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Why Pour Salt Down The Drain?

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

Blocked and clogged drains are a nightmare to deal with but unfortunately, they are a reality a lot of us will have to deal with at multiple points in our lives.

Whether it’s in a block in your kitchen drain or in your bathtub, there is nothing more annoying than just watching the water sit or drain slowly down the plughole. 

Luckily, clogged drains are pretty easy to deal with and there’s one method that many people may stand by that involves pouring salt down the drain – but does this method actually work or is it just an old wives’ tale? 

If you want to find out if pouring salt will actually help unclog your drains, then this is the place for you.

We are going to be looking into this method to see if it works and if so, why? This way, you can save yourself a lot on salt and find something else to unblock your drains. 

What Causes Drain Clogs And Blockages? 

There are a lot of reasons why your drain is suffering from clogs and blockages. 

One common reason is that grease can build up in the pipes of your sink’s drainage system and block the flow of waste water through the pipes (think of it like cholesterol in your veins).

It’s not just grease either – bits of food, hair and foreign objects can make their way into your pipes are disrupt the flow of water, causing the water in your sink, shower or bathtub to either drain slowly or stay standing instead. 

Even toilets can become clogged with too much toilet paper, body wipes, build up of minerals from hard water, waste matter and more! 

So, this means that a lot of households turn to chemical drain uncloggers to fix any issues they have with blocked or clogged pipes – but the issue is that these chemical solutions can be super harmful to your pipes!

Some chemical drain unblockers contain ingredients like sodium hydroxide, bleach, and lye that can all cause corrosion and emit heat that distorts and deforms PVC pipes

So, what can help unclog a drain of grease and food particles without damaging the metal or PVC pipes? 

According to some, the answer is salt water! 

Can Salt Actually Unblock Your Drains? 

Can Salt Actually Unblock Your Drains? 

Salt is used as a great cleaning agent because it’s abrasive and features a lot of antiseptic properties.

We even use it to sterilize equipment and wounds because of how great it is at killing bad bacteria and germs. 

Not only that, but salt can help break down massive clumps of grease and help it flush away the flow of water from your sink. 

So, yes – salt is effective at helping unblock drains but not on its own. It needs the help of some hot water to break up the grease and food and make it easier to wash away with the rest of the water. 

It’s also worth mentioning that salt water will still not be as effective as a chemical drain unclogger although it is a much safer alternative.

If you have a serious blockage on your hands and salt water is not doing the trick, then you may want to find a biodegradable drain unclogger or a bio-enzymatic drain cleaner. 

However, if you are stuck short handed and want a quick fix you can whip up at home, then salt water is definitely a method to try first.

This could save you some cash because you are very likely to already have some salt laying around your kitchen – so grab it and let’s go through the method step by step! 

How To Use Salt To Unclog Your Drains

There’s two important rules to follow when using salt to unclog your drains – don’t expect the salt to do everything on its own, and don’t use boiling water. 

Pouring two cups of salt down your dry clogged pipes will not work effectively enough to make a difference. Some people say that because salt is abrasive it should ‘wear’ away the clogs but this is not the case.

The salt may erode a bit of the clog away but literally just scrapes – but salt water will help break it down through soaking and eating away at chunks of the grease and food.

It’s kind of like leaving a lasagna dish soak before you clean it; the water and salt help lift the clog from the side of the pipes so it can be washed away.

So, to start, you will need to heat up your water and it’s always best to soak your pipes using hot water.

However, you cannot use boiling water – this is because too much heat can cause cracks, splits and leaks in your pipes and lead to more serious issues. 

So, just heat up the water and add two cups of Epsom salt. Pour the mixture down your clogged drain and just let it sit.

You can try a few tries, your pipes should be a lot cleaner. Try running your tap to see how quickly the water goes down the drain now. 

If you want your mixture to be more effective, you can try adding a cup of baking soda to the mixture as well – just remember not to use boiling water! 


So, salt is great for helping unclog drains and pipes but it’s worth mentioning that there are much more effective solutions out there, such as industry level drain unblockers or bio-enzymatic liquids. 

Although some chemical drain unblockers should be avoided because of how damaging they are to PVC and metallic pipes alike, there are some biodegradable brands that you can store at home and use without worrying about damaging your pipes.

Using these will result in a cleaner, less blocked pipe – but if you are stuck and need a quick fix to try and clean out your pipes, then using the above method involving salt water (and baking soda, if you have any) will definitely also help you out in a pinch!

author avatar
Anthony Barnes
Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age


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Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases. When it comes to dealing with clogged drains, many homeowners turn