Did you see those internet ads about pouring salt down your drain to handle clogs? These ads never explained why they were recommending salt, so, as the professionals, we thought we would weigh in. Can pouring salt down your drain clear a plumbing clog? In short, no. Let’s talk about it.
Why Doesn’t Salt Work for Clogs?
The reason people have recommended salt for clogs is a little unclear to us. While they say that the salt is coarse and will help clear debris from the side of pipes, there’s nothing to create the friction needed to do this. Even if you could rube the salt into the sides of the pipes, that would actually contribute to the clog, potentially turning a partial clog into a full clog. Otherwise, there’s nothing else for the salt to do.
It’s even more confusing when you find recommendations to pour boiling water down the drain after you pour in salt. The water will just dissolve the salt, so why did you need it at all? And now you’ll have a drain full of hot saltwater for your plumber to deal with as they try to remove your clog. It’s hard to understand the logic behind these recommendations.
When is Salt Recommended for Plumbing?
Salt, and other household ingredients, are not recommended to deal with plumbing clogs. Some plumbers will recommend that you put small amounts of salt down the drain to help deal with drain flies. The salt draws water and makes conditions unsuitable for the flies. You can leave a bit of salt in the drain overnight, and that, combined with fly tape, traps and other methods, can remove drain flies.
Similarly, you might want to pour household ingredients down your plumbing when there are smells coming from your plumbing. Mixtures of hot water and baking soda can help clear out bacteria that is making the smell. But these kinds of mixtures will not do anything for more serious problems like plumbing clogs.
Instead, when you pour baking soda, vinegar, or drain chemicals down your pipes, they also get stopped by the clog. The pipes are then sitting in the chemical until the clog is removed and wearing away at the pipes in the meantime. You can end up causing leaks and other plumbing problems if you do this.
How Can You Handle Clogs?
If you aren’t supposed to pour salt down the drain, what are you supposed to do for clogs? Unfortunately, there is very little a homeowner can do for a clog once it has developed. Most of the methods suggested online, including pouring chemicals down the drain or using your own equipment, can actually damage your pipes.
Instead of trying to clear out the clog yourself, you should call a professional Martinez plumber to handle it. They have the equipment and experience to quickly remove the clog and get your plumbing back to normal without risking damage to your pipes or making the clog worse.