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How to Unclog a Drain With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Cleaning your drains can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to break the bank or require harsh chemicals. One of the best DIY Drain cleaners that yields great results is using a baking soda and vinegar mixture. 

This all-natural method creates a foaming reaction that effectively breaks down buildup and removes odors, leaving your drains clean and fresh. The mix of baking powder and vinegar works by generating gas bubbles that help dislodge mineral deposits and other debris while neutralizing odors.

Not only is this method cost-effective, but it also effectively removes odors and breaks down buildups in your drains.

In this article, we will guide you through how to easily clean your drains with baking soda and vinegar, the science behind how it cleans drains, the benefits, when it might not work on a tough drain clog, and other alternative homemade remedies.

How to clean a drain with baking soda and vinegar: Instructions

To unclog your drain with baking soda and vinegar begin by finding the following household items.

  • Baking Soda (one cup)
  • White Vinegar (one cup)
  • Large Pot or Kettle
  • Liquid dish Soap
  • Boiling Water
  • Sink Stopper

To clear your clogged drains, we then perform the following list of actions.

  1. Remove any gunk from the drain.
  2. Pour Boiling Water and Dish soap down the Drain.
  3. Pour Baking Soda into the drain opening.
  4. Pour Vinegar down the drain.
  5. Flush with hot water

1. Remove Any Gunk

To clear your drain the first step is to remove any visible debris. Start by removing any drain covers or stoppers from your garbage disposal, kitchen, or bathroom sink. Then remove drain gunk such as hair or food with a paper towel or your hands.

2. Pour Boiling Water and Dish Soap

Heat a pot of boiling water in a tea kettle, add dish soap, and carefully pour it down the drain to help loosen up and flush away grease clogs.

3. Pour Cup of Baking Soda

Measure out a cup of baking soda and pour it into the drain.

4. Pour Cup of Vinegar

Measure out a cup of vinegar and pour it down the drain. Plug the drain with a stopper and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes before removing the stopper. By this time the audible fizzing of the chemical reaction should have subsided.

5. Flush With More Hot Water

Flush out the drain by pouring more hot water down the drain. If the drain is now flowing properly, run hot water for several minutes to help flush away any remaining debris. 

If the drain is still clogged, repeat the process with hot water and the baking soda/vinegar solution as necessary.

What Does Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution do to Your Clogged Plumbing?

When you pour baking soda and vinegar down your drain a chemical reaction occurs. The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is alkaline, which helps to neutralize acidic substances like grease and soap scum.

When combined with white vinegar (acetic acid), which is acidic, the two substances create a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide. The bubbling gas helps to dissolve and dislodge buildup in the pipes. 

The two ingredients are also a natural deodorizer, as they help to eliminate unpleasant odors by neutralizing bacteria that can cause them.

What Are the Benefits of Cleaning Drain With Baking Soda and Vinegar?

Using baking soda and vinegar as a drain cleaner has several benefits listed below.

  1. Non-toxic. Both baking powder and vinegar are natural, non-toxic substances, making them environmentally friendly, and safe to handle with no harmful fumes or chemicals.
  2. Cost-effective. White vinegar and baking powder are readily available and relatively inexpensive compared to a commercial drain cleaner.
  3. Gentle on pipes. Chemical drain cleaners contain sodium hydroxide (lye) which may corrode pipes over time, our DIY drain cleaner is gentler and less likely to cause damage to your plumbing system.
  4. Effective at removing blockages. When combined, bicarbonate soda and vingar create a foaming reaction that helps to break down and dissolve clogs, including hair, grease, and food particles.
  5. Deodorizing properties. Both are natural deoderizers, and can be used as part of your routine cleaning to neutralize foul odors in garbage disposals and drains, leaving a fresh scent behind.

For best results, it is recommended to use this method as a regular maintenance routine to clean drains and keep them clear. 

Does Unclogging a Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar Work?

Yes, clearing a drain with baking soda and vinegar can be an effective method for removing minor clogs and blockages. 

When combined, baking soda and vinegar create a chemical foaming reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas. This foaming action helps to loosen dirt and debris, with the mild acidity of the vinegar able to dissolve particles, such as hair, soap scum, and grease, which may be causing the clog.

However, it is essential to note that the effectiveness of this method may vary depending on the severity of the clog and the type of blockage present. Baking soda and vinegar may not be sufficient for more significant or tough clogs, such as those caused by solid objects, fatty organic matter or mineral deposits.

Why Vinegar and Baking Soda Is Not Always Best for Grease Clogged Drains?

While baking soda and vinegar works to free up food, hair etc, it doesn’t tackle fatty, oily, or greasy clogs particularly well. 

If you have a sink or garbage disposal that is draining slowly or a completely clogged drain on your hands, then you may need to use a mechanical method such as a plunger or auger, to help break up the tough clog.

If a clog persists or worsens after attempting to clear it with baking soda and vinegar, it may be necessary to seek professional plumbing assistance or use a more potent drain cleaning product.

Are there Other Home Remedies to Clear a Clogged Drain?

Several other home remedies can be used to clear a clogged drain, as given in the list below.

  1. Baking Soda and Salt
  2. Lemon Juice and baking soda
  3. Coke
  4. Boiling Water

1. Baking soda & Salt

Combine baking soda and salt, then pour the mixture down the drain, followed by hot water.

2. Lemon Juice & Baking Soda

Mix baking soda with lemon juice to create a foaming solution, then pour it down the drain. The combination can help break down the clog.

3. Coke

To clear a clogged drain with coke, pour a full can of Coca-Cola (or any other carbonated drink) down the drain and cover with a plug.

Allow it to sit for at least an hour or overnight. The carbonation and acidity will work on breaking down the clog during this time.

After the waiting period, flush the drain with hot water to help wash away the dissolved gunk.

4. Boiling water

Pouring boiling water down the drain can help to melt and dissolve grease or fatty clogs.

About the author

An accomplished plumber with more than 15 years of experience in the industry, David "Fitz" Fitzgerald began as an apprentice and steadily worked his way up to become a fully licensed and certified master plumber.

With extensive training in all aspects of plumbing. David is well-versed in the installation, repair, and maintenance of plumbing systems, including pipes, fixtures, and appliances, and is able to troubleshoot and solve even the most complex plumbing issues.

He loves to share his wealth of knowledge and looks forward to engaging with the community here on No Hassle Plumbing.

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