JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Unblocking the sink

Here's a useful recipe: a way to unblock the sink without buying expensive products, using stuff you've probably already got in your kitchen.

The sinks in my kitchen usually block in the holidays, when there's lots of extra cooking going on here (generally when we've got 20 for lunch). It's no good blaming the young for putting fats down the drain, it's just as likely to be the coffee grounds I send down once or twice a day (I know, I know, they should go on the compost), or, more likely, the unbeatable combination of the two. Whatever, this is a perennial problem.

This old-fashioned solution is cheap, fun, and, amazingly, it works - although if your outlet is really blocked (and one of mine was), you may have to do it more than once.

To unblock a sink

Bicarbonate of soda (a huge box costs 99p in Tesco)
Vinegar (I used some past-its-use-by that was lurking in a cupboard)

Put three or four tablespoons of bicarb into the sink. Add equal quantities of cheap vinegar and watch them foam. After ten minutes, pour a kettle full of very hot water down the drain. Repeat if necessary.

Worked a treat yesterday.

Related links

Honeycomb - the same process, but edible


Great Big Veg said...

I feel a new strand developing on your blog - very very useful Joanne!

Joanna said...

Yes, I've got a horrible feeling it's going to be addictive, finding new ways of clearing up, using stuff my grandmothers used ... I had a foreboding when I typed in the tag "cleaning" ... and now, with the speed of your comment, I'm sure ;)


gillie said...

Am I allowed to confess that we have a regular blocked sink problem and find that caustic soda is a wonderful wonderful thing ?!!

Joanna said...

Yes, Gillie, you certainly are, because that's what I normally use. Only our newly-renovated Tesco doesn't seem to sell it any more, only fancy stuff in plastic bottles at very fancy prices, so I thought I'd give this a whirl.


Jules said...

I use the bicarb and vinegar trick too. The science geek in me loves the way it all foams up!

Eleanor said...

Good advice - I do this too (all my house cleaning products are of this ilk, recipes from the book Green Clean).

I also use bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair, so have been known to produce the wherewithal to do this trick as a guest in other people's houses, and even on a limescaled-up showerhead in a Norfolk hotel. You're never alone with a portable drain-unblocking kit :)

Joanna said...

Eleanor, how does the shampoo work? Do you mix it up first and then use it? Or do you let it foam up on your head? I'd really like to try this, but I can't quite envisualise it at the moment. And LOVE the idea of a portable drain unblocker ;)

Jules, yes, I agree, although I couldn't describe myself as a science geek ;)


Holler said...

It's such a good tip, I had heard it before, but I wasn't sure of the quantities! I shall write it down. Thanks!

Coffee & Vanilla said...

If I only knew it few days ago, I got two special products for £3.99 and £5.99 and they were not so great... sink start blocking again....
Thanks for the tip!

Eleanor said...

Joanna, the haircare method is commonly called "no 'poo" (as in shampoo), and Googling will reveal lots of people at various stages of development and ingenuity. The main beginner's resource is here.

Everyone's mileage varies, so it's a case of trial and error, but for what it's worth, about twice a week I rub about a tablespoon of dry bicarb into the roots of my hair, wet it, continue to rub and rinse. Then I rinse with a capful of apple cider vinegar diluted in a mug of water. Every evening in between 'washes' I rinse with very hot water.

Good luck!

Joanna said...

Eleanor thank you so much - I had a little Google yesterday, and discovered a lot of Australians doing this, but none of them gave such a clear explanation as yours here.

Not sure I'm ready for this ...


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Thank you Joanna!!

Simran said...

Thanks Joanna. Works like a dream