Why You Should Never Use Baking Soda And Vinegar To Clean Clogged Drains
Published: by Bren
Want to naturally unclog a sink or clean a slow-moving drain? Learn why you should skip the baking soda and vinegar when cleaning FOG clogged drains and see the experiment!
This post uses affiliate links.They dont cost you a thing and help us bring you all natural cleaning tutorials. Read more in Policies and Disclosures.
Hundreds of natural cleaning blog posts, books, and magazine columns recommend cleaning slow kitchen drains by pouring one cup of baking soda down the drain followed with one cup vinegar. I used this combination for many years then I began to doubt its effectiveness.
I decided to conduct an experiment to compare the drain cleaning abilities of vinegar & baking soda to another popular green cleaning solution -> dish detergent & hot water.
Why A Vinegar And Baking Soda Solution Is Bad For Your Drain
Solyman Najimi | 2022-04-25 23:40:16 -0400
The internet is filled with various do-it-yourself hacks that advertise themselves as great alternatives to common home problems. However, a big chunk of these hacks isn’t really as effective as they may seem. One popular hack that people commonly believe to be effective is the use of baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain. But is this hack really that great for your drains?
How To Clean Drain Pipes With Baking Soda
Now that there are so many quick solutions available at your local grocery, you dont think twice about whats available at home when it comes to cleaning drain pipes. However, some of the most effective cleaning solutions can just be found in your own kitchen, and baking soda is one of them.
Its understandable that when you think drain cleaner, your mind wont directly go to baking soda. But you should know that the kitchen staple has proven effective when used on smelly and clogged drains. This is not saying that you shouldnt go for those chemical solutions on the shelves of stores. Rather, its more on trying a simple and home-made solution to see if it clears things up. If not, then you can proceed with using ready-made solutions.
Another good reason to use natural solutions is that some rental properties dont allow their tenants to use chemical drain cleaners. This way, you can still keep your drain fresh and flowing without resorting to banned solutions.
Read Also: Neighbors Gutter Drains On My Property
Why Is Baking Soda And Vinegar Recommend As A Drain Cleaner
Maybe the fun chemical reaction tricks our minds with all the bubbling, maybe companies like to sell more of their products, or maybe it is the hot water.
- When you look at baking soda + vinegar drain cleaning instructions youll notice that they recommend following the baking soda/vinegar with nearly boiling water. As shown in the experiment above, extremely hot water does a great job melting FOG clogs.
- Bonus: the weight of the hot water creates pressure on the clog which can help loosen or move it .
How Do Baking Soda And Vinegar Clean The Drain
Baking soda and vinegar are the simplest and most handy hacks for cleaning a drain. But the question might intrigue you how do baking soda and vinegar together work so effectively in cleaning the drain?
Well, the baking soda and vinegar when mixed together form a very strong solution that isnt much different from the commercial foaming cleaners.
Let me tell you how. When the baking soda and the vinegar gets mixed together inside the drain, it reacts with each other and forms water and carbon dioxide.
After that, the addition of boiling water cleans away the loosened clogs from the drain. Moreover, the acidic properties of vinegar also play a vital role in breaking up some kinds of stubborn clogs.
Read Also: Kenmore Washer Won’t Drain
Is A Vinegar And Baking Soda Solution Harmful To Your Drain
The reason why you shouldn’t be using the vinegar and baking soda solution to clean out your drain is that the baking soda and vinegar mixture can cause a chemical reaction that is harmful to certain materials in your drain. When you are using baking soda and vinegar, you are actually causing the material in your drain to corrode. This will cause the drain to break down even more.
When you are using a baking soda and vinegar solution to clean out your drain, you are actually causing the rubber and plastic that are used for the drain’s pipes to be eaten away by the mixture. Over time, this rubber and plastic will break down, causing the drain to become even more blocked.
When you choose to use a baking soda and vinegar solution to clean out your drain, this will also cause a reaction to take place with the metal that is used to create the actual drain. While the reaction might not take place immediately, over time, you will notice that the drain starts to look more and more corroded. This means that the metal of the drain will have a hole in it, and the drain will eventually become completely blocked.
How Do You Unblock A Shower Drain With Baking Soda And Vinegar
Bathroom sink and shower/tub drains are often clogged by hair and soap scum which form a clingy hair ball. The fizzing reaction between baking soda and vinegar will break down the ball of hair and all you have to do to unblock the drain is dump a gallon of boiling water to flush it down the drainpipe.
Recommended Reading: Pentair Sand Filter Drain Plug
Baking Soda And Vinegar Drain Cleaner
Use the vinegar and baking soda combination to help clear a sluggish drain. And there really isn’t much to this method.
