There’s nothing like realizing that the water level has risen to your ankles halfway through your shower. Yikes! Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us. The next time you fall victim to a drain (sink or shower), use the household ingredients you have on hand to solve the problem in a flash. I’m sharing five drain cleaners you can make at home, using everyday staples.

Before you try any of these, be sure to first remove your filter or drain plug and wipe out any visible blockage with a paper towel.

Baking soda + lemon juice


Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda, followed by 1/2 cup of lemon juice down the drain. Plug the drain and let it sit for an hour. Finish with a pot of boiling water.

If you are working with a clogged kitchen sink and prefer the smell of lemon to vinegar, consider this method instead of the first. Be aware, however, that lemon juice costs a little more than vinegar.

Baking soda + vinegar


Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda, followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain. Plug the drain and let it sit for an hour. Then pour a pot of boiling water down the drain. Repeat if necessary.

Baking soda + salt
Mix 1/2 cup table salt and 1/2 cup baking soda together and pour down the drain. Let sit for about 30 minutes (or overnight if it’s a hard hoof) and follow up with a pot of boiling water.

Baking soda + salt + cream of tartar


Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of salt and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar into an airtight jar. Close the jar and shake to combine the ingredients. Pour half the contents of the jar down the drain and save the other half for later. Follow the solution with a pot of boiling water. Allow to drain for one hour. Then run the water from the tap to rinse off any remaining solution.

Salt + Borax + Vinegar


Pour 1/4 cup of salt, then 1/4 cup of borax down the drain. Then pour in 1/2 cup of vinegar. Finish with a pot of boiling water. Let it sit for an hour or until it clears; Then run hot tap water to flush out any remaining solution.