How to Clean a Clogged Drain With Baking Soda

The Spruce / Lacey Johnson 

How to Clean a Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar

  1. Heat Boiling Water

    Heat boiling water in a tea kettle on the stovetop or in a large pourable measuring cup in the microwave.

    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson 
  2. Pour Boiling Water and Dish Soap Into Drain

    Squirt a bit of grease-fighting dish soap into the drain and carefully pour the boiling water down the drain. The dish soap will help dissolve greasy clogs.

    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson  
  3. Pour Baking Soda Into the Drain

    Pour one cup of baking soda into the drain. You can use a measuring cup to do this or use a funnel if you have a smaller drain that makes it hard to pour directly into the drain opening.

    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson 
  4. Follow With Vinegar

    Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar into the drain. Don’t be surprised by the audible reaction that occurs. Baking soda is an alkaline substance and vinegar is a mild acetic acid. When the two are mixed, they react somewhat dramatically to neutralize one another; the fizzing action you hear is the reaction that will often dislodge clogs in your drain.

    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson 
  5. Flush With More Hot Water

    After the fizzing subsides, wait five minutes. Use this time to heat two cups of water to boiling. Flush the drain with this additional boiling water.

    If the drain is now flowing, run hot tap water to flush all debris down the drain. If it is not draining, repeat the previous steps. If you haven't cleaned your drain recently, it may be necessary to repeat the baking soda flush at least twice.

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    If a drain clog doesn't clear after two or more attempts, use the baking soda and salt method described below.

    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson 
    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson  

The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

How to Clean a Clogged Drain With Salt and Baking Soda

If the baking soda and vinegar method doesn't unclog the drain, use the salt and baking soda method next. This works best if you do it right before bedtime since the drain won't be used until morning.


  1. Pour Baking Soda Into the Drain

    Pour one cup of baking soda into the clogged drain.

    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson  
  2. Pour Salt Into the Drain

    Follow the baking soda with 1/2 cup of salt poured into the drain. Let this mixture sit in the drain for several hours—overnight is best.

    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson 
  3. Flush With Boiling Water

    In the morning, heat two cups of water to a boil, then pour this hot water into the drain.

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    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson  
  4. Flush With Tap Water

    If the drain begins to drain, continue to flush with hot tap water. If not, you may need to repeat the process or try the baking soda and vinegar method.

    If neither baking soda method opens the drain, it is likely you’ll need to disassemble the drain trap to clear the clog.

    The Spruce / Lacey Johnson 

Tips for Keeping Your Drains Clean

  • Always use strainer baskets on your drains to keep hair and food particles from going down the drain.
  • Never pour oil or grease down the drain. When cooking greasy or oily foods, wipe the cookware with a paper towel before washing so less grease, oil, and fat go down the drain to form a clog.
  • Regularly add boiling water with a grease-fighting dish soap down the drain to prevent the buildup of greasy clogs.
  • Both the baking-soda-and-vinegar and the baking-soda-and-salt methods can be used to clean and freshen your garbage disposal. To remove odors from a garbage disposal, reduce the required amounts of baking soda, water, vinegar, and salt by half and follow the directions above.


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About the Author: Thien Bao

Hello, my name is ThienBao. I am a freelance developer specializing in various types of code.