Natural Homemade ‘drain-o’, or How To Unclog Without Harmful Chemicals

June 24th, 2009 - filed under: The Farm » Home



If I were to write a love ballad, it would be all about baking soda. It might go something like, 

White as snow/ and powdered fine/ clean anything/ to make you mine

I didn’t know/ we’d never start / ’cause vinegar/ has got your heart

But seriously, this stuff is out of control. Baking soda and vinegar are the foundation of DIY cleaning. Don’t be fooled – it really is that simple.

And this recipe is easy enough, but I swear it works like a charm. You don’t need complex, carcinogenic compounds lurking around your cabinets! Baking soda, baby, and a liberal splash of vinegar.


img_0953That’s powdered gold, my friends, white gold from cleansing heaven.


Drain De-Clogger Recipe:

1/2 cup baking soda

1 cup vinegar

1 gallon boiling water

Carefully siphon all the baking soda down the drain. Pour in 1/2 of the vinegar, covering the hole so the fizz is forced down, not up (omit this for toilets, please!). Add the second half of the vinegar, following the same procedure. Allow to sit for 15 minutes or so, and then flush with an entire gallon of boiling water.


I have used this method in my shower and my toilet, and it has never failed me. For particularly troublesome stoppage, you may have to administer multiple applications. For instance, I recently had to go three rounds with my janky bathtub drain. It was a mighty battle, but my baking soda came through for me!


img_0970The magic is in the fizz.


Enjoy, and happy green cleaning!


  • KC

    Try using a plunger after the baking soda vinegar procedure. My bathroom sink has had a slow drain for a while, now it flows better than ever!!

  • Katy

    Brilliant! The teens’ shower/tub had become so backed up it was oozing black stuff, like a horror movie. I had to force the baking soda down with a little knife and it didn’t look promising at first because it was thick and gooey down there. A plunger helped move things along and brought up big clots of disgusting blackness. Then the fizz worked like magic — slicing through what was left in the drain. BAM — problem solved without those crazy chemicals. Thanks!!!

  • Rosemary Bolster

    What do you have for a stopper? One of those “Fits all” rubber ones?

  • Rosemary Bolster

    Stupid is as stupid does!

  • eggshell

    im still curious what to do if you can’t remove your sink stopper – not the clog, but the metal disk itself in the sink… i can’t remove it to get a straight shot and the drain… thoughts?

  • pamelaAZ

    I have the same problem – a sink stopper that is part of to the hardware and cannot be removed. I used a teaspoon to feed the baking soda into the drain and used a couple of drops to vinegar to wash it down and repeated until I had a respectable amount of baking soda in the drain. Then I added the rest of the vinegar. I did this a couple of times to get the best result. I should say that my drain was not completely clogged, it was just slow from soap scum and hair. I had also removed the elbow pipe to try and clear out what could, before doing this. I hope this helps (if you still need it).

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  • Rochelle

    My sink in my bathroom clogged, my husband put hydrochloride down the drain over night to break up anything that may have clogged the trap, after a restful nights sleep I went online to pull up a homemade remedy for clogged drains and ran across this… I did it…My drain is now unclogged. I will be going to the store to buy more baking soda and vinegar to have around…Thanks for the info…I’m super happy about this and will share

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  • Kristi Sanger Pahlas

    I just tried this and it worked the first try. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Saville Katz

    Good article. Another word of warning: if you decide that you need to put down some toxic chemicals, and it still doesn’t work, when you call a plumber, please inform him hat you have already poured some chemicals down the drain. If you don’t tell him, those chemicals can sometimes get all over the poor guy, causing discomfort at best and injury at worst. Please see our blog page for more about these issues.

  • Laura421

    I was thinking the same thing that LynFine asked, and no one here but you, Dan, knew what she was referring to. I know there is a way to get that up and down bathroom drain stopper out, but I went under the sink dismantling things and still could not remove it, so I put the stuff back as it was. My bathroom sink keeps getting slower and slower and now fills to the top and needs to sit for awhile to go down. I hate chemicals like Liquid Plumber, Draino, etc. so I have not tried them. I’d like to try this, but how can I get the baking soda down the drain? Are you able to instruct me as to how to get that silly drain stopper out? The bathtub in this place has a weird stopper, too. In previous places I could unscrew it and take it out, but this one does not seem to come out at all. I’ve been stuck up til now using a plastic snake thing called the Zipper, and it is great at getting hair out of the tub drain going around that stopper, but it is doing nothing for the sink. Thanks.

  • Laura421

    I think some people just like to start up trouble and criticize for no reason. It seems especially true of science-minded folks. I don’t know why that is. Perhaps they mistakenly think they are smarter than everyone else. I think it means they have an insecure need to keep showing everyone how smart they are. Either way, it is annoying. I find it difficult to have conversations with these people because they will come up with some ridiculous comment for just about everything. Sorry, Cam, but it is just so unnecessary. Perhaps you were trying to be funny and we are all overreacting, if that’s the case, no harm done, and I apologize for misunderstanding your humor. If you meant it the way it sounded to us, just know that nitpicking is really not becoming. It proves nothing about your intelligence but actually more about your ignorance.

  • Sam

    Guys! I did this twice. On the second time, it still wasn’t really draining. But I was seeing lots of air bubbles sporadically shoot to the surface. With all that boiling standing water in the sink, I did one down-and-up with a plunger and BLAM! Cleared it right up :) But lest you think I should have tried that to begin with, I did. In fact, I had plunged on and off for ultimately about 20 minutes’ worth of plunging! It was only after this awesome vinegar and baking soda technique that the clog was free enough to be plunged. Thank you!

