How To Unclog A Drain With Baking Soda? - (2023)

Commonly drain cleaners are used to unclog a drain. There are numerous types and brands of drain openers or drain cleaners.

Why choose homemade drain openers?

Most of the people, especially ones with children are afraid of using industry made chemical based drain openers for unclogging their drains. It is understandable that it is risky to have a jar filled with concentrated corrosive acid or a strong caustic solution in house and is also not environment friendly. These are some of the reasons to why people choose homemade drain openers for unclogging the drains.

What are homemade drain openers made of?

The main ingredient in any homemade drain opener is baking soda. You would be obviously familiar with the many advantages of baking soda. Unclogging a drain is also an important purpose of baking soda. Baking soda alone cannot do any magic. Read through the article to learn more about how to use baking soda to unclog a drain.

Table of Contents

Chemistry of baking soda and vinegar

How To Unclog A Drain With Baking Soda? - (1)Baking soda is a caustic element or base and vinegar is an acid. Baking soda and baking powder are different elements. Yes, baking powder can also be used for unclogging a drain.

(Video) How to unclog a kitchen sink using baking soda and vinegar !!

How does the baking soda work to unclog your drain?

We will also talk a little about baking powder in the article, in the future. Now, just remember that we are talking about baking soda and not baking powder. When mixed together, the acid and the base would neutralize and create salts (sodium acetate) with a large amount of carbon di-oxide and a little water.

Do you remember your school volcano project? A similar reaction happens inside the drain. Instead of rising up, the foam would push through the debris and get down the drain. This would help to remove the debris, in the clogged drain. This chemistry would hold good for any kind of acid mixed with a base.

Common recipe for baking soda based drain opener

1st Step

Common recipe of baking soda based drain opener calls for half a cup of baking soda (any brand) and one cup of any brand or type of vinegar. May it be rice vinegar, white vinegar or any other, it would suit this recipe. You need not choose any concentrated vinegar to unclog a drain as the milder version you have in your kitchen for cooking would do good.

2nd Step

You would need something to make this solution flow through the drain. Water comes handy for this. It is better to use hot water as it would help to break any loosen up clog. Four cups of hot water would be needed. The water should be boiling hot for this recipe. Use necessary precautions while handling hot water.

3rd Step

The reaction has to happen inside the drain and thus, do not mix anything in prior to the cleaning process. The first ingredient to go down the drain is baking soda. The next ingredient is vinegar. The reaction starts immediately and you can see heavy frizzing bubbles during the reaction. Let the bubbles subside. This marks the end of the neutralization reaction. The salt and carbon-di-oxide are formed.

(Video) 8 Fast and And Easy Ways To Unclog Drains Naturally

4th Step

Now, let the solution get down to the drain. Pour the boiling hot water down the drain as you wash down any baking soda sprinkles around the drain.

  1. If you have a drain stopper, close the drain or, you can use a wet cloth to close it.
  2. Let it stay for a few minutes, before you start to use the drain again.
  3. The common process is to do this right before you go to bed.This gives eight hours of sitting time for the solution and your drain would be completely cleaned.
  4. Minimum, you need to allow the drain to sunk in for five minutes before you use it.

For heavily clogged drains

If you are doing this for the very first time to a drain which has been heavily clogged, you may have to repeat it for two or three times with a few minutes gap between two trials. Alternatively, just one try is enough to remove large amount of debris.

Do it regularly to avoid future drain cloggings

Once you have cleaned your drain, you can continue it as a monthly procedure so that your drainage system would be effective. Sometimes, even after several attempts of baking soda with vinegar, the drain might remain unclogged. This does not mean that it did not work. The baking soda would have loosened up the clog. If you could use a plumbing snake or a plunger, you could easily remove the clogged material. Other additives can be added to make it more efficient and we will talk about this in detail, later.

Why does baking soda and vinegar unclog a drain?

What does the neutralization does to your drain? First, you should know the reason for a drain getting clogged in the first place. Human waste, hair and other debris are flushed down the pipe every day.

This debris gets attached to each other and blocks the further flow of debris and water. As the build-up grows in size, the space for flow of waste gets reduced, thereby reducing the efficiency of the drainage system. Most of the debris gets locked together with soap scum or any fat content. It is almost equivalent to pouring grease into the drain.The soap lather would coat the pipes and pull in as much debris as possible.

  • The vinegar in the solution dissolves the soap clogs making debris to drain better.
  • The salt created by the neutralization helps in dissolving the debris.

Enhancing baking soda

If the drain build-up is strong that baking soda alone cannot do the magic, add a little salt to baking soda. This will scour the pipeline and also help to break down heavy clogs.

