One of my readers contacted me about unclogging her bathroom sink.  As a conscientious environmentalist, she was surprised and frustrated when baking soda and vinegar didn’t unclog her drain.  She was adamant about not using conventional, off the shelf products with lye and other toxic chemicals and wondered if there were other natural products that work.

Baking soda and vinegar really do work, but it‘s important to use the right amount and follow the directions of this tried and true recipe I’ve listed below.  For stubborn clogs, you may even have to repeat it a couple of times.

Cover of "Home Comforts: The Art and Scie...

Unclog Your Drain Safely Recipe 

Important:  Do not use this recipe if there is standing water in the sink.

Pour ½ to 1 cup of baking soda down the drain; slowly pour ½ to 1 cup of vinegar (distilled white vinegar is good) after.  Cover the drain immediately with a cloth or rag so the fizzing interaction cannot escape. (This is the same fizzing action that happened when “erupting volcanoes” with the kids by mixing baking soda and vinegar.)  Let it sit for 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes depending on the severity of the clog.  Follow with a gallon of boiling water.  If necessary, pour more boiling water down the drain or repeat the entire process.

Some recipes add a cup of salt to the boiling water, followed by running warm water for 10 minutes to clear any product from the drain.  If this doesn’t work, try using a sink plunger after pouring down the liquids.  The plunger creates suction and forces open the clog.

English: Plunger icon from SuperTuxKart

Image via Wikipedia

This procedure by the way also cleans your pipes at the same time.  And unlike conventional chemical products, baking soda and vinegar won’t harm your pipes and of course not you or the water table.

I used to tell my kids if you are ever stranded on an island, make sure you have baking soda with you. There are millions of uses – culinary, medicinal and for cleaning.  Click here to read more.


Information compiled from Home Comforts – The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson and thegoodhuman.com.  

Home Comforts is a great book, a true encyclopedia of anything and everything having to do with the home.




4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jacy on March 11, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Nice tips. For a chemical free solutions to bath drains clogged with hair, check out The Drain Claw at http://www.thedrainclaw.com.


    • Thank you for commenting on my post. It’s good to know about the drain claw and good to know so many people are doing great things to get away from toxic chemicals!


  2. I have this book on my shelf but haven’t looked at it for awhile. This is a good reminder to go haul it out.


  3. […] Unclog Your Drains Safely (betsywild.wordpress.com) […]


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