  • Really?

    Well said. There is no need for insolence, maybe an anger management class for miss puddin tame yourself.

  • Maria

    Worked great. Thanks!

  • Janet Pasco

    I am trying this now. This same greasy clog happened in my kitchen sink a couple of years ago and we couldn’t get it freed even with tons of drano. So we broke down and called a plumber and you know what he did? He plunged it for 15 minutes. That’s it, nothing else! Mine is a drain with a garbage disposal attached AND the dishwasher drains into the same drain since we “fixed” our plumbing underneath the sink. For the previous 18 years we had lived here, this never happened! So that’s much more than you may want to know.

  • cheesemonkey

    Well, nope that didn’t clean my drain. You should probably add the fact that DRANO is a BAD idea if you try this.

  • Jeremiah Buechner

    To get the stopper out, look underneath your sink. There is a screw to undo and then the stopper comes straight out. Along with all the hair that is most likely clogging it.

  • poppy

    I just tried this and with alittle plungging afterwards it unclogged my sink( that a whole bottle of Drano two days earlier didn’t unclog) !!!Our sink has been clogged for almost a week now and I was about to give up and get a plummer to fix it and then I tried this and it worked!! Amazing!!!!!!!!! No more Drano for me!!!

  • angel

    I tried baking soda by itself and it worked the first time my tub was clogged, then it got clogged again and I tried baking soda again nothing happened.then I tried baking soda with vinegar didn’t work.not saying that it won’t work some how I had a really bad clog and tried everything zep hair clog , plunger, ect.I was tempted to call a plummer. Then I had a conversation with an older lady she remind me of my mom she told me what to do. She said go buy you a gallon of bleach and pour it in the tub and wait an hour after that run some hot water for a few minutes if it doesn’t unclog repeat it until it becomes unclog. I didn’t have to use the whole gallon of bleach not even half unbelievable it worked ole home remedies I love them.I even bought a snake but didn’t have to use was right. I would say try bleach first it worked when nothing else did.Thank you wise one.

  • Terri D

    I just unclogged my bathroom sink using the baking soda/vinegar…..just had to put baking soda around the drain stopper.. I used a measuring cup with a spout…followed instructions and I WON!! Amazing how just watching the water go freely down the drain makes one feel like you just won’t the super BOWL!!!!!

  • Obvious

    No, not at all.

  • alik

    just did this to my kitchen sink and it worked perfectly…I am happy now… :)

  • carol johnson

    This amazing little concoction really does the job and cheaper than drano or a plumber

  • Dope*L!ght$kinNigg@

    so basically u this stuff doesnt work that great

  • Dope*L!ght$kinNigg@

    i was going to use this recipe until it said use 1gal of boiling water i’m not about to boil 5 gallons of water for each tub and sink

  • Christy

    i was looking for an alternative to Drano and other harsh chemicals to unclog our two daughter shower/bathtub drain (they both have TONS of long hair) this worked like a charm! Did two rounds to get it really good.

  • Dora Nelson

    I recently have a lot of problems with my kitchen pipes. Will it work for kitchen sink, because I don’t want to buy another full of chemicals detergent? I’m definitely trying it right this weekend. Thanks for the idea.

    Dora Nelson

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  • Debra

    I agree. Some people are just looking for someone to attack. I would rather like to focus more on Lisa’s encouraging another and thanking them for taking the time to post, which in turn helped her with a problem.
    That is what I got from her comment even though all of the words are not there. I think most of us knew what Lisa meant without an essay.

  • Offbeat Minds

    I just did this on a kitchen sink. Took two applications but worked perfectly. Though I did use natural apple cider vinegar because it’s more potent. ; )

  • Scott

    I just tried this on a really slow bathroom sink. It took two times, but it worked!!!!

  • Miguel Bermudez

    It worked for me! Thanks!

  • anastasi5

    What about PVC pipes? Would they be OK with this recipe?

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  • Mudd

    Ass pudding sounds gross

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  • Boemar DrainFX

    DRAIN-FX is by far the
    most effective, environmentally-friendly DIY drain cleaning solution available
    on the market today and is a leading & unique alternative to using damaging
    chemicals. We received a 4/5 rating from
    Consumer Reports.Take a look for yourself.

  • angelique fortin

    Every one face once in the life time troublesome stoppage. I am not saying this is bad way but some times it is better to ask an Professional Plumber.

  • Kimberly

    Umm… I thought baking soda and vinegar cancel each other out being that you’re mixing a base with an acid.

  • Amar Savla

    I used 1/2 cup of Baking soda, 1/2 cup of vinegar (any cheap vinegar) waited couple of minutes and and then used a gallon of boiling water. The sink was completely unclogged. This formula works amazingly wonder.

  • Jack

    I used Drain-FX … it’s pretty cool. Hooked it up to my sinks faucet and it blasted away the clog. I heard about it on Gary Sullivan’s show and it worked just like it said. Eco-friendly & re-usuable..I’m all over that. I bought it at

  • Tonya Colvin

    I just bought my first home so needless to say money is TIGHT!!!!!!!! I was having issues with one toilet and was super stressed about possibly having to call a plumber. I have NO extra money right now so I was almost in tears. I tried your suggestion and “POOF” it worked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tears of joy right now. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • burkosc

    Include Dawn dish soap & hydrogen peroxide, maybe a little vin & bak soda.. As a
    prevenative maintenance , every few months , if stoppage its too late. Then contact Burko Services — …. Vic Gen & Plbg Contr L A area

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  • msueh

    “waiting for boyfriend”: sounds like “husband material” ;-p