Victory! must be shouted as you smash the toughest blockages into mush and flush them down your pipes.
However, not every blockage calls for such fuss. Sometimes clearing odorous drain clogs and clearing drains only requires routine drain cleaning and a slight shove.
Introducing vinegar and baking soda. While they can sometimes clear clogs, Liquid-Plumr is your best option when home remedies fall short. Read on!
Step 3’s bubbling reaction between the baking soda and vinegar aids in unclogging the drain, and step 4’s boiling water aids in flushing the obstruction from your pipes.
A natural drain cleaner can be made using baking soda and vinegar. Are you ready to learn how it works scientifically?
The Science: How Baking Soda & Vinegar Help Unclog Drains
Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is a base. Water and acetic acid, an acid (you guessed it), are the two main ingredients of vinegar.
Combining these causes a reaction in which molecules are exchanged, resulting in the production of carbon dioxide and water that bubble through the obstruction, dislodging it to produce loose material.
And unlike a regular water system, drainage pipes are not pressured. Pressure is increased when hot water is used to flush the drain. This pressure helps unclog drains and remove undesirable crap from pipes in addition to gravity.
Baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water can all be used to naturally clean drains, but you might need something more powerful, such as Liquid-Plumr, to completely clear out those very stubborn clogs.
Benefits of Using Baking Soda & Vinegar as a Drain Cleaner
The advantages of routine drain cleaning can help keep your drains clear of clogs, and over time, baking soda and vinegar may operate as a natural drain cleaner on weaker drain jams.
However, you might want to use a more potent drain cleaner, such as Liquid-Plumr, for stubborn drain clogs that need to be cleared right away.
Cleaning Tough Drain Clogs
Products from Liquid-Plumr can unclog stubborn drain clogs more effectively than home cures while still being safe to use in your pipes.
In order to help unclog difficult drains, Liquid-Plumr Clog Destroyer+ PipeguardTM has two potent liquids that, when mixed, produce a deep-cleaning foam that dissolves hair and odor throughout the whole pipe.
To efficiently dissolve the drain obstruction, the main active ingredients sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite emit heat. That is pretty strong science, indeed!
How long does it take vinegar and baking soda to unclog a sink?
To keep this kitchen device in good working order, cleaning the garbage disposal should be done on a regular basis, much as taking out the trash. To keep the waste disposal in good working order, take the following actions:
- For one minute, run hot water.
- Turn on the garbage disposal for a few seconds after pouring 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain. Give baking soda 10 minutes to sit.
- Vinegar, 1 cup, is added. Give the vinegar and baking soda mixture some time to bubble.
- Run the garbage disposal for a short while more after giving it a hot water rinse.
- 2 cups of ice and 1/2 cup of salt should be poured down the drain. Until the ice has disappeared, start the garbage disposal and run some cold water. Food scraps will be released by the ice and salt.
- Slice some citrus peel (lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit). Fruit slices should be inserted one at a time into the garbage disposal while cold water is running. The fruit slices will leave a nice scent in your garbage disposal!
Whether particular foods clean or clog a garbage disposal is not always clear. Please heed our warning and steer clear of disposing of the following foods. Instead, use them as garden compost.
The idea that egg shells may sharpen garbage disposal blades is a widespread urban legend. It’s untrue. The grinders may get duller if the membrane on the interior of an egg shell sticks to them.
Coffee grounds are frequently put in the garbage disposal to get rid of odors. Coffee grounds can build up and plug drains, which is more harmful than they are to the garbage disposal.
What do artichokes, celery, onion skins, and corn husks all have in common? Their fibrous and stringy structure is ideal for blocking the motor of a garbage disposal by becoming tangled up in it.
When put through the garbage disposal, potatoes make a thick paste, whereas pasta and rice coat the blades with a sticky substance.
Grease and oil are dangerous for garbage disposals, pipes, and waste water treatment in the long run since they solidify at a specific temperature. When it comes to complete pipe and sewer blockage, fats are the worst offenders.
Cleaning a dishwasher may seem unnecessary, but regular cleaning can keep the equipment in good working order and increase its lifespan. As follows:
- To reach the drain, remove the dishwasher’s bottom rack. Eliminate any food leftovers.
- In an empty dishwasher, put a cup of vinegar on the highest rack and start the hot water cycle.
- Run another hot water cycle after adding one cup of baking soda to the bottom of the dishwasher.
Once a month, we advise cleaning the dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda.
