Jennifer is an environmentalist from Ohio. She is passionate about advocating for the planet and wildlife through gardening and education.
What is Bokashi Tea?
Bokashi tea, also sometimes called bokashi leachate or bokashi juice, is the liquid that builds up at the bottom of a bokashi bucket. It is simply a byproduct of the fermentation process that happens inside the bokashi bucket. This byproduct doesn’t have to go to waste. In fact, it has a number of uses, including fertilizer, weedkiller, and even drain cleaner! This article will focus on how to use bokashi tea as a green, eco-friendly alternative to traditional harsh chemical drain cleaners.
If you aren’t familiar with bokashi composting or are interested in starting your own bokashi bin, check out my article: How to Set Up and Use a Bokashi Bucket for Indoor Composting
How To Use Bokashi Tea as An Eco-Friendly Drain Cleaner
It is very simple to use bokashi tea to clean out your clogged drains or pipes. You simply need to pour it down the drain that is clogged. That’s it. There are a couple of different technique you can utilize in order to do this.
For the first method, you simply set the whole bokashi bucket up on the sink, with the spigot positioned over the drain. Simply open the spigot and let the bokashi tea drain from the bucket into the sink. Once the bokashi bucket has finished draining, be sure to completely close the spigot before moving the bucket away from the sink. At this point, you can run a little bit of water down the drain to remove the bokashi tea smell from the room and to help spread the bokashi tea through the pipes.
If the clog is especially bad, you can skip running water right now, and let the bokashi tea sit on the clog for a few hours so the microbes have more time to do their job. This whole process can be repeated as many times as necessary.
The other method is pretty much the same, except instead of draining the bokashi tea directly from the bucket, you drain it into a cup. This method is better if you are trying to clear a clogged drain in a room farther away from where you store your bokashi bucket, as the bucket can get quite heavy. The rest of the steps are the same; empty the bokashi tea down the drain, and optionally run a little water down the drain to clear the smell or let the bokashi tea sit in the pipes for a few hours before rinsing with water. Be sure to clean the cup out when you are finished using this method.
Is Bokashi Tea Safe for Pipes?
Bokashi tea is perfectly safe for pipes, and actually improves the health of your pipes and drains. According to BokashiLiving.com:
Bokashi tea is made of juices from your food scraps plus everything it picks up on the way as it drains through your kitchen composter; microorganisms from the bokashi process, water, organic matter as well as the by-products and waste from the bokashi bacteria. In other words… it is all natural and perfectly harmless to poor down your drain. In fact it can actually be good for your drains.
The microbes in bokashi tea work excellently over time to clean out sludge and organic debris from your pipes. And being acidic in its undiluted form, it deters plant roots from developing.
Bokashi tea not only cleans existing debris from your drains and pipes, it also helps to prevent additional debris from forming clogs in the future.
Bokashi Tea vs Drano
I have found that bokashi tea is even more effective that commercial drain cleaning products like Drano and CLR Clog-Free Drain. Before I started using bokashi tea in our bathroom sink, it would constantly get clogged (long hair problems…), no matter how often we used those commercial products. Now it rarely gets clogged, and when it does start getting slow to drain, I just pour in a little bokashi tea, and it’s good as new.
Aside from finding it more effective than the commercial chemical products, bokashi tea is also safer to use in your pipes. Over time, continual use of products like Drano can cause pipes to corrode, crack, and eventually fail. This doesn’t happen with bokashi tea.
Bokashi tea is also probably safer if it comes into contact with your skin than the commercial products, though I would definitely not recommend touching it with your bare hands (it is very acidic and full of bacteria, after all). You should still wash immediately if you get it on your skin.
How Bokashi Tea Helps Septic Systems
Bokashi tea is especially helpful if you have a septic system. The bokashi microbes thrive in septic tanks and help to significantly break down the waste. Bokashi tea can also help to eliminate the odors from septic tanks that occasionally backup into the pipes and enter your home.
To eliminate septic tank odors using bokashi tea, simply pour the bokashi tea down the drain where you are noticing the odors. Within 24 hours, the offending smell should be gone.
Bokashi Tea: A Useful Composting Byproduct
Though bokashi tea is a byproduct of bokashi composting that must be removed from the bin to keep the process working correctly, it has many amazing uses in its own right. It is an extremely useful natural drain cleaner, and it can help remove odors caused by septic systems. If you are serious about reducing, reusing, and recycling, starting a bokashi bin is an excellent project to start. Not only are you recycling your kitchen scraps into valuable soil amendment, you also get an amazing eco-friendly pipe and drain cleaner in the process.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Jennifer Wilber