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Ace Plumbing and Heating Blog

How to Unclog Your Drain with Baking Soda & Vinegar, Plus Other DIY Decloggers

The Process

Clogs in your drain can be a nuisance and can lead to expensive repairs if left untreated for too long. Fortunately, there are DIY processes that can get your drains back to their intended smooth working order.

Baking soda and vinegar are useful household staples that can help break down stubborn clogs. All you need is water, baking soda, and vinegar.

Here’s the process:

  1. Boil a pot of water and slowly pour it down the clogged drain.
  2. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  3. Mix equal parts vinegar and water (1 cup of each) together and pour it following the baking soda.
  4. Cover the drain with a drain plug and let it sit 5-10 minutes.
  5. Flush the drain with boiling water.

Why It Works

The baking soda and vinegar will cause a bubbling reaction that helps loosen the clog from the drain, and the boiling water helps to flush it through the pipes.

The science behind it has to do with the pH values of the baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a base, and vinegar, or acetic acid, is an acid. When you combine these two things, a reaction occurs that creates carbon dioxide and water which bubbles around and through the clog, breaking it up. The boiling water adds pressure to your water system, and gravity helps to pull the water and the clog through the pipe.

Other DIY Decloggers

If you find yourself faced with a stubborn clog, all hope is not lost. There are several ways you can tackle drain clogs before having to call a plumber.

Wire Coat Hanger

Simple but effective, a wire coat hanger can help break up a clog or hook and pull out the nasty stuff that’s blocking the drain. All you have to do is straighten out your coat hanger and push it past the drain cover. When you feel you’ve gotten most of the clog out, pour some hot water down the drain to flush it out.

Boiling Water

If you catch a clog in its early stages, plain boiling water can do the trick to wash away anything mucking up your pipes. Boil water and pour it down the drain in two or three stages, giving it a few seconds to work between pours.

Caustic Soda

Caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide, works similarly to baking soda and vinegar. You can purchase it from any hardware store, but be very careful handling it as it can cause chemical burns. Mix 3 cups of caustic soda in a mop bucket with cold water and stir well. The mix will react and begin to fizz and heat up. You can then pour it down the drain and leave for 20-30 minutes. Be sure to flush the drain with boiling water afterward.

If you use caustic soda and have to call a professional afterwards, please inform your plumber so he can take appropriate measures to avoid chemical burns.

Drain Snake

A drain auger or “snake” is a long, coiled, spiral snake that you push through the drain to break up and pull out any gunk that is obstructing the pipe. This tool is handy for clogs that are deep in a pipe and inaccessible by other methods.

Wet & Dry Vacuum

Although it is not always successful, a wet & dry vacuum is powerful enough to pull out clogs. Make sure it is on the liquid setting, and ensure it is on the highest power. Create a tight seal over the drain, cover the vent, and turn it on. If it works, it will suck up the clog into the vacuum bag.

Of course, if all else fails, call us today to have your drains cleaned and any clogs are taken care of fast and efficiently.

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