Use Baking Soda as a Natural Way to Unclog Drains - The Happy Housewife™ :: Home Management

Use Baking Soda as a Natural Way to Unclog Drains

Do your drains get clogged? Mine do. I found that clogged drains were especially bad in rental houses because people would move in and out so often no one worried about a slow drain.

Sinking Feeling

While I have used the industrial stuff to unclog my drains I’ve found a natural method that works really well. Not only will it not poison your children you probably have these supplies around your home so you won’t need to run out to the store.

Here’s how you unclog a drain naturally.


  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Plug
  • Hot Water

Pour about a cup of baking soda down the clogged drain. Then pour about 3/4 cup of vinegar down the drain. Plug or cover the drain.

Wait 30 minutes.

This is the part where people go wrong and then complain it doesn’t work. You must wait 30 minutes before the next step to allow the baking soda and vinegar to work together to break up the clog.

After 30 minutes slowly pour about a 1/2 gallon of boiling water down your drain. The water must be boiling, not hot so make sure your kids are a safe distance away while unclogging the drain.

It usually works the first time, but if not you can repeat.

Do you have a creative use for baking soda? Share it in the comments and be entered to win a $25 gift card! Even if you don’t have a creative use leave a comment and you’ll be entered! Giveaway ends October 3, 2011.

This is a sponsored post for Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the maker of ARM & HAMMER branded products, who is compensating me to try different products. Save $1.00 Off one 12lb or 13.5lb A&H Baking Soda Product. And be sure to visit The Switch & Save Challenge to tap into more resources andenter to win $25,000.

Photo credit: leosaumurejr

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.


  1. I have used Arm & Hammer baking soda to clean crayon marks off the wall. My daughter “decorated” our walls recently.

  2. I use baking soda to shine my stainless steel sink. I sprinkle a little add a few drops of dawn and scrub then rinse. It does a great job shining things up.

  3. Brooke Lewis says:

    I LOVE baking soda!! Sprinkle over baked on grossness on pots and pans. Wet the item then cover with arm and hammer baking soda and wait about 30 mins ~you can see it lifted away!!! They will then clean to a sparkle easily….or even clean off old cookie sheets etc. Its addicting LOL

  4. I use a similar method for my cake business. Im forever getting food coloring gel on the counter or table. It doesnt always come out easy if it dries so I make a past with baking soda and vinegar and scrub it with an old toothbrush and it comes right out. Ive also done this when I get food color gel on my clothes. Works great!

  5. I use baking soda in cleaning my house and use super washing soda for making my laundry detergent. I use it to saok up smells in my fridge. I am going to try your recipe for unclogging the next clogged drain that I have!

  6. I like to use baking soda to scrub the build up off of my bathroom sinks – it’s amazing!

  7. I use it as a facial scrub. Works really well!

  8. I use 3 main ingredients to clean and sanitize my house: baking soda, vinegar, and tea tree oil.
    These ingredients clean soap scum off my tub, sanitize my toilet, clean my floors, and deodorize my carpets, as well as many other things. Thanks for the extended advice on how long to let the mixture set to unclog a drain. I’m guilty of jumping the gun on these things. Vinegar works better when It has more time to set on a surface. I thought it (vinegar)was worthless to clean soap scum off a rental house bathtub but patience made it wipe right off better than any harsh cleanser. Add the tea tree oil and fungi are gone too.

  9. I like to use baking soda to clean my stainless steel kitchen sink . Next time I use the baking soda and vinegar on my drains I will leave it for 30 min like you said. I have only let it sit for ten minutes and have had to repeat the process several times… thanks for the tip!

  10. I do not have a creative use for baking soda, but I’m glad to read those that have been posted! Thanks 🙂

  11. I found a recipe online to mix it with some dishsoap until it has the consistency of frosting. Then I use it for soft scrub. It doesn’t work quite as fast as the real stuff, but it doesn’t irritate my hands. Plus I feel better about my baby sitting in the tub after I finish cleaning it.

  12. That’s how I do it as well.

  13. I use b soda as a clarifier for my hair. I hope your giveaway end date is incorrect :-).

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      Yes it is… WP is acting wonky for me lately and going back to autosaved versions of posts…. I’ve corrected the date (hopefully).

  14. My first daughter, who is now 18, was breast fed and she would spit up all over our clothing. The “only” item that worked to remove the stains was Arm and Hammer Baking Soda. 1 cup baking soda and your normal liquid laundry soap (must be liquid). At the time I used Dreft and baking soda.

