for more chemicals. Ugh.
  3. Take the pipes apart and try to run the snake down and dislodge the UFO. Oh yeah, do I know how to have a good time or what?

I took the only course of action I could at that point, I put it off until morning. You can imagine how excited I was to get out of bed today.

Then, inspiration struck in the form of remembering a formula I had used many years ago. At this point I figured what the heck, it couldn’t hurt and putting more chemicals down the drain didn’t seem particularly appealing, nor did the other two aforementioned options. I went hunting in the cupboard for the container that I was sure still housed some of the leftover mix from the last time I had to use it and luckily I found it because it contained the recipe. So I tried it.

SUCCESS!! (cue fanfare, angels singing, light shining from above)

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Once again we call on our old friend, baking soda. Put the kettle on because you’re going to need several cups of boiling water. Here’s the recipe:

1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Baking Soda
1/4 Cup cream of tartar

Mix together in some kind of container. Using 1/4 of the mixture at a time, pour it down the drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water. Wait at least one minute before repeating.

I ended up using 3/4 of a cup, 1/4 cup at a time, just to be on the safe side, but all seems well now. Leave it to our old friend, Arm &amp; Hammer, to save the day. I love you, man! :::sniff::: Now I can carry on with what I had planned for the day, instead of tearing apart the plumbing!


About D. D. Syrdal

Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon,,, Smashwords. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.
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