(Video) How To Unclog A Sink With Standing Water (Immediate Results Guaranteed)

You can also add a little cream of tartar to clean the metal.

Instead of using cream of tartar and baking soda, some people prefer baking powder which is basically a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar and other acidic agents.

Some even add a little detergent or liquid dish washer to the drain, before adding hot water. Though it is not a necessary step, it may be helpful in cases where the clog is too strong.

The additives changes from one recipe to another. Each person would choose additives as per his decision. There are people who add juice of a full lemon too.

If you want to have better output, freeze the baking soda. Take chunks of the soda and throw it down the drain and then add vinegar.

A few people even choose apple cider vinegar, instead of plain vinegar. All that is needed here is an acid. The choice of acid is yours. If you are using apple cider vinegar, the drain would be deodorized too.

Baking soda with hydrogen peroxide

How To Unclog A Drain With Baking Soda? - (2)

Just like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide can also be used for unclogging your drain. You would obviously have hydrogen peroxide in your house, at least in your first aid box.

Recipe of baking soda with hydrogen peroxide

The recipe calls for one cup of hydrogen peroxide and one tablespoon of baking soda mixed prior to pouring down the drain. Thus, you would be pouring a mixture of the soda and the acid directly into the drain. It would cause foam and the foam would break down the clog. Flush down with water.

(Video) Clogged Drains & Bathtubs are NO MATCH for this NATURAL ingredient!! (Unclog Slow Drain) Andrea Jean

How the reaction works?

The reaction is very similar to that of the reaction between baking soda and vinegar. The hydrogen peroxide is acidic and it reacts with the base and creates sodium hydroxide, carbon di-oxide and water. The burst of carbon di-oxide creates strong bubbles which would clean down the drain. Moreover, hydrogen peroxide decomposes into oxygen which would speed up the cleaning process by speeding up the decomposition. The power of oxygen in cleaning is not something new to explain.

Baking soda and Epsom salt for large drains

Large drains, toilets and garbage disposal pipes would need a little more than just vinegar. You would be already familiar with numerous advantages of having Epsom salt in your house. Add this to that list too.

How to make Baking soda and Epsom salt based drain opener bomb?

  1. Take two cups of any brand of baking soda.
  2. Mix it with quarter cup of any brand of Epsom salt.
  3. Add 9 tablespoons of any liquid detergent. It would be better if it is a dish washing detergent.
  4. Wear gloves and make balls out of it. Or, use your muffin tin and place a piece of linen on it and add a scoop of the solution on each hole.
  5. The content should dry for eight hours or overnight.

What you have now is a drain opener bomb.

How to use the drain opener bomb?

Throw the bomb into the toilet or garbage disposal and pour five cups of hot boiling water and wait for an hour. Flush it with normal water. Your drain is successfully unclogged. Though it is not a completely chemical free solution, liquid detergent and other ingredients are not very harmful. Moreover, the effect of the reaction is very high.

Common mistakes while using baking soda for unclogging

This is an important part of the article. One should know the common mistakes that people commit while using baking soda to unclog a drain.

  1. Baking soda is the main element in the home-made drain opener solution. But, just baking soda will not work. There should be an acid to create neutralization process.
  2. If you had used commercial chemical drain opening solution or pellets, do not use baking soda immediately. The same goes for the reverse too. If baking soda had just loosened up the clog, do not try to use any commercial chemical solution to enhance the process. The baking soda will react with the acids in those chemicals and cause fumes of gases which can be an irritant to eyes and throat.
  3. Do not mix baking soda and vinegar and keep your drain opening solution ready before the need. Once the bubbles die, the strength of the solution also dies.
  4. There are caustic drain cleaners in the market. Though they are also made with base; they are not as harmless as baking soda. Do not interchange those two.
  5. Pouring hot water immediately would make the solution drain down without completing the action. Let the baking soda and vinegar stay in the drain for a minimum of five minutes.
  6. This solution does not work on completely blocked drain. If the drain is blocked and the water is not getting inside the pipe, the baking soda and vinegar would not reach the clog and thus, the whole plan renders useless. So, slightly unclog them with a plunger or other mechanical equipment and then use the baking soda solution.

Why people prefer baking soda for unclogging their drains?

More number of people are choosing baking soda over any commercial drain opener. This happens for certain reasons.