Then add half a cup of white vinegar.
A 1:1 ratio of baking soda to vinegar works best to clean drains. However, you can play around with this ratio depending on the clog.
Lemon Juice + Baking Soda
Lemon juice is a weaker acid that works just as well. However, lemons have less acidity than vinegar, meaning you will have to add more lemon juice than an average drain cleaner recipe.
You can add 1/2 cup of baking soda with the lemon juice to prepare a decent chemical reaction homemade drain cleaner for drain cleaning.
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Sinus Drain
The Hot Water Solution
Let me tell you a little secret: questioning the drain cleaning power of baking soda and vinegar is controversial. It gets people mad, very mad. I get emails and comments that are not appropriate to post on a PG website.
Im sorry if youre upset, I really am. I was a baking soda/vinegar devotee for a long time. However, once I started researching green cleaning ingredients and bad cleaner combinations I realized that the trick was not doing me much good and I was wasting baking soda and vinegar that I could use to clean other things.
S To Unclog Your Drain With Baking Soda & Vinegar
Follow these easy steps to unclog your drain:
Start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain.
Next, pour a cup of baking soda and 1 cup water/1 cup vinegar solution.
Cover with the drain plug and wait 5 to 10 minutes.
Pour boiling water down the drain again.
The bubbling reaction from the baking soda and vinegar helps to loosen the drain clog, and the boiling water in step 4 helps remove it from your pipes.
Baking soda and vinegar can serve as a natural drain cleaner. Ready for the science behind how it works?
Also Check: Shower Drain Smells Like Urine
The Science Behind The Process
Baking soda, which is sodium bicarbonate, is a base. Vinegar comprises of water and acetic acid, making it an acidic compound.
During the reaction, there is a release of water and carbon dioxide. When water bubbles through the clog, it makes it lose, and further pressure from the carbon dioxide pushes the clog downwards.
Moreover, pressure and steam from the hot water help remove clogs and unwanted stains and materials from the drainage pipe.
Can You Really Clean The Drain With Baking Soda And Vinegar
Youre usually careful about keeping your sink clean, but you just watched your Great Aunt Betty pour a whole skillet full of bacon drippings straight down your drain after a family dinner.
Now all you can think about is having a house full of company and a clogged kitchen sink, hands plunged into gross dishwater with the residue of a dozen plates and cooking pans burping backward onto your basin.
Dont worry because, yes, you really can clean your drain with baking soda and vinegar.
You May Like: Why Do My Drains Gurgle
The Baking Soda And Vinegar Experiment
I conducted a simple experiment to compare two popular green cleaners when fighting a fat, oil, and grease drain clog . FOG is the most common cause of slow drains and backup in home kitchens, learn more about FOG clogs.
- Step 1 I used a tablespoon of butter to mimic a greasy FOG drain clog.
- Step 2 I poured one-half cup of baking soda and one-half cup of vinegar into one bowl, and a cup of hot water mixed with 1 tablespoon of dish washing detergent into the second bowl.
- Step 3 I watched what happened to the greasy clog for 5 minutes. Heres what the bowls looked like at 30 seconds.
Sometimes A Professional Drain Cleaner Is Your Best Bet
Dave Balkan: It seems like you can have a lot of foaming, and all of this action, but theres really nothing happening. That didnt clear the drain out. You know sometimes you need a professional drain cleaner. So, when youre dealing with slow and clogged drains, you just gotta call a pro sometimes.
Christina: And not believe myths about cleaning drains with baking soda and vinegar.
Dave Balkan: Thats right!
Christina: So I believe, I think we should just save the baking soda and the vinegar for volcano science projects for the kids!
Read Also: Affordable Plumbing And Drain Cleaning
Easy Steps = How To Clean Grout With Vinegar And Baking Soda
Want a quick way to clean your tile floors without separate cleaning products? Learn how to clean grout with vinegar and baking soda!
Most of us have a few things in our kitchen at all times. Basics like flour, sugar, baking soda, and vinegar come to mind. What you might not realize is that some of those items are powerful cleaners too! They can turn a challenging cleaning task like tile floor grout into one of the easiest things youve done later!
How To Clean Deodorize And Maintain A Garbage Disposal
Just as one takes out the trash on a regular basis, cleaning the garbage disposal should be another routine chore to keep this kitchen appliance running smoothly. Follow these steps to keep the garbage disposal running in tip-top condition:
How to prevent garbage disposal clogs
There is some discrepancy whether certain foods clean or clog a garbage disposal. Take our advice and avoid putting the following foods down your disposal. Use them as garden compost instead.:
A common drain myth is that egg shells sharpen the blades in a garbage disposal. Not true. The membrane on the inside of an egg shell can stick to the grinders and make them duller.