A partially clogged drain may just need a temporary remedy using baking soda and vinegar, but a completely blocked drain would need the assistance of a professional plumber. To make it easier for water to flow through the pipes, this solution will dissolve and push the sludge through them.
- To warm up the pipes, let the hot water flow for a minute.
- 1/2 cup of baking soda should be poured down the drain.
- One cup of vinegar should be added, the drain should be covered with a bung, and fizzing should be heard after ten minutes.
- Use extra hot water to rinse.
Until desired results are attained, repeat steps 1-3. It can require more than one attempt.
Preventing drain issues is the best course of action. Regular drain cleaning with baking soda and vinegar can completely stop the buildup of debris and obstructions, but for a better alternative, use the ARS/Rescue Rooter Network DrainRight Drain Maintainer.
Grease, soap scum, food residue, and other waste build-up are liquefied and dispersed by the unique mixture used to create DrainRight Drain Maintainer. Additionally, it deodorizes and cleans grease traps, vent lines, and drain lines. Since DrainRight Drain Maintainer is entirely biodegradable, neither your pipes nor the environment will be harmed. It’s safe to use on any kind of pipe or drain and isn’t acidic, caustic, corrosive, or any of those things.
Find your nearby ARS/Rescue Rooter location to make an online appointment for drain cleaning if you have seriously clogged drains that you are unable to clear on your own.
Can you unclog a sink with vinegar and baking soda?
It turns out that my chemistry instructor from high school was correct—the fizzy mixture of baking soda and vinegar is useless for unclogging grease-clogged drains.
Why? Since vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base, their chemical interaction results in water that contains a small quantity of salt rather than a drain cleaner that will obliterate fat. Additionally, since vinegar and baking soda are not surfactants, they do not assist water in the same manner that detergents do in removing oil and grease.
The degreasing ability of the detergent helps the hot water melt the FOG blockage more effectively.
What about the pressure created?
Many readers worry if the pressure produced by the vinegar/baking soda reaction will drive a drain blockage out and inquire about the pressure developed during the reaction. Both yes and no, is the answer.
- Yes, the chemical interaction between baking soda and vinegar results in carbon dioxide gas (CO2), which increases pressure in a closed container.
- No, the reaction between the baking soda and vinegar in a drain or household plumbing system does not occur in a closed system, thus pressure cannot build up to the point where it may blast a clog out of the pipes.
You may have seen an experiment using vinegar and baking soda done in a sealed container like a bottle or balloon. They are a powerful example of how chemical reactions may be powerful. It’s crucial to remember that these tests are conducted in an enclosed container where the CO2 gas has no way to escape.
A home drain system is not a container that is tightly sealed. Since your pipes carry far more liquid or gas than a balloon or bottle does from the kitchen sink to the sewer, it would require a lot more CO2 to fill the pipes to the point where pressure begins to build. Additionally, the plumbing vent system, holes in your drain or drain cover, and/or voids in the blockage might all allow the CO2 produced by the vinegar/baking soda interaction to escape. There is air leakage!
The Hot Water Solution
I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s debatable whether baking soda and vinegar are effective for cleaning drains. People become really enraged over it. I receive letters and comments that should not be published on a PG website.
Really, I’m sorry if this has upset you. I used to be an avid fan of baking soda and vinegar. I soon discovered, though, that the trick was not doing me much good and that I was wasting baking soda and vinegar that I could have used to clean other items. I started looking into green cleaning components and terrible cleaner combos.
Why is Baking Soda and Vinegar Recommend as a Drain Cleaner?
It could be the bubbling from the enjoyable chemical reaction, the desire of businesses to increase sales, or even the heat of the water.
- You’ll see that the directions for cleaning drains with baking soda and vinegar suggest following the baking soda/vinegar with almost boiling water. As seen in the aforementioned experiment, melting FOG blockages is a breeze with really hot water.
- Bonus: The pressure from the hot water’s weight on the clog may aid to loosen or dislodge it (thanks to gravity).
Try the Experiment for Yourself
Still not convinced? When your drain becomes slow or clogged in the future, consider running some hot water first. You could discover that it effectively removes FOG clogs, allowing you to avoid purchasing baking soda and vinegar altogether.
The Enzyme Solution
Have a hair-clogged drain or a challenging FOG clog that hot water can’t clear? Consider using an enzyme drain cleaner like Biokleen Drain Gel or Earth Enzymes Drain Opener.
- The enzymes and bacteria in these environmentally friendly drain cleaners break down the organic material in the obstruction to unclog your drain. (Green Gobbler Drain Clog Remover is another widely used remedy; it clears drain sludge using monosodium sulfate, a non-toxic acid.)