(Video) How to Unclog A Drain With Baking Soda And Salt (Get 100% Results) - Easy Cleaning Hacks

  1. The cost of a branded and effective drain opener solution would be considerably high. Say, you are planning to unclog a drain, once a month. Your annual expense for drain unclogging would be a considerable amount but, a box of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar would last longer and has negligible cost.
  2. Non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-irritant and most importantly, child friendly. Say, a few sprinkles of baking soda ended up on the floor and your child walks over it. Your child would suffer no consequences. This is not the case with any commercial drain openers no matter how mild they claim to be.
  3. It is a green drain opener solution. Environment elements do not get affected.
  4. Moreover, baking soda would remove any odor in the drain while the others end up with a strong chemical odor.
  5. No fumes or irritant byproducts are formed with baking soda.

This is not an exclusive list of how baking soda is used to unclog a drain. There are numerous other methods which are used in many households and many additives to baking soda to increase the effect of the reaction. Every recipe will have an acid which would neutralize the baking soda, creates salt and water with carbon di-oxide and creates strong bubbles. The whole solution would be flushed down with hot water to push out the broken down clog. To avoid major clog, repeat this every month or once in two months. You should also avoid disposing grease through drain. After all, grease is the main reason for the clogging.


Will pouring baking soda down the drain unclog it? ›

Baking soda, vinegar and boiling water can help clean drains naturally, but you may need something stronger, like Liquid-Plumr, to fully unclog those really tough drain clogs.

Why you should never use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain? ›

Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid; when the two are combined, you get a fizzy chemical reaction that has some properties that can eat away at a clog. However, when you use this combination to unclog a drain, it's just plain ineffective.

How long does it take for baking soda to unclog a drain? ›

Drop in 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain. Pour in 1 cup of vinegar, cover the drain with a plug and let sit for 10 minutes – you will hear fizzing. Rinse with more hot water.

Can you leave baking soda and vinegar in drain overnight? ›

Leave it in the drain for an hour or two or overnight, and then flush the drain with hot tap water. For larger drains, such as tubs and kitchen sinks, use about a quarter-cup of baking soda, a half-cup of water to move the powder down, and 2 cups of vinegar.

Why is my drain more clogged after baking soda? ›

While the baking soda and vinegar solution is effective in breaking down a clog, it will also cause your drain to become more damaged. The baking soda's abrasive nature will wear down your drain over time. This is why you should avoid using baking soda and vinegar solution for cleaning out your drain.

Will hydrogen peroxide and baking soda clear a clogged drain? ›

Drains: Mix one cup of hydrogen peroxide with one tablespoon of baking soda. Pour it down the drain. The foam will help clean your drain and leave it smelling fresh.

What is the best homemade drain cleaner? ›

Baking Soda + Salt

Mix 1/2 cup table salt and 1/2 cup baking soda together, and pour down drain. Let sit for about 30 minutes (or overnight if it's a tough clog).

How do you unclog a drain that won't go down? ›

Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Plug the drain using a drain stop or rag, and allow the mixture to work its magic for at least an hour. Rinse with boiling water. Repeat as necessary.

How do you clear a slow drain? ›

How to Unclog a Drain Naturally
  1. Pour boiling water down the drain.
  2. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain.
  3. Pour ½ cup of vinegar down the drain.
  4. Wait 10 minutes.
  5. Pour boiling water down the drain again.
  6. Turn on the hot water faucet to clear out the solution.
Aug 18, 2021

What dissolves hair in a drain? ›

If your drain is clogged with hair, baking soda can dissolve hair in a drain. To try this safe and easy method at home - first, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain. Then pour a cup of vinegar (white vinegar) down. Allow the mixture to sit for several minutes.

How long does baking soda and vinegar take to unclog a drain? ›

Allow the baking soda and vinegar to react completely, waiting as long as five minutes if necessary. Even when foaming is no longer coming up out of your drain, there may still be a chemical reaction taking place down out of sight. This reaction will loosen up any debris down there that is causing your clog.

What is best for clogged drains? ›

Experts agree: Drano Max Gel is the best overall drain cleaner because it works quickly to get rid of tough clogs. This reliable and effective cleaner is a thick gel that goes deep in sinks, pipes, and drains to reach the source of the clog and completely dissolve it.

Does Dawn unclog drains? ›

Homemade drain cleaner can break up even the toughest clogs in your sink. Baking soda, vinegar and Dawn dish soap along with boiling water can safely unclog a drain. Baking soda, vinegar and Dawn dish soap along with boiling water can safely unclog a drain.

Can you use hydrogen peroxide to unclog a drain? ›

Hydrogen Peroxide – Mix 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 quart of water. Pour this mixture down your clogged drain and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Be especially careful as this chemical can cause burns.

