How to Clean Clogged Drains With Baking Soda and Vinegar

As much as modern-day plumbing is a life-saver, it does come with some nuisances.

One of the most common ones is the risk of clogged drains and the terrible smells that come with them. That’s why it’s always a good idea to learn how you can unclog your drains by yourself.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can do this using substances that are readily available at home.

Two of these substances are baking soda and vinegar. When combined they can leave your drain squeaky clean.

Can you use baking soda and vinegar to clean clogged drains?

Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is a base that occurs naturally.

More importantly, it is a powerful compound that can dissolve different forms of dirt, even grease. As such, it is commonly used at home to clean appliances, clothes and as a stain remover. It can even combat odors, bacteria, and fungi.

Regularly cleaning your drains with it can even prevent clogs from forming in the first place.

On the other hand, vinegar is a solution made of water and acetic acid.

Its acidic properties make it a great cleaning agent, especially for utensils and kitchen appliances. As such, it’s become somewhat of a kitchen staple.

But while vinegar is effective on its own, its cleaning action is multiplied when you mix it with baking soda. This is what makes the two great for unclogging clogged drains.

When used for this, the base and acid usually react to produce water and carbon dioxide, forming bubbles that move through the clog and break it apart.

When boiling water is added to this, the pressure in the drain rises and works together with gravity to push the unwanted materials out of the drain.

Ultimately, this leaves your drains clear and smelling fresh.

How to clean your clogged drains with baking soda and vinegar

To clean your drain with baking soda and vinegar, follow the steps below:

  1. Boil water in a kettle on your stovetop. Alternatively, you can boil the water by microwaving it in a measuring cup.
  2. Pour a little bit of liquid dish soap into the clogged drains and pour in the boiling water.
  3. Add a cup of baking soda to the drain; use a measuring cup. If doing this is difficult because the drain is small, you can use a funnel.
  4. Add a cup of white distilled vinegar to the drain.
  5. Cover the drain with its plug.
  6. Boil some more water.
  7. Pour the boiling water down your drain to flush all the debris.
  8. If the drain is working properly, turn on your hot water tap so that any particles left can flow out of it.
  9. If the drain is not working properly, repeat steps 1 to 8.

Benefits of cleaning your drain with baking soda and vinegar

Regularly cleaning your clogged drains with vinegar and baking soda gets rid of accumulated debris early before serious clogs are formed.

This also prevents odors and flow issues.

What to do when using baking soda and vinegar doesn’t unclog your drain

If you use baking soda and vinegar on your clogged drains at least twice but it’s still clogged, you can use one of the following alternatives:

1. A mixture of vinegar, salt, and  borax

Just mix ½ cup of vinegar with ¼ of salt, and ¼ cup of borax, and then pour the mixture into your drain.

Follow this with a pot of hot water and then wait for at least an hour before turning on your hot water tap.

2. Baking soda and salt

To use these ingredients effectively, first, pour a cup of baking soda into the clogged drains and follow it up with ½ a cup of salt.

Let the two ingredients stay in the drain for a few hours or even overnight before pouring in hot water.

If the water flows well, turn on your hot water tap to further rinse the drain.


When you do this, you will hear a fizzing sound. This is the sound of baking soda and vinegar reacting to produce carbon dioxide.

Yes, these compounds are not toxic. They are also not corrosive when used in appropriate quantities.

The ideal ratio is 1:1

As tempting as it may seem, you shouldn’t mix baking soda and vinegar together before pouring them into the drain; it isn’t an effective cleaning technique. Just pour them in one after the other.

Leave baking soda and vinegar in your drain for around 5 to 10 minutes. However, you can push this to 30 minutes if you want.

No, you shouldn’t do this. You can only turn on the water once you’ve flushed out the vinegar and baking soda using hot water.

You can do this when dealing with tough clogs that are resistant to normal timelines.

No, it’s just a more natural solution.

This can corrode the plastic and rubber parts of your drain, breaking them down and leading to further blockage.

You should do this every few months. Once a month is the most frequent you can do this.

Baking soda and vinegar for the win!

As long as you use them properly, baking soda and vinegar provide an effective, safe, and environmentally friendly way to clean and unclog your drains.

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