    I still use this combination for our wash, five kids later 🙂 !

  15. I use it for cleaning my teeth at least twice at week. It does help whittening them and freshen my breath.

  16. Erica Mangum says:

    I also have used it in my hair, after I dye it if it goes alittle to dark, I mix it with my shampoo, for about a week, and it lightens aliitle!

  17. I’ve used baking soda to clean my sink and clear clogged drains. Works great for both!

  18. I have used baking soda to clean the bathtub…. its a natural scrubber, and doesn’t smell like so many cleaners do! Just wet down the tub, and then sprinkle on the baking soda, and then scrub away.

  19. I’ve also used the Baking Soda/Vinegar method for cleaning out a slow drain. I now send my magic ingredients down the drain once a month to help get rid of any build-up and hopefully keep it from clogging up. It works so well.

    The only other thing it has been used for in our house is shampoo, but I’m thinking about trying it in place of toothpaste.

  20. I use baking soda when i forget to flip the laundry over and my clothes well…don’t smell so well in the morning.

    I just use about a cup of baking soda with my regular detergent and run the load again…most of the time right as rain!!! 🙂

  21. This is excellent maintenance for your drains as well 🙂 We do this periodically to keep the drains sanitized and to prevent clogs from forming 🙂 My kids love to help pour in the baking soda and vinegar so they can watch the “volcano” 😉

  22. I use baking soda to make fruit and veggie wash I found here:

  23. Yup, I tried this once, and you are correct, I didn’t wait 30 minutes OR use boiling water.. my bad, but now I know! THanks!
    The only thing I use baking soda for, other than baking, is cleaning my coffee pot – it said to in the manual. 🙂

  24. I’m pretty sure this was the process I used when my Mom and I learned the lesson that a disposal doesn’t handle Thanksgiving quantities of potato peels well all at once 🙂 It worked.

  25. I have done this before….not because I read that it worked, but just because I thought it made sense…I didn’t do the boiling water part…I bet that really helps!

  26. I have used baking soda to clear a drain – worked great! and tons cheaper than draino! I have also used baking soda to clean my stove,

  27. I use baking soda all the time! One use isI sprinkle it on my braided rug when it starts to smell old, which it is, at night. I vacuum it up in the morning and that old rug is refreshed! I also love to put some essential oil, lavendar or lemon are my favs, on a cotton ball and drop it in my vacuum bag!

  28. I use baking soda and lemon juice to clean pots and pans that can’t be scoured with a Brillo pad.

  29. Angie K. Longmore says:

    I use baking soda on my kitchen sink drains and rinse it down with vinegar, it does this really neat bubbling volcano like thing and it seems to clean and deodorize at the same time.

  30. I’ve seen friends use a paste of baking soda and water to treat big pimples. Haven’t tried that, myself, but they swear by it!

  31. I use about a half a cup in the bathtub for my kids when their eczema acts up or when the baby gets diaper rash. It soothes both rashes quickly. I also use it for unclogging drains and laundry too.

  32. I use baking soda on my flat top stove when some thing boils over or gets burned on. I spray it with simple green then sprinkle on the baking soda. Let it sit for a few minutes and the cooked on grime usually comes right off.

  33. What a great tip! I love to use baking soda! For a clean and fresh disposal use baking soda, 1/4 of a lemon and hot water! Works every time!

  34. I use baking soda everywhere to clean, even to brush our teeth ! I know that using baking soda as a cleaning agents help my children from not inhaling harmful chemicals that agrivate their asthma.

  35. when i am done with the baking soda in the refrig i pour it down the drain with warm water it cleans the drain and helps prevent clogs to begin with.

  36. I don’t have any fantastic new idea for baking soda, but would love to win. 🙂 (I do try to usually keep a box in the fridge and/or freezer though. Then I rotate it out by using it on my drains and when the box is empty, replace with a fresh one.)

  37. I use it in my fridge when something smells bad.

  38. Heather S. says:

    I have only used it for baking, but can’t wait to try it on my bathtub – it clogs a lot and we use a lot of draino or bleach. This would be a much better method!

  39. I use baking soda and vinegar a lot!! Love it in my drains but also love using it to clean my toilets. Gets the job done without harsh chemicals and at a great price.

  40. My great-grandmother and grandmother were the ones who taught me the joys of baking soda. One little trick my great-grandmother would use was to do a paste of lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar and scrub tarnished silver. It works a little slower