Unclogging a Drain with Vinegar and Baking Soda

A jar of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar.
A natural solution for clearing a drain is using vinegar, baking soda, and boiling water. While effective on moderate drain clogs, you must make sure all of the baking soda is flushed from your drain or it can create an even worse clog when it dries and becomes hard. Read on for more tips and advice about using vinegar and baking soda as a drain cleaner.

4 Questions

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July 18, 2006

I saw a tip using baking soda to unclog a bathtub drain. I didn't bookmark and now can't find it. Can anyone recall the tip?


By (Guest Post)
July 18, 20060 found this helpful
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I use a small box of baking soda, I spoon it (if you try and pour it it will usually clump up) down the sink and then follow it with a medium or large sized bottle of white vinegar. it really foams up. Let it sit as long as you can without running any water in your sink so it can get the gunk out of your pipes.

Another hint: Run another box of baking soda and a bottle of white vinegar through one of your wash cycles in HOT water, you'll be surprised at how dirty your washer really is!

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By nettie (Guest Post)
July 20, 20061 found this helpful
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For clogged drains or just to freshen drains I put about half a cup of baking soda down the drain then pour in about a cup of vinegar. It will foam and bubble for a minute, then I pour boiling water from the kettle down the drain until it stops foaming. Works great.

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By NoChemicals (Guest Post)
November 2, 20070 found this helpful
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Forget using baking soda and smelly vinegar. Go to Walgreens and buy a 'Zip-It' drain cleaner. Slip it down into the drain and pull all the slime and hair out in less than 30 seconds.


No smell, no fizzing up, no follow up procedures. Just a clean drain.

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February 3, 2009

I am looking for the idea posted in the Reader's Digest on how to declog the bathtub drain. It mentioned baking soda and some other stuff and said it really worked.

Barb from Greenwood, SC


February 5, 20090 found this helpful
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I clean my coffee maker with vinegar, then use the hot vinegar and pour it into my bathtub drain where I have put 1/2 cup of baking soda. I clean two for the effort of one!

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Diamond Feedback Medal for All Time! 1,394 Feedbacks
February 6, 20090 found this helpful
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I tried and failed to find the link, but there was a Reader's Digest article (October 2008) where a family went on a spending fast. The first big hurdle was sludge coming up in their tub.


You might not agree with this guy's solution, but as I recall, it involved Dawn dish liquid and a gallon or so of boiling water. I don't recall baking powder or baking soda.

Editor's Note: Here it is:

From that article..."On a website called, thousands of users posted tip after penny-saving tip on conserving cash. There wasn't a crisis on earth, it seemed, that couldn't be averted with some combination of baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and a certain dishwashing liquid. I squirted a shot of Dawn in a kettle of boiling water, poured it into the shower, and the goop slrrrrged down the drain. Materials used: 10 cents. The look on Ruth's face after I actually fixed something: priceless."

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 337 Feedbacks
February 7, 20090 found this helpful
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Baking soda and vinegar react together to produce Carbon dioxide and salt water. They do create a vigorous bubbling effect, but this on its own doesn't do any cleaning, and I wouldn't call it explosive. It is also used by kids to create fake volcanoes for science class, and is absolutely benign. Baking soda on its own, with boiling water, could be a good drain cleaner as most clogs are grease, and baking soda, which is a base, reacts with grease to create soap.


The hot water will speed this reaction up, dissolve the soda of course, and flush away the soap.

A bathroom drain may very likely be clogged with hair. Try removing the cover and seeing if that is the case. You can just pluck the wad of gucky hair out. If this is your clog, you will not do anything with baking soda or vinegar, alone or together. Drano, or some other brand, will get rid of it, but it is more effective to manually pluck it out.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 104 Posts
September 4, 2007

Cleaning drains with vinegar, baking soda and hot water. What's the recipe?


