Kitchen Chemistry: How To Clean Your Drains With Baking Soda and Vinegar

by | Dec 26, 2023 | Sewer & Drain

At some point, nearly every homeowner faces the frustrating dilemma of clogged drains. Whether they’re due to grease buildup, food particles, or mineral deposits, these issues can wreak havoc on a household. As a trusted service provider in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, we at Jolly Plumbing Heating and Air understand the headache of stubborn clogs. One eco-friendly plumbing solution you can try is baking soda and vinegar for clearing drains.

The Science Behind Drain Cleaning With Baking Soda

Why do baking soda and vinegar work wonders on clogged drains? It’s all about the chemical reaction between the two. When combined, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (acetic acid) create a fizzy, foaming action. This reaction generates carbon dioxide bubbles, which help break down the debris, grease, and grime lining the pipes.

Compared to harsh chemical cleaners, opting for natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar presents several benefits. These include:

  • Safety: Natural cleaners are typically safer than chemical alternatives because chemical drain cleaners often contain harsh ingredients like lye or sulfuric acid, which can be hazardous if mishandled. 
  • Non-Corrosive: Chemical drain cleaners can corrode pipes over time, especially older or delicate plumbing systems made of certain materials. On the other hand, baking soda and vinegar are gentler on your pipes and won’t cause damage or deterioration.
  • Environmental Friendliness: Natural cleaners are biodegradable and eco-friendly, whereas chemical cleaners introduce harmful substances into the environment, potentially affecting water systems and wildlife if disposed of improperly.
  • Versatility: Baking soda and vinegar have various household uses beyond drain cleaning. For example, you can use them for cleaning surfaces, removing odors, and even as a cooking aid. This versatility makes them a more cost-effective and multi-purpose solution for homeowners.
  • Health Considerations: Harsh chemical cleaners emit strong fumes that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, especially in poorly ventilated areas. However, natural cleaners generally have milder odors and are less likely to cause respiratory issues or allergic reactions.

Is It Safe To Use Vinegar and Baking Soda To Clean Drains?

Yes, using baking soda and vinegar to clean drains is safe for the whole family. Unlike chemical drain cleaners that contain harmful substances, this natural solution poses no risk to your health or the planet. Chemical drain cleaners can corrode pipes and cause harm if mishandled. In contrast, baking soda and vinegar are gentle yet effective, making them a safer choice for your plumbing system.

The Best Homemade Drain Cleaner

When it comes to the best homemade drain cleaners, the baking soda and vinegar combination takes the spotlight. Its effectiveness, coupled with its eco-friendly nature, makes it the best choice for clearing drains.

The Power of Baking Soda and Vinegar

Due to their unique properties, baking soda and vinegar serve as a dynamic duo for drain cleaning. Baking soda’s abrasive nature helps scrub away debris while vinegar’s acidic properties aid in dissolving stubborn substances. 

Jolly Plumbing’s Drain Cleaning services advocate the potency of these ingredients for effective results. However, if you require professional assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us for our drain cleaning services

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Drains

If you decide to take on drain cleaning at home, keep in mind that the ideal ratio of vinegar to baking soda is one cup each. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Pour the baking soda down the drain.
  2. Follow with the vinegar.
  3. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Flush the drain with hot water.

Remember, regular maintenance is key. To maintain clean drains, consider repeating this process monthly to prevent buildup and clogs.

Tips and Tricks for Effective Drain Cleaning

Besides using baking soda and vinegar, here are additional tips for maintaining clean drains:

  • Use a Drain Strainer: Prevent debris, hair, and larger particles from entering your drain by installing a drain strainer or catcher. This simple tool can significantly reduce the amount of material that accumulates in your pipes.
  • Regular Hot Water Flush: Once a week, pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to help dislodge and flush away any accumulating grease or small particles. Hot water can help break down oils and prevent them from solidifying in the pipes.
  • Baking Soda and Salt Scrub: Create a mixture of equal parts baking soda and salt, and pour it down the drain. Then, follow up with hot water. This combination can act as an abrasive scrub, helping to dislodge grime and buildup within the pipes.
  • Use Enzyme Cleaners: Consider using enzyme-based drain cleaners. These cleaners use natural enzymes to break down organic matter, making them a safer and more eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals.
  • Regular Maintenance Routine: Implement a monthly or bi-monthly maintenance routine using natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar. This proactive approach can prevent clogs before they become a major issue.
  • Mind What Goes Down the Drain: Be mindful of what you put down the drain. Avoid pouring cooking oils, grease, coffee grounds, and large food particles down the sink, as these can easily contribute to clogs.
  • DIY Plumbing Snake: Invest in a plumbing snake or auger for minor clogs. These tools can help break up blockages within the pipes and are relatively easy to use for minor obstructions.
  • Professional Inspection: Consider scheduling periodic professional inspections of your plumbing system with us. This proactive measure can identify potential issues before they escalate into larger, more costly problems.
  • Consult With a Professional: If you encounter persistent or severe clogs, it’s best to consult with our professional plumbers. We have the expertise, tools, and knowledge to tackle complex drainage issues safely and effectively.

By integrating these tips into your routine, you can maintain clean drains, prevent clogs, and ensure the smooth operation of your plumbing system, saving you from potential headaches and costly repairs down the line.


In the battle against clogged drains, baking soda and vinegar are the safe, eco-friendly, and effective choice for homeowners. With these versatile and easily accessible ingredients, kitchen chemistry has never been simpler. Say goodbye to your kitchen woes when you try drain cleaning with baking soda and vinegar 

For further expert advice and professional drain cleaning services, contact Jolly Plumbing. Let us help you keep your drains clean and your home running smoothly all year round.

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