Baking soda is a standard kitchen item that can help you clean out clogged and smelly drains. In the bathroom, the most common clogs come from hair, soap scum and personal products. Before heading for the chemical drain clears or taking apart your drain trap, we’re going to look at how to unclog a bathroom sink with vinegar and baking soda.
Sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda, is a natural mineral compound which is slightly alkaline and comes in powder form. It has the ability to dissolve organic materials and mineral deposits thanks to its composition. Another thing is that baking soda also has disinfectant properties which can attack odor-causing bacteria. Regularly cleaning your bathroom drains with baking soda can prevent clogs from building up.
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Using a natural method such as this is always much more preferable than opting straight for chemical drain cleaners. Chemical cleaners aren’t always guaranteed to work and can be hazardous for you to use. Professional plumbers will often caution against using these products and some places even forbid the use of them. Before reaching for the Drano, give this easy unclogging technique a try.
Cleaning Your Drains
Every week you should flush your drains using boiling water mixed with grease-fighting soap. If you notice that the water is draining slowly from the sink then use the baking soda right away. Use this on a monthly basis to keep up the maintenance of your drains and prevent any clogs from forming in the future.
Now we’re going to get into the good stuff. Before you start you will need to gather some basic materials for you to carry out this process.
- Dish soap
- Baking soda
- Boiling water
- Distilled white vinegar
Cleaning a Drain with Baking Soda and Vinegar
Step 1 – Heat the Water
Take your water and heat it up. Make sure you transfer it gently to a pourable cup so you can easily tip it into the drain once the mixture has taken effect.
Step 2 – Pour Water and Soap Into the Drain
Get your grease fighting dish liquid and combine it with boiling water before pouring it down the drain. This helps dissolve anything greasy that may have gone down your bathroom drain such as hair gel or body lotion.
Step 3 – Pour Baking Soda Into the Drain
Measure out one cup of baking soda and then pour it into the drain. You can do this using the measuring cup or you can use a funnel if your bathroom drain is on the smaller side. It will make it easier to pour the soda right into the opening of the drain.
Step 4 – Add the Vinegar
Take one cup of distilled white vinegar and add this into the drain clog mixture. Don’t be shocked when you hear the drain cleaner making a strange sound. Because baking soda is alkaline and vinegar is an acid, when mixed they react quite dramatically to neutralize one another. The fizzing you will hear is them reacting to each other and this is the part that dislodges clogged drains in a bathroom sink or garbage disposal.
Step 5 – Flush it Out
Once the fizzing action has subsided wait another five minutes to let the mixture do its work. Get some more boiling or hot water and flush the sink out again as an all-natural drain cleaner.
If you find that the drain is now flowing more freely then you can run the hot tap to clean out the last of any debris remaining there. If the drain clog isn’t freed yet then repeat the steps above again. Drains that haven’t been cleaned for a long time usually take two or three attempts to declog. After two more attempts if you still don’t have any luck, try the baking soda and salt method we are setting out for you below.
Cleaning a Drain with Baking Soda and Salt
If baking soda and vinegar haven’t been successful for you then this is the next method to move on to. It’s best to do this at night when the drain won’t be in use for a good few hours.
Step 1 – Pour Baking Soda Into the Drain
Measure one cup of baking soda and add it into the drain that is clogged.
Step 2 – Add Salt
After applying the baking soda follow on with a half cup of salt for your blocked drain. This mixture needs to sit in your drain for several hours and leaving it overnight is the best option.
Step 3 – Flush with Boiling Water
Once you feel enough time has passed heat up some boiling water and pour it into the drain. If it begins draining properly then continue to flush the drain out using hot water. When neither of these methods work then it is more than likely you will need to completely remove the drain trap to clean out the clog in this way.
Tips to Keep Your Drains Clean
- Try to use strainer baskets as much as possible in your drains. For bathroom sinks this will stop hair from clogging the drain. In kitchens, it will stop food particles which can be hard to remove.
- Avoid ever putting oily or greasy products down your drains. If cooking with grease or oil you should wipe everything down using a paper towel so that no grease can form clogs in your drain.
- Regularly use boiling water and a grease fighting dish liquid and pour it down the drain to stop any clogs from building up over a period of time.
- Both of the baking soda methods we have mentioned above can be used at any time to freshen your bathroom sinks. To remove unpleasant odors you can reduce the amount of baking soda and vinegar you used by half, but still use the same instructions we set out above.
- A professional plumber should always be called if the problem cannot be solved using these methods. They have the right experience and tools to make sure the clog is removed expertly.
That’s all you need to know about fixing a slow drain sink using simple things such as hot water to get the job done. We hope you found this article useful and that you have fast flowing water in no time.
Drains aren’t our only specialty. We have guides from faucets to pipes here on our website – everything but the kitchen sink (even though we have articles on those too!). Make sure to take a good look around for more great information on keeping your sinks and drains in perfect working order.
Will vinegar and baking soda unclog a bathroom sink?
Baking soda, vinegar and some boiling water can be a natural way of unclogging drains naturally. If the clog is really strong then you may need to use a plunger or drain snake to remove the blockage.
Can baking soda and vinegar damage plumbing?
This remedy is all-natural so won’t damage the plumbing. It also doesn’t build up a lot of pressure to blow your pipes out. What you do need to be careful of is PVC pipes because you can’t use boiling water in this situation.
Why should I not use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain?
Sometimes this method won’t work because the blockage is just too big. If this is the case then you may need to reach out to a professional plumber for expert help on removing the clog properly.
How do you clear a slow draining bathroom sink?
There are many ways to clear a slow draining sink and the one we mentioned above should do the trick. If not then there are other ways out there such as drain snaking and professional plumbers which can get the job done for you.
How do you know if your drains are clogged?
If you notice that water is draining slowly from your bathroom sink then it’s more than likely there is a clog in the drain.
How often should I clean my drains?
You should clean your drains once a week using some dish soap and hot water. If you begin to notice that the water is draining slowly then you can use baking soda and vinegar to help clear any blockages. Baking soda is also good for monthly drain maintenance.
How can you stop drains from clogging?
Installing a strainer can help you stop unwanted objects from clogging up your drains. Strainers in bathrooms catch any hair and soap scum from going down the drains. In the kitchen drain don’t put food or grease down them.