By RhondaP (Guest Post)
September 5, 20071 found this helpful
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Empty about 1/2 box of baking soda into your drain.
Follow that with about 1/2-1 cup of vinegar.
It will boil for a few inutes.
Follow that with about 2 cups of boiling water out of a kettle.

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By ruthvalleygal (Guest Post)
September 5, 20071 found this helpful
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I gave my suggestions for cleaning drains a few days ago, but maybe you missed them. I use about 1/4 cup baking soda, a cup of vinegar, and follow with a couple of cups of boiling water.Let set for a few minutes, then flush drains with cold water.


There are no exact measurements, but this is approximately what I offered.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

July 7, 2009

Baking soda is touted as an amazingly frugal cleaning product and it is. But be careful when you rinse it down the drain or the toilet. Baking soda, especially when mixed with hot water, solidifies. I once had a plumber come in after my husband and I could not unstop a kitchen sink which backed up and would not clear.

(We lived in New York at the time.) The plumber broke one snake and had to get another and it took 2 hours to cut through the rock that the baking soda had become in the pipe. I had been using just a little baking soda once a week or so to clean the sink and counters for only three months when this happened!

Allison from Arizona


Beware Baking Soda in Drains

Dear Allison
I've used Baking soda for years in my drain along with white vinegar,but I make sure it is all melted before rinsing.I let the faucet run for about 2 minutes after using the baking soda.a friend of mine did the same thing you did and she just poured the baking soda down the drain and ran a little water down but some had not melted.she had a plumber in to take the pipes apart.what a mess.I use a lot of vinegar until the soda stops bubbling. (07/02/2004)

By Louise

Beware Baking Soda in Drains

You can put baking soda down your drain and let it sit for about 30 minutes and then pour boiling vinegar down the drains. This works very well. I have been doing this for years. (07/15/2008)

By Becky

Beware Baking Soda in Drains

I've used baking soda several times to unclog drains. I pour it down the drain, then pour hot vinegar down. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then flush with hot water for 5 minutes. I've not had any problems. I do not put baking soda down the drains on a regular basis though. (09/23/2008)

By Sarah in Arizona

Beware Baking Soda in Drains

NEVER have I ever heard this before. I have used baking soda, vinegar and boiling water to break up grease/oil build up and just normal gunk out of my sinks and never has this happened to me. I lived in Arizona as well and this never happened. Was there ever any renovations done in the house or painting done where someone might have cleaned paint pans, grout buckets etc.? That could be what the mass was. Baking soda will actually "melt" with water and especially hot water, even if it is in clumps. (11/10/2008)

By Crockett

Beware Baking Soda in Drains

Wow, I have never heard about this problem. I have been using baking soda and vinegar to clean my drains out every week since I was a kid. My Mom used to use it in the laundromat she and Dad owned for years. I use 1 cup of baking soda (half a small box) and 2 cups of white vinegar (half a quart bottle) each week or so in the kitchen, bathroom sink, bathtub and the laundry tub, then run the water on all...
I guess I'll run the water a bit longer now... (12/30/2008)

By Kathy

Beware Baking Soda in Drains

I have used baking soda WITH vinegar for years. No problem.Thank goodness. (01/21/2009)

By roadgypsygranny

Beware Baking Soda in Drains

I have seen the hints about putting baking soda down the drain. The info I read, was to pour about 1 cp of baking soda in the drain and; pour vinegar on top of it. It was amazing. It foamed like mad and cleaned the drain really well.

This was a drain, in a separate sink, that I keep my dish pan in. It got really disgusting under there and I wanted to clean it, without using a bunch of chemicals. When you pour the vinegar on top, it creates a chemical reaction and there is no baking soda left, when it's done, to become hard. (01/21/2009)

By Chris T.

Beware Baking Soda in Drains

Hot water, baking soda and vinegar is the magic potion. If you omit the vinegar you will not get the vigorous foaming action that uses up all the baking soda.

I use baking soda and vinegar on pet stained carpeting. That can leave a powdery residue which is easily swept up. (01/22/2009)

By Tracy

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