Grease or Cooking Oils
How to clean a dishwasher
How to unclog a drain
Also Check: How To Bury Gutter Drains
Does The Baking Soda And Vinegar Combo Dissolve Grease
The short answer is no, not really. For one thing, combining baking soda with vinegar in equal amounts tends to cancel out the unique properties of each product. More importantly, the chemical reaction that results from mixing them together produces water with a tiny amount of salt in it, rather than a powerful drain cleaning agent.
Finally, neither baking soda nor vinegar are surfactants. These are chemical agents that reduce the bond between a surface and the substance thats attached to it. This means theyre not effective at dispersing grease in the same way that detergents and other cleaning agents are. The fact is that boiling water used alone may be more effective than baking soda and vinegar.
When To Use Baking Soda And Vinegar
If youre looking for a cheap way to clean smelly sinks or clear out minor clogs, then baking soda and vinegar may be the solution for you. However, its important to note that if youre dealing with a major drain blockage, its best to call your plumber, as this mixture is probably not strong enough to clear more serious clogs.
When it comes to kitchen sinks, baking soda and vinegar can help clean your pipes by clearing out build-ups caused by oil, grease and fat. The other perk is that in the course of the process, the mild disinfectant properties of the baking soda can help sweep away bacteria, fungi and other things that can cause nasty odors.
As far as bathroom drains go, vinegar and baking soda can work well for helping clear out debris caused by soap scum, toothpaste and hair. While some clogs are tougher than others, it never hurts to give this home remedy a shot before resorting to harsh chemicals or disassembling your pipes.
Even if you arent dealing with an uncooperative drain, using this method as a regular maintenance cleaning routine can help prevent pipes from clogging up in the first place.
Also Check: Bathtub Won T Drain Not Clogged
How To Unclog Drain With Baking Soda And Vinegar
Chemical Drain Cleaners are not nature-friendly and can be dangerous to use as well as being poisonous to your skin. They can leave your sink or shower drain clogged with harmful chemicals in the drain water. To substitute these harmful drain cleaners you can use baking soda and vinegar`s natural drain cleaner recipe to unclog your clogged drains.
Do you have a clogged drain? Did you know you could fix it by spending less than ten dollars using natural homemade drain cleaners?
Most drain cleaner labels can make you dizzy with all the terminology. Lucky for you, we have theres a whole DIY that made it easy to unclog a drain by yourself using Homemade Drain Cleaner Recipes.
These recipes are both time and money-saving. You will learn a little chemistry along the way, keep reading for the tips you need to know!
How Long Do You Leave Baking Soda And Vinegar In Drain
There are two ways to use baking soda and vinegar for cleaning a drain. One is for regular and weekly cleaning of pipes and drains and the other is to clean drain clogs.
The two methods require two different proportions of the ingredients and times for resting after pouring into the drain.
For both techniques, along with vinegar and baking soda youll additionally need boiling water as well.
Now lets come to the process. The first method is for cleaning a clogged drain. For that, boil some water and then pour half a cup of baking soda into a separate bowl.
After dropping the baking soda, pour the vinegar solution into the drain, close the drain plug, and wait for the vinegar and baking soda to do their work for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Then, after a while, again pour some more boiling water into the drain removing the drain plug from it. You should notice your drain unclog after that.
The second method is generally used for cleaning the drain and the pipe either weekly or regularly so that further clogs dont get the chance to take place within the drainage system.
For the process, drop half a cup of baking soda through the drain followed by a half cup of vinegar. And then, wait for about an hour or half an hour plugging the drain hole.
Don’t Miss: Freestanding Tub Rough In Drain
The Baking Soda & Vinegar Issue In A Nutshell
The hard and fast rule to remember when cleaning with baking soda and vinegar:
Dont mix baking soda and vinegar together, store them, and then expect them to work. But DO harness their explosive chemical reaction when immediate fizzy bubbles are needed to do some deep, impossible-to-reach drain scrubbing.
And I think that concludes everything we need to know about working with alkaline baking soda and acidic vinegar in cleaning.
Can you think of any other times when cleaning with baking soda and vinegar together could be useful?
Also, Im looking for good counter top cleaner recipes right now .
Got any you especially love?
Sock it to me.
P.S. In case this doesnt work for you, another good drain cleaning option is lye. Yes, that amazing stuff used to make soap. That kind of lye. It works. Dont ask me how I know. Just trust me on this, mmmkay?
Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.