Baking Soda and Vinegar Drain Cleaning Made Easy

Updated June 9, 2021
Plumber using a pipe plunger to fix kitchen sink

Green cleaners want to know can vinegar and baking soda be a drain cleaner? Yes, it can. Learn how to use baking soda and vinegar to unclog your drain, and find out why baking soda and vinegar work to remove drain gunk.

Baking Soda/Vinegar Drain Cleaner: Materials

While the title pretty much says it all when it comes to materials for cleaning drains, it's always good to have a materials list.

  • White vinegar or cleaning vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Pot or kettle
  • Cup (for removing standing water)

Baking Soda and Vinegar Drain Cleaner

Use the vinegar and baking soda combination to help clear a sluggish drain. And there really isn't much to this method.

  1. Remove any standing water in the way of getting to the drain.
  2. Boil a pot of water, about 2-3 cups.
  3. Add two drops of Dawn to the water.
  4. Pour this down the drain.
  5. Wait a minute or two for the hot water and Dawn to dissolve any grease.
  6. Pour a half-cup of baking soda down the drain.
  7. Then add half a cup of white vinegar.

  8. Place a drain cover over the drain and wait for fifteen to twenty minutes.
  9. While waiting, put a kettle with six to eight cups of water on to boil.
  10. Pour the boiling water down the drain to flush the vinegar and baking soda through.

A 1:1 ratio of baking soda to vinegar works best to clean drains. However, you can play around with this ratio depending on the clog.

Baking Soda And Vinegar On Table

Defeat Stubborn Clogs

It may take two or three repeat treatments to get the clog cleared on stubborn clogs. If water is standing, it may also reduce the effectiveness of the vinegar and baking soda combination. Remember, never use vinegar and baking soda after using an industrial chemical or when it is still present in the drain. This could cause a chemical reaction.

How Baking Soda & Vinegar Work as a Drain Cleaner

So, how does this work? Well, the initial boiling water works to melt grease out of your way. Then it comes down to science! If you remember science class, vinegar and baking soda expand and can actually fill a balloon with air if you put them together in a bottle. The pressure of the expanding products helps shove the clog down as it eats away at the edges.

Benefits of Using Vinegar and Baking Soda on a Clogged Drain

Commercial drain cleaners can be harmful. In some pipes, they can eat away at the material, and they cause chemical burns on your skin. Additionally, if they don't clear out the clog, you don't have many options since they are corrosive. However, baking soda and white vinegar are both natural chemicals that you can freely touch and eat. White vinegar is gentle enough to eat at the organic material of the clog but not destroy your pipes. So, vinegar and baking soda are a much more natural option to try.

How Often to Clean Your Drains

Once you get your drain running again, it's important to clean it weekly to prevent build-up and odors. And the process is fairly pain-free.

  1. Boil a few cups of water.
  2. Add a few drops of Dawn and pour it down the drain.
  3. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda down the drain for odors.

Cleaning Your Drains With Baking Soda and Vinegar

While the kitchen is a common clog area, this method works on your bathroom sink and tub drains too. Vinegar and baking soda are tremendously versatile products in anyone's house-cleaning arsenal. Not only can they clean drains, but they can clean your entire bathroom with the right combination.

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Baking Soda and Vinegar Drain Cleaning Made Easy