Does Pouring Salt Down Your Sink Drain At Night Really Prevent Clogs?

While it might not be a homeowner's worst nightmare, an unexpected drain clog is certainly one of the bigger inconveniences of maintaining a home. However, when cleaning up after a large meal, it is easy to take the lazier route of rinsing leftover food down the drain rather than scraping it into the garbage or compost where it belongs.

There have been various rumored home methods for avoiding a clogged drain — including the belief that some of the foods that could be involved in a clog might also be key in helping prevent one. Though places like Home Depot tout the traditional plunger method as the best option for clearing kitchen sink clogs after the fact, many people look for ways to avoid running into any pesky drain issues in the first place. And, surprisingly, table salt has long been one of the suspected solutions for preventing such a problem — pour a bit down the drain at night, and you're good to go. But does the salt method actually work?

Salt won't prevent a clog

Those looking to try the salt prevention method might want to reconsider. It appears that salt can effectively unclog drains, though it's not the whole equation — and it doesn't seem to prevent the clog from starting. It turns out that salt needs to be paired with various other elements in order for it to work in clearing away any food remnants that are piling up in your pipes. According to Snopes, salt is only one of four ingredients that, when used in some combination, can help dislodge a clog.

Snopes researched various plumbing companies' recommendations, and it appears that a recipe containing salt and baking soda might be worth trying. They suggest mixing one part baking soda, one part salt, and four parts boiling water; then pour the mixture down the drain, and let it sit overnight. The following morning, complete the process by flushing out the drain with hot water (there's no need to boil it). Another plumbing company, Roto Rooter, suggested adding one part vinegar to the mix and using the same process.

It's important to note that no evidence suggested salt on its own could prevent a clogged drain. However, hot water might help in avoiding unwanted clogs. Drano reports that pouring hot water down a kitchen sink drain once per week can help "melt away" any grease or fat that might have made itself at home in your pipes.