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Cleaning Drains With Baking Soda And Vinegar

5 Star Plumbing > Blog > Cleaning Drains With Baking Soda And Vinegar

Using baking soda and vinegar for a drain unclog is not only eco-friendly and cost-effective but also highly efficient in tackling minor clogs and maintaining sewage systems. This approach offers a safer alternative to harsh chemicals traditionally used in cleaning, making it beneficial for both the environment and your plumbing fixtures. Additionally, its simplicity and widespread availability in most households make it a convenient option for homeowners seeking effective cleaning solutions.

Will baking soda and vinegar unclog a drain?

Yes. This combination is often touted as a natural and eco-friendly solution for getting rid of that stubborn clogget in the flow. The combination of these two creates a chemical reaction that is powerful enough to break down debris, grease, and other buildup in sewage. While this method proved to be effective for minor clogs and regular maintenance, it may not always provide a complete solution for severe blockages. 

Overall, it is a safe and cost-effective alternative to harsh chemical drain cleaners and can be used as part of a regular inspection and support routine to keep the discharge system flowing smoothly.

Understanding the Science

How can baking soda and vinegar unclog a drain? We will show in words. The chemical reaction between the first (sodium bicarbonate) and the second (acetic acid) produces carbon dioxide gas, water, and a salt called sodium acetate. When these two substances are mixed, they undergo a double displacement reaction. 

It creates a foaming action and mild abrasive effect that can help dislodge and remove blockages from sews, making it an effective and environmentally friendly method for drainage cleaning.

Preparation and Safety Measures

Here are some tips on gathering necessary supplies and precautions to take before starting the process when soda and vinegar will unclog a drain.
  1. Gather Necessary Supplies:
    • Vinegar: Use apple cider v. (or white v.)for best results.
    • Baking soda: Ensure you have an ample supply on hand for the process.
    • Hot water: Have access to hot water for flushing the flow after the cleaning.
    • Cleaning tools: Keep a plunger and a drain snake or cleaning brush handy in case additional manual unclogging is needed.
    • Protective gear: Consider wearing gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and eyes from any splashes or spills.

  2. Precautions Before Starting
    • Ventilation: Ensure adequate ventilation in the area where you’ll be working with  soda and vinegar   drain unclog to prevent inhaling any fumes or gasses.
    • Avoid mixing with other chemicals: This can result in dangerous reactions.
    • Remove standing water: If there is standing water in the sink or drain, try to remove as much as possible before applying the cleaning solution to maximize effectiveness.
    • Test in a small area: Better ensure it does not cause any adverse reactions or damage.
    • Keep children and pets away: To prevent accidental ingestion or exposure to the cleaning solution, keep them away from the cleaning area.
By following these tips and precautions, you can ensure a safe and effective cleaning process when using baking soda and vinegar to unclog drains.
unclog drain, unclog shower drain

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Removing Visible Debris:
  2. Use a special snake or cleaning brush to remove any hair, soap scum, or food particles blocking the flow.
  3. Baking Soda Application:
  4. Properly pour the soda into the sewage pipe. Start by measuring out about half a cup of it and carefully put it down.
  5. Vinegar Application:
  6. Add vinegar to initiate the chemical reaction. Pour one cup of vinegar down the hole immediately after the white flour. It will create a foaming action with vinegar to unclog a drain.
  7. Waiting Period:
  8. Allow the solution to show itself and work its magic. Let the mixture sit in its place for at least 30 minutes, or preferably overnight for stubborn clogs. During this time, the solution will bubble and fizz as it breaks down the debris.
  9. Flushing:
  10. Rinsing the drainage construction with hot water to flush away loosened debris. After the waiting period, flush it to wash away the dissolved debris and unclog the bathtub – or any other place – completely.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Don’t be extra. While baking soda and vinegar can work wonders in a drain unclog when used in moderation, pouring too much of either substance can actually backfire. Excessive amounts may result in a fizzing reaction that creates pressure without effectively breaking down the clog.
  • Don’t rush. It’s essential to allow each substance to work independently before combining them. Pouring vinegar immediately after baking soda can neutralize the reaction prematurely, reducing its cleaning power. Instead, wait for the first to sit in the discharge for a few minutes before adding vinegar.
  • Don’t ignore Safety Precautions: Baking soda and vinegar are relatively safe for household use, but they can cause irritation or damage in certain situations. Avoid direct contact with the skin and eyes, while mixing powder and vinegar for a drain unclog help. Be cautious when handling these substances around children or pets.
  • Don’t overlook Regular Maintenance: While the discussed chemical combination can really clear minor clogs, they may not address underlying issues in the plumbing system. It’s essential to practice routine maintenance and address persistent clogs promptly to prevent more significant problems down the line.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following proper procedures, you can maximize the effectiveness of cleaning flows with baking soda and vinegar while minimizing the risk of complications.


In summary, we recommend using baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain. It’s an eco-friendly and cost-effective method that can effectively tackle minor clogs and help maintain the systems. This approach avoids harsh chemicals, making it safer for the environment and your plumbing fixtures. Plus, it’s easy to use and readily available in most households. And for all your other plumbing needs, consider partnering with experienced plumbers at 5 Star Plumbing. We guarantee seamless results in all the procedures we offer support and guidance with.

Peter, plumber

I bring over 9 years of dedicated plumbing experience to the table. As a seasoned professional in the plumbing industry, I've tackled a wide range of projects, from residential repairs to large-scale commercial installations.

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