Drains are one of the most ignored parts of the plumbing system in any house. As long as we see water disappearing from the sink, none of us pay much attention to cleaning the drains regularly. However, there comes a time when solid residues and other waste products accumulate and block the drain to the point that not even liquids drain from the sink.
Whenever we are faced with blocked sinks and clogged pipes, the first thought that comes to our mind is to grab a commercial drain cleaner and pour them down the strainer. Sadly, such products result in more harm than good due to their harsh chemical nature.
Is there a gentler yet more effective alternative? Absolutely. The best part is that you’ll only need two simple and inexpensive ingredients: baking soda and vinegar. So, let’s jump right in to learn how to clean drain with baking soda and vinegar effortlessly!
Does Baking Soda And Vinegar Really Work?
Baking soda is a kitchen staple that not only cleans appliances and clothes but also clogged or smelly drains. It has the capability to dissolve mineral deposits and organic compounds like grease and combat fungi and odor-causing bacteria with its disinfectant properties. When combined with vinegar, it forms a powerful chemical reaction that can break down grime and dirt.
Step-by-step Guide To Clean Drain With Baking Soda & Vinegar
From the equipment needed to the steps involved in the process, we’ll be listing down every detail that will help make the process safe and effective.
|Large Pot||Hot Water|
|Sink Stopper||Baking Soda|
|Plunger (Optional)||Dish Soap|
|Wire Coat Hanger||Salt|
If the drain is clogged to the point that the sink or tub is not draining at all, fill it with water (enough to cover the bottom of the plunger). Position the plunger over the drain, press down the handle, and release it multiple times. Remove the plunger and check if the water has started draining.
Remove the drain stopper to prevent any obstructions. Pull out any visible solids (like hair or food particles). Tip: A bent wire coat hanger is a suitable tool for pulling out solids within reach.
Fill a pot with water and heat it to a scalding temperature on a stove. Remember not to pour boiling hot water down the drain, as this may damage PVC pipes.
Add a bit of grease-fighting dish soap and follow this with hot water. This step will dissolve greasy clogs.
Once the water has completely drained, pour one cup of baking soda into the drain. You can use a measuring cup or even a funnel if you have a smaller drain opening.
Measure half a cup of vinegar and pour it over the drain opening. Cover it immediately with a sink stopper to allow the pressure to build up.
Don’t be astonished by the audible reaction that will occur. Vinegar is a mild acetic acid, while baking soda is an alkaline substance. When both are mixed, they react slightly dramatically to neutralize each other. The fizzing reaction that you hear is basically the process that dislodges your drain.
Wait for half an hour or so to allow the fizzing to subside and the reaction to do its magic. Then, remove the plug and pour two cups of heated water into the drain.
If the drain is flowing, open the hot water tap to flush away the debris. However, if you haven’t cleaned the drain recently, you might have to repeat the aforementioned steps at least twice.
Alternatively, you can use the baking soda and salt method. Add a cup of baking soda into the drain and follow it with ½ cup salt. Let it sit for a few hours (best if you leave it overnight). Follow this with a few cups of hot water and if the drain is unblocked, flush it with hot tap water.
Make a solution of lemon and water and pour it down the drain to make your sink or tub smell fresh and nice. Once the process is complete, replace any stoppers or drain covers you removed.
Now that you’re familiar with the super simple steps of how to clean drain with baking soda and vinegar, let’s go on to answer some common confusions and questions asked.
Is it safe to clean drains with baking soda and vinegar?
When used correctly, this chemical reaction is completely safe to use. However, avoid mixing too much baking soda with vinegar as it may produce a dangerous gas. So, be sure to follow the instructions closely.
Also, remember not to use this mixture if you’ve used a chemical cleaner immediately beforehand. Similarly, do not use a store-bought cleaner right after the baking soda and vinegar solution.
How long can I leave the solution in the drain?
The solution can be left in the drain for thirty minutes. If it hasn’t fully worked, repeat the process instead of letting the mixture sit for too long.
How often should I use this mixture to clean drains?
Ideally, giving your bathroom a deep clean once a month will be enough. This number can increase according to the traffic in your bathroom, but declogging the drain with baking soda and vinegar once per month will be enough.
For a weekly drain clean, you can boil 3-4 cups of water, mix a few drops of Dawn dish soap into it, and pour it down the drain.
When should I call a professional?
If your drain is still clogged even after the baking soda and vinegar method, you can try using a store-bought cleaner. But make sure you opt for a bacteria-based or enzyme drain cleaner. If this doesn’t work either, it’s time to call in a professional. They have better knowledge and more powerful tools to identify and solve your draining system’s technical issues (if any).
How to avoid clogged drains?
- Use sink strainers (also referred to as food and hair catchers) to prevent items from entering the drainage pipes.
- Every time you use the sink or tub, wash it with hot water to get rid of any fresh residue buildup.
- Don’t pour oil down the drain. When washing oily cookware, wipe the excess oil with a paper towel to prevent too much fat, grease, and oil from entering the drain.
With regular maintenance, you will barely ever have to call in professional help. As such, regularly cleaning your drains to keep them unclogged will not only make your life a lot easier but will also save you a lot of money in the long run.
Collect the equipment needed, closely read the instructions, and let your drain breathe freely, once again, with the magical baking soda and vinegar solution!