From the MAKE Flickr pool

No – it’s not jello! Senseless_ shares his recipe for a homemade drain cleaner

Cooking up a pot of natural drain cleaner to eat away build up in one of our rentals while it/s empty.
7x 16 ounce beers, 5 pounds of sugar, 3 packs of baking yeast and a box of Rid Ex. I’ll let it culture a day or two then pour it down the furthest drain from the septic tank and four days of not running water the gunk will get mostly eaten away before I run a snake through it and no caustic chemicals to eat my pipes…

Seems like a nice alternative to commercial chemicals – anyone have luck using other ingredients?

  • Porse

    I’m having trouble locating a 16oz bear.


    I think they drank the drain cleaner before posting..

  • RocketGuy

    Even just 16oz bears, those gotta be particularly endangered since I’ve never seen them. :)

    Seriously, I tried the vinegar and baking soda trick, only to have it stop the sink entirely. I think what happened was that it loosened up a bunch of stuff that then hit the 40 years of corrosion and muck further down and created a dam. I love my old house, really…

    Not very makerish, but the garden hose attachment you get for a few bucks at home despot or similar works very well. It expands to seal, then uses the water pressure to blast the gunk away. YMMV with a septic system though, being urban I know nothing about their needs.

    In the end I took the pipes apart and scraped them out with a snake, then blasted them with the garden hose to make sure I got everything. For some reason the wife was incredibly proud of me, so gross time well spent.

    • RocketGuy

      I snaked it first due to not knowing about the hose device at the time.

    • Collin Cunningham

      thnx for the tip – I’d prolly just have gone straight for the vinegar+baking soda combo if you hadn’t mentioned the complications

  • Andra

    Is Rid-X really “bio-friendly”? How do they acquire and manufacture the ingredients? I have had some luck with the old baking soda-vinegar-boiling water combo. I know for certain that’s bio-friendly.

  • Wilson!

    After LOLing at the comments above, I followed the link to the flickr page and then beyond, and found he mentioned a 12 pack of _beer_ – not Bears. I’d rather buy dran-o for the pipes and drink the beer myself…

    • Becky Stern

      I dunno, it might just be the perfect use for that case of canned Tecate that somebody left at your party… no one said it had to be /good/ beer! =]

  • Chris

    I found this tip ages ago on a random plumbing tips website. Just boil up a big pot of water. Once it’s at a rolling boil, carry it carefully to the drain and pour. Be careful of the steam as it can still burn you. If it’s just a slow drain, try not to pour faster than the drain can handle at first.

    This combined with snaking works almost every time.

  • Anonymous

    boiling soapy water is a great way to clear a kitchen drain because it’s usually grease that causes the problem. Bathroom basins get the same treatment – toothpaste, make up, and hair gunk up the lines.
    a mechanical snake is the only thing that’ll unclog a bathtub/shower drain as they are usually stopped by hair and soap. caustics only make the job dangerous.

  • Concord drain cleaning

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  • Daniel Labrum

    Very intriguing recipe, I’ll try it. Thanks for sharing.