Why does my drain still smell after baking soda and vinegar? ›

If a kitchen or bathroom sink drain still smells after removing trapped hair and using the baking soda and vinegar, there may be something caught in the p-trap that's causing the odor.

How much vinegar and baking soda do I put in a clogged drain? ›

Pour the hot water down the drain to dissolve and wash away any grease clogs. After the water has finished draining, pour half a box of baking soda into the drain. Measure a half cup of vinegar and pour it into the drain. Seal immediately with a sink stopper, so that pressure can build and help dislodge any materials.

Will bleach unclog a drain? ›

It is not a great drain clog remover. Bleach has no effect in dissolving the common culprits of household drain clogs, like hair, food scraps and grease. Also, pouring bleach can harm the integrity of your drains and pipes.

Can you mix baking soda and white vinegar together? ›

Although mixing vinegar and baking soda is not considered dangerous, you should still avoid mixing these in a container. Vinegar is acidic and basic soda is basic, so the by-products are sodium acetate, carbon dioxide, and water that are not toxic.

Why pour hydrogen peroxide down the drain at night? ›

Hydrogen peroxide dissolves organic matter to loosen and flush away debris such as skin cells. It also disinfects the drain as it works by reducing germs inside your pipes and making your sinks smell fresh and clean.

Will rubbing alcohol unclog a drain? ›

Clear clogged drains with rubbing alcohol by pouring it down the drain while running warm water after. Wait a few minutes before flushing the drain with cold water, and that should remove any debris or gunk that has built up.

Can you pour boiling water down the drain? ›

Pouring boiling water is quite risky as it might lead to a steam burn or scalding. Another thing to keep in mind is what type of material you are pouring in into. If you have a porcelain sink, it is likely to crack due to the heat. All in all, pouring boiling water down your drain will only cause issues down the road.

How do you make a drain snake? ›

Homemade drain snake
  1. Start with an empty 2-liter plastic bottle.
  2. Cut the bottle around the circumference of the bottle to create a long, thin strip of plastic (it will look like a spiral as you're cutting)
  3. At one end, cut a few small ridges or teeth.
Feb 18, 2021

Can I use apple cider vinegar to unclog a drain? ›

Unclog Drains

Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, and follow it with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. It will fizz and foam, breaking down the clogs and deodorizing. After about 15 minutes, pour hot water down the drain.

What happens if you leave a drain clogged too long? ›


The chemicals in the product are designed to break own the clog, but if left for too long, they can start to break down the pipes themselves. This can lead to cracks and leaks in the pipes, leading to various issues, including water damage and flooding.

How does a plumber unclog a drain? ›

A plumber inserts the hose and nozzle into your pipes and blasts high-pressure water through it to scour out the drain pipes. Not only does this move out clogs, but it also helps to remove hard deposits and hard water minerals. This is one of the most popular and safe ways of unclogging and cleaning out drains.

How much dawn does it take to unclog a drain? ›

Pour 1/2 cup of Blue Dawn detergent (no substitutes for best result) into the drain. For tough clogs, use a full cup. While that sits, bring a half pot of water (about 4 cups) to boil. Pour this directly into the drain very slowly but steadily to avoid getting burned by splashing water.

Will Coca Cola unclog a drain? ›

While the phosphoric acid found in cola can help alleviate some minor clogs, carbonated beverages are certainly not the ideal drain cleaner. Better DIY methods include a baking soda/vinegar mixture, a plunger, or a plumber's snake.

Is it OK to pour Coke down the drain? ›

Coke. Coke and other colas are actually surprisingly decent pipe cleaners, so drain at will! They contain phosphoric acid, which will break down certain buildups in your pipes.

Is it better to snake a drain or use Drano? ›

Using a snake is also more invasive and time-consuming than using a chemical cleaner is, and can often become a dirty job. When it comes to getting at and removing major clogs or clogs that are deep down in your pipes, however, a plumber's snake is your best bet.

How much baking soda do I use to unclog a drain? ›

If your drain is clogged, clean it by pouring a pan of boiling water down the drain. Follow the water with 1 cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. You'll probably see some bubbles as the chemical reaction works its magic and opens your drain.

What acid do plumbers use to unclog drains? ›

Hydrochloric acid, also known as muriatic acid, is a strong acid that is commonly used to dissolve clogs in drains. This acid works by breaking down organic materials such as hair, grease, and soap scum that can accumulate in pipes and cause blockages.

What works better than Drano? ›

Baking soda and white vinegar are sustainable substitutions for Drano. Most people have these items in their pantry at any given time. Pour a half cup of baking soda into your drain with a half cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for about thirty minutes, then pour in boiling water.

