When scrolling through the web, it’s not uncommon to find “ultra-spammy” clickbait littered here and there with little or no value to offer readers (ex. “Doctors Don’t Want You to Know About This Weight-Loss Secret,” “27 Celebrities Who Went Broke,” etc.). Recently, our plumbing experts came across some clickbait that caught our attention in particular:
“Pour Salt Down Your Drain Tonight, Here's Why"
This provocative “tip” didn’t only attract our attention. It actually spurred a spike in Google searches about the benefits of salt for plumbing drains. But is there any real benefit to pour salt down your drain, and should you try this at home?
Is Salt Good for Your Drains?
Short answer: not particularly. Salt by itself won’t clear or loosen clogs, and it doesn’t absorb any odors.
The clickbait article contained no explanation for how salt is meant to benefit your drains. However, many people claim that salt will scrape away debris lining your pipe walls when you pour it down your drain and follow that by pouring boiling water down after it.
Does this home remedy actually work? There’s no strong evidence that it’s particularly effective at removing stubborn clogs. In actuality, hot water is the most effective part of that home remedy and is probably doing most of the “work.” You can pour steaming-hot water down your drains to break up grease that might be obstructing the pipes close to the drain’s surface.
Home Remedies for Clogs vs. Cabling and Hydro Jetting
Salt is used in another clog-clearing home remedy. It relies on the reaction between salt, hot water, vinegar, and baking soda to break up a blockage. While this may work for minor clogs near the surface of a drain, it won’t do much to clear clogged drains deep in your home’s plumbing caused by years of matted hair, grease, sediment, limescale, and even tree roots.
For those tough clogs that are hard to reach, it’s best to enlist the help of an experienced plumber to clear your pipes. Depending on where the clog is and how bad it is, the plumber will suggest eliminating it either through cabling or hydro jetting.
- Cabling involves feeding a long, metal cable with a sharp corkscrew at its end through your pipes to either dislodge, capture, or cut up whatever is causing the clog.
- Hydro jetting involves blasting your pipes’ interior with high-powered water jets to blast away whatever is obstructing them and narrowing their diameter.