How to Unclog Drain Naturally with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Clogged drains can be a real headache, bringing your daily routine to a standstill. There’s overflowing water from your sink to the cabinets and floors, and the horrible stench coming from trapped food waste and soap scum sullying your otherwise pristine kitchen. These horrors alone explain why clogged drains are hard to ignore, and we often want the fastest solution to be done with it. But before you reach for harsh chemical drain cleaners, consider an eco-friendly home cleaning solution: baking soda and vinegar.  This expert cleaning tutorial teaches how to unclog your drain naturally and proactively prevent it from recurring. Let’s delve right in!

What Causes Blocked Drains?

Whether this happens in your home frequently or you feel like one messy encounter is enough, understanding the most common culprits that lead to clogged drains is one of the best ways to keep them from happening again. According to experts, household clogging is frequently a result of what you let go down on your sink’s drain, including:

  • Food waste
  • Oil, fat, and grease 
  • Excessive soap scum
  • Hair
  • Foreign objects 
  • Mineral deposits 

How Do I Know If My Drain Is Clogged?

A clogged drain is hard to miss because it has plenty of tell-tale signs. Spotting them means you can address them early on, minimizing the risks of costly repairs like water damage and other plumbing issues. Here are some examples.

  • Standing water or slow-draining water
  • Discolored water comes up from the sink
  • A foul odor in your kitchen or bathroom
  • Fruit flies and other insects hovering around your kitchen sink even if it’s clean

How Does Baking Soda and Vinegar Work?

Even plumbing experts advise against using stringent chemical agents, such as sulfuric acid or bleach, to unclog drains, especially if you live in a pretty old house, as it can cause corrosion in the walls of aging pipes, making them brittle and causing more damage eventually. In addition, acids can kill the good bacteria essential in breaking down organic matter in your drain.

Here’s where the house-cleaning magic of vinegar and baking soda comes in. When baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) comes into contact with vinegar (acetic acid), it creates carbon dioxide gas. This fizzing action helps lift, dislodge, and dissolve dirt, grime, and debris, allowing it to flow freely through the pipes.In addition, these natural household cleaning staples are also proven to be:

  • A safer alternative to chemical-based products, it won’t cause adverse reactions to the pipes or to your health.
  • An eco-friendly home cleaning solution that won’t pollute waterways.
  • It is a cost-effective strategy as they are multipurpose and readily available in your pantry.

How to Unclog Drain Using Natural Ingredients 

Now, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get the job done. First, prepare everything you need to ensure a smooth process. These include:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Boiling water
  • Dish soap
  • Bucket (optional, to remove standing water)
  • Plunger (optional, for stubborn clogs)

Then, follow this step-by-step procedure:

  1. Remove standing water. If your sink is overflowing, use a bucket to remove as much water as possible. This allows the baking soda and vinegar to reach the clog directly.
  2. Pour boiling water into the drain. You’ll need a whole kettle’s worth to melt hardened grease. Add a drop or two of grease-fighting liquid dish soap.
  3. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain. Feel free to use a funnel if your drain has a narrow opening to avoid wasting product. 
  4. Add the vinegar. Slowly pour one cup of white vinegar directly into the drain. It’ll start fizzing, which means the two ingredients are already neutralizing each other and dislodging organic compounds clogging your drain. Cover the drain with a damp cloth or drain plug to trap the fizzing reaction and maximize its effectiveness.Allow the mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Flush with hot water. Once the fizzing subsides, carefully pour a pot of boiling water down the drain. Or run hot water from the tap to see if the clog has been cleared. If the water drains slowly, repeat the process or use a plunger for stubborn clogs.

An important caveat: This method only works for minor clogs caused by organic matter, like food scraps. We highly recommend consulting a professional plumber for deeper clogs, grease traps, or clogs caused by foreign objects.

Home Cleaning Tips to Prevent Drains From Clogging

  • Use strainer baskets to filter food scraps and other solid particles from going down the drain.
  • Never let cooking oil go down your drain. Instead, collect the leftover grease from cookware and dispose of it in your trash bin.
  • Flush the drain with boiling water and dish soap after cooking and washing dishes from a particularly greasy meal.
  • Make it a habit to deep clean your sink, drain, and garbage disposal using the baking soda and vinegar method mentioned above. 

As they say, “Prevention is always better than cure.” The same thing is true for your home. Regular cleaning and following the practical tips we shared in this article can save you from many potential household disasters. Keep following our blog for more expert cleaning tips!

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