Do Common Home Drain Cleaning Solutions Really Work?

It is often much more appealing to try and deal with minor plumbing issues yourself instead of turning to a professional. Many of us don’t want to deal with the costs, hassle and perhaps even the embarrassment of turning to plumbers for small issues. Professional drain cleaning services are always the better option when there is a serious problem. You don’t want to put the home at risk or make a mistake. However, there are some cases with minor blockages and issues where you can use some small-scale home remedies.


The following four tips have been passed down as effective lifehack solutions for a long time. So, do they really work?

1) “Pour some boiling water down the drain”.

This is a common “solution” for many homeowners because it is so simple. All you need to do is boil the kettle, pour the water down the and let it do its magic within the drains. The basic idea here is that the heat from the water will melt particles and break down blockages, reducing the issue. This is true to a point, as there is a chance that this approach will prove useful when dealing with grease and oil. The problem is that heat does nothing to help many other blockage issues. Some people swear by using boiling water in shower drains because it will break down the hair. The reality here is that it is actually more likely to push the mass of matted hair further into the system.

2) “Pour some soft drinks down there instead”.

The logic behind this idea is that the soft drinks aren’t as damaging to the pipes as hot water. The acidity of the carbonised liquid can be enough to break down grime and grease in these pipes. It is easy to see where we got the idea from. It is proven that cola products can clean coins and jewellery – to a degree – and they are much safer to use than intensive drain cleaning products. However, there are some downsides here. First of all, this is a pretty ineffective approach on major blockages. The liquid can only do so much, so may just pass through. Second of all, it’s a shame to resort to this sort of food waste.

3) “Mix up some baking soda and vinegar and let that destroy the blockages”.

Again, it is easy to see where we got this idea from. Baking soda and vinegar are volatile when mixed together. Many of us enjoyed those science experiments as kids, and you know just how explosive it can get. The idea here is that the pressure of the reaction will dislodge the blockages and clear the drain. It is a good theory, but only as long as users remember to mix the ingredients in the drain, not prior to the cleaning process. It is all about the force of that reaction. Interestingly, cola and Memtos can have a similar reaction, so perhaps there is a way of improving that soda remedy above. An additional problem here is that the best results of vinegar and baking soda come with the addition of boiling water, which is something we are trying to avoid.

4) “What about a good old-fashioned plunger?”

Some parents might tell us to stop messing around with weird chemical reactions and to just get out the plunger. Plungers work through a vacuum system and the application of pressure. These simple laws of physics can be enough for some blockages. However, there are some issues with this approach. The first is that there are different types of plunger for different jobs, so the one you have may not be right for the drain in question. The second is that it actually takes a surprising amount of technique and elbow grease to make it work. By this point, you may as well have called in the professionals.

If in doubt, call a professional to come and sort the drains out.

The options above have some potential, but they may not be that effective in the long-run. If you struggle with the home remedy approach, it may be time to bring in some backup. Call on a professional plumber to unblock drain issues and help you prevent further build-ups. These experts can clear the drains, inspect the pipes, check the water pressure, perhaps even replace pipes that aren’t up to the job. This means that you can enjoy a cleaner system that it's less likely to see problems down the line. Then it is up to you as the homeowner to make sure that they stay as clean as possible. This means making sure to use filters at sinks and being a little more careful with food waste and grease.

If you are in need of help with a blocked drain, call East and Hills Plumbing on 0414 654 568 today. We can help you deal with the situation in a quick, cost-effective manner – with no reason to feel embarrassed at all. Let us help you where the cola and plungers fail.