How to Clean a Clogged Drain with Baking Soda

These days, more people prefer to go natural in their choice of household cleaning products. This means toxic cleaning supplies are out of the picture. So what can you use in place of chemical drain cleaners? Baking soda and vinegar.

Yes, both products have the combined capabilities to break down scum, soap residue, sludge and other acids that may have caused the clog. As the mixture expands, as you might have seen during an experiment in science class, it also pushes the clog down the drain. But even if they are natural, they still have to be used with caution.

Safety First

• Never use vinegar-baking soda combo with other toxic cleaners, such as bleach and chemical drain cleaners, as this will create vapor that are harmful to your health.
• Make sure industrial chemical previously used are no longer present in the drain before using baking soda.
• Use them according to instructions to avoid any problems with your health and safety.
• Always keep ingredients out of children’s reach.

Disadvantage of Chemical Cleaners

Toxic household cleaners are undoubtedly a popular choice, but they can be harmful to you and the environment. They contain ingredients that are quite hazardous

Lye or caustic soda, also known as sodium hydroxide that is contained in chemical drain openers is highly corrosive. It can burn skin and eyes with direct contact. It is also known as a respiratory irritant and harmful to the lungs. Prolonged exposure can result in chronic skin irritation and ulceration of the nasal passages. The same ingredients can be found in disinfectants and cleaners for the oven, bathroom and toilet bowl.

For your safety and that of your family, take the natural alternative.

How to Clean a Clogged Drain with Baking Soda

• Baking soda
• White Vinegar
• Hot water

1. Pour boiling hot water down the drain to help rid of grease, grimy sludge and other stuff that may have slightly loosened and just need a little push down.

2. Dump in the baking soda. Make sure there is no standing water before you do this, so you might need to wait for the hot water to completely pass through. Depending on how bad the situation is, the amount of baking soda can vary from half a cup to half a box. Make sure to dump it dry, so avoid combining it with water or vinegar.

3. Make sure to put as much baking soda as possible down the drain. If you can’t remove the drain cover, use a funnel or other ways to get the baking soda down.

4. Let the baking soda sit for a few minutes.

5. Pour a half cup of vinegar down the drain until foam forms. Plug the drain with a drain plug or an old rag cloth to keep the foam from bubbling up and out, instead of down. This will ensure expansion of the mixture does happen, and the clog is pushed down the drain.

6. Let the vinegar-baking soda combo sit in the drain for half an hour.

7. Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain again to flush down the mixture. Make sure not to burn yourself with the steam or the kettle itself. Carefully pour the boiling water to avoid making a huge splash and burning yourself.
8. Test if the drain will flow smoothly. If it is still slow, repeat the entire process. Again, depending on the gravity of the situation, you may need to rinse and repeat several times.

Use this recipe on a regular basis – weekly or monthly. It is also highly recommended for use after you remove large debris stuck in the bathroom and kitchen drain.

Why Baking Soda and Vinegar Work

Treating the drain to a hot water bath followed by the baking soda will loosen up grimy sludge that is stuck at the bottom of the drain. When the vinegar is added and the mixture expands and explodes, the loose sludge would be jolted out of place and completely down and out of the drain. Rinsing the drain with hot water clears whatever is left of the treatment.

When Baking Soda and Vinegar Does Not Work

While the combination of baking soda and vinegar works wonders with grimy sludge, gunk and scum, there are things it can’t push down or get rid of.

Hair and hard objects stuck in the drain have to be removed by other methods, such as an auger or snake wire. You might even have to take them out manually to clear the drain before any other types of treatment are done. Since using acids that are corrosive enough to melt a toothpaste cap, for example, is not an option, you would need to apply some elbow grease to deal with other types of clogged drain problems.

In some cases, you can follow up the vinegar-baking soda treatment with the use of a plunger. This can help move other clogs down and out of the drain.

Prevention Is Best

Once you successfully unclog the drain using baking soda and vinegar, keep the drain clog-free by being mindful of what you pour down it.

Grease will accumulate over time and will cause the drain to get stuck. Give the drain a hot water treatment once in a while if pouring oily and greasy stuff down is unavoidable.

If the drain cover has large holes that allow large objects and lots of hair to pass through, replace it with one that has smaller holes.

Ask everyone in the household to cooperate in keeping the drain clog-free. Tell them where and how to dispose items that shouldn’t be poured down the drain. Make sure they remove hair after using the bathroom or tub.


A clogged drain is a common problem that can become a huge one if left untreated. It can cause your bathroom, kitchen or even your entire home to stink as well. Can you imagine eating in the kitchen with the stench wafting all over the place?

Like most things in your house, proper care and regular maintenance are also important with a drain. But when it is clogged, reach for the baking soda and vinegar right away.

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