Remember when I was all, “You crazy kids. Don’t you ever use baking soda and vinegar together in cleaning. It’s just silly. Blah blah blah.” Won’t she ever stop being so dadgum bossy omigosh?
Well, here’s a surprise.
Like everything in life, cleaning with baking soda and vinegar comes with exceptions. And that exception is cleaning drains.
When you’re cleaning your drain, you want to see a little plop plop fizz fizz. You want something else to do the dirty work. Like baking soda and vinegar. (That means scrubbing bubble monsters in French.)
Baking Soda and Vinegar TOGETHER Produce Great Cleaning Results
How to Unclog Your Drain With Baking Soda and Vinegar
In my last apartment, we had a super finicky bathtub drain. Going one week between “maintenance cleaning outs” was enough to land me in ankle-deep water before I even had a chance to shave my legs.
I sadly say that this is not a way to unclog very troublesome drains. But it is a great way to keep on top of a slow-moving drain or after you’ve used an oil/sugar scrub (which I’ve noticed tends to increase the likelihood of future clogging).
Don’t even get me started, though, on how eco friendly baking soda and vinegar drain cleaner is, compared to anything you buy at the store. And with a little bit of extra elbow grease and a plunger, you can use them to unclog the toughest drains. It just takes a while.
But here’s how you do it the easy way (before your drain becomes a clog monster):
- Pour a pot of boiling hot waterdown your drain.
- Dump in about 1/2 c.baking soda. Let that sit for a few minutes.
- Then,pour a mixture of 1 c. vinegar and 1. c very hot water down on top of the baking soda.
- Cover with a drain plug (to keep the reaction down below the drain surface) if you have one andlet it sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Flush one more timewith a pot of boiling water.
Why this works: The baking soda and hot water treatment will loosen up any grimy sludge that’s hanging out at the bottom of your drain, and the explosive chemical reaction with the vinegar will jolt it all loose. Then one final super hot-water rinse will make all the bad stuff go bye-bye.
Vinegar and Baking Soda Garbage Disposal Magic
Tossing citrus peels in your garbage disposal keeps it smelling like freshly poured sunshine, but every once in a while, when someone puts onions in there and leaves them when they’re not supposed to (ahem), you might need a little extra help.
This is where you utilize the baking soda and vinegar goodness, as well.
How to freshen and clean your garbage disposal with BS/V:
- Start by running hot water through your garbage disposal for a minute.
- Pour about 1/4 c. baking soda into the drain.
- Flip the garbage disposal on for 2 seconds, just to whirl the baking soda inside, and then leave it alone for 10-15 minutes.
- Follow with1 c. of vinegar. Watch the bubbles erupt out of your drain. (Yay!)
- Rinse through one last timewith very hot water and run your garbage disposal for 5 seconds.
Why this works: The baking soda and hot water (left in to soak for 15-20 minutes) will deodorize your drain like nobody’s business. And the vinegar volcano on top of all that will help dislodge any stuck pieces of food in the crevices, thereby releasing any potential future stinkiness.
The Baking Soda & Vinegar Issue In a Nutshell
The hard and fast rule to remember when cleaning with baking soda and vinegar:
Don’t mix baking soda and vinegar together, store them, and then expect them to work. But DO harness their explosive chemical reaction when immediate fizzy bubbles are needed to do some deep, impossible-to-reach drain scrubbing.
And I think that concludes everything we need to know about working with alkaline baking soda and acidic vinegar in cleaning.
Can you think of any other times when cleaning with baking soda and vinegar together could be useful?
P.S. In case this doesn’t work for you, another good drain cleaning option is lye. Yes, that amazing stuff used to make soap. That kind of lye. It works. Don’t ask me how I know. Just trust me on this, mmmkay?