Do vinegar and baking soda harm pipes?
What if your plumbing system uses PVC pipes? Will using baking soda and white distilled vinegar to clean such pipes damage them?
No, is the response. In actuality, the safest and most efficient ways to clean pipes are vinegar and baking soda.
PVC pipes won’t be harmed by them, and they might even help maintain them clean and free of obstructions.
So feel free to use baking soda and vinegar to clear your drains if your home has PVC pipes.
Recipe For Using Baking Soda And Vinegar
Pour the vinegar and baking soda down the drain of an empty sink. Wait for at least an hour after plugging the drain. Pour a big pot of boiling water down the drain after unplugging the drain.
Can you unclog a bathroom sink with vinegar and baking soda?
While we are concentrating on bathroom sinks, many of these drain unclogging methods also work on other types of drains.
There are several tried-and-true techniques that don’t include harmful or abrasive chemicals:
Baking Soda and Vinegar
This is a tried-and-true method for unclogging drains that works wonders in bathroom sinks. Just combine 1/3 cup of vinegar and 1/3 cup of baking soda in a measuring cup.
This mixture will bubble right away, so you should quickly dump it down the drain. The hair and dirt are effectively removed thanks to the fizzing action. After letting it stand for about an hour, rinse it with hot water.
This is surprisingly effective at clearing up some bathroom clogs, particularly those caused by soap scum. When the drain is slow and there isn’t a lot of tepid water in the sink, boiling water works best. Bring some water to a boil in a kettle or large pot. In three or four stages, pour the water into the drain. The outcomes should be quite immediate if this strategy is going to be successful.
Wet and Dry Vacuum
A wet and dry shop vacuum is the best tool for dealing with clogs that are very difficult to remove. To properly use the hose to suction out the obstruction, you might need to make a seal (such as the top of a plastic soda bottle or a plunger head). Let the shop-vac handle the rest by putting your vacuum to the maximum liquids setting. Usually, the intense suction is sufficient to remove whatever is obstructing the piping.
Due of its complexity, this procedure is saved for last. This project can be avoided if you can unclog your drain using one of the aforementioned techniques. If not, the most difficult blockages should be removed with a wire hanger.
Materials: a wire hanger, rubber gloves, pliers (to help bend the wire), and a container to capture extra water.
Freshen drains with baking soda and vinegar
For do-it-yourself cleaning, baking soda and vinegar are like PB&J or matcha and oat milk: They go along flawlessly. The pair can keep your sinks free of harsh, offensive chemicals and is incredibly simple to use.
Pour a mixture of 1/3 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup vinegar down the drain that is giving you issue. Parmenter advises sealing the drain and allowing the mixture to bubble up inside the drain. “Pour a lot of hot, but not boiling, water down the drain after about a half-hour.”
Repeat the procedure to clear any tough obstructions. Your drain will stay clean and clear if you use this procedure regularly once a month.
Cream of tartar drain fix
Another mixture is suggested by Bob Vila, the father of home repair, to clear up tough hair and soap scum clogs in the bathroom.
Add two cups of baking soda, two tablespoons (or about 1/8 cup) of cream of tartar, and one and a half cups of salt together. Give the solution in a jar a vigorous shake to combine it. Add your homemade mixture to two cups of hot water before pouring it down the drain. Give everything at least an hour to rest. While the cream of tartar cleans metals, the salt and baking soda will work to clear the obstruction.
Pour two cups of boiling water down the drain after one cup each of baking soda and vinegar if it’s still clogged. Allow it to empty the drain while you sleep.
Dishwashing detergent and hot water
If you frequently use coconut oil for aesthetic purposes, you might have noticed that your drain has been slow. You can have a grease blockage in your drain. The “oops factor” of unintentionally pouring or leaking grease into your kitchen sink after cooking is another possibility.
We have your back. Pour boiling water into a pan, add two tablespoons of dishwashing detergent, and then slowly pour the hot water down the drain. Because you are bringing the fats back to a liquid condition and the detergent aids in moving the grease down the pipes and out of the drain, this method is particularly helpful at clearing fatty grease clogs. If you frequently use beauty oils or cook with a lot of grease that could clog your drain, Greener Ideal suggests doing this once a week.
Borax, salt, and vinegar
Parmenter suggests using this other DIY drain cleaning. Begin by mixing 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup each of salt and borax. After pouring the solution down the drain, fill a pot with boiling water. Prior to rinsing with hot tap water, let it sit for at least one hour.