Can too much dish soap clog drains? ›

Significantly overloading the appliances with detergent can eventually lead to too much soap buildup, causing clogs in pipes and drains. Use the correct amount of detergent to avoid this issue.

Can I pour laundry detergent down the drain? ›

Best: Use up or give away. Rinse out empty container and recycle or dispose of in the garbage depending on your curbside guidelines. Second best: Flush small amounts of unwanted liquid detergent down an inside drain (toilet is best) with plenty of water.

Can I pour boiling water down PVC pipes? ›

Will Boiling Water Damage PVC Pipes? The general rule of thumb is that hot boiling water can soften or even slightly melt the joints in your PVC pipes so YES, if you subject these types of pipes to high temperature water on a regular basis - they can be damaged, causing leaks and eventually requiring replacement.

What happens when you mix water vinegar and baking soda? ›

Mixing baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid) causes a chemical reaction that produces a salt (sodium acetate) and water, as well as carbon dioxide gas. In this demonstration, baking soda is placed in a balloon that is attached to a flask holding vinegar. This creates a closed system.

How long does vinegar take to unclog a drain? ›

This can help prevent clog-causing buildup on the interior surface of pipes. Or you can pour one cup of vinegar down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes, followed by a rinse with two quarts of very hot water.

Why do all my drains smell like sewage? ›

There could be odor-causing bacteria feeding on debris in your pipes. This process will give off a foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells like sewage or rotten eggs. Also, mold grows where it's warm and wet — and mold growth on the debris causing a drain clog can also cause a bad smell.

Why does peroxide bubble in my sink? ›

This enzyme acts as a catalyst that speeds the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide into water and releases that extra unstable oxygen molecule as gas. The bubbles and foam you see is pure oxygen that is released from this process.

Is baking soda and vinegar better than Drano? ›

Look in Your Kitchen Pantry

Baking soda and vinegar may unclog your drain better than Drano ever could. Start by getting rid of the standing water in your drain. If it will go down slowly, just wait until it's gone.

What home remedy can I use to unclog a drain? ›

Baking Soda & Vinegar

Clear the area around your sink and put a 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow that with a 1/2 cup of vinegar. Now plug your drain and let it sit for an hour. Then, unplug the drain and pour a pot of boiling water down it.

What is the best chemical to unblock drains? ›

Experts agree: Drano Max Gel is the best overall drain cleaner because it works quickly to get rid of tough clogs. This reliable and effective cleaner is a thick gel that goes deep in sinks, pipes, and drains to reach the source of the clog and completely dissolve it.

What is the best soda to unclog drain? ›

You may be surprised to learn that pouring soda down the drain does work for some clogs. To be specific, you need a dark-colored cola (such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi). This type of carbonated beverage usually contains a good amount of phosphoric acid, which given enough time, can eat away at some types of clogs.

Will hydrogen peroxide clear a clogged drain? ›

Hydrogen Peroxide – Mix 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 quart of water. Pour this mixture down your clogged drain and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Be especially careful as this chemical can cause burns.

Will Coke dissolve hair in a drain? ›

Does Coca-Cola Dissolve Hair? No, not even Coca-Cola or Pepsi dissolves hair. However, they can help remove any gunk that may hold onto the hair in the drain. These drinks contain phosphoric acid that dissolves buildups.

Can you use Dawn and baking soda for drains? ›

Homemade drain cleaner can break up even the toughest clogs in your sink. Baking soda, vinegar and Dawn dish soap along with boiling water can safely unclog a drain. Baking soda, vinegar and Dawn dish soap along with boiling water can safely unclog a drain.

How do you unclog a drain with Dawn? ›

Pour 1/2 cup of Blue Dawn detergent (no substitutes for best result) into the drain. For tough clogs, use a full cup. While that sits, bring a half pot of water (about 4 cups) to boil. Pour this directly into the drain very slowly but steadily to avoid getting burned by splashing water.

What is the quickest way to unblock a drain? ›

Try pouring hot water down the drain, then follow it with one cup of bicarbonate of soda and a cup of vinegar. Leave it for ten minutes, then chase it with more hot water. A combination of the hot water and the natural cleaner mixture can break blockages up.


1. How to Unclog Any Drain | Ask This Old House
(This Old House)
2. How To Unclog Drain 4 Ways
3. How to Unclog a Sink -- The Right Way
(Home Repair Tutor)
4. How To Unclog A Bathroom Sink Drain
(Everyday Home Repairs)
5. How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink
(HowToWith GEO)
6. Easy and guaranteed way to unclog you sink
(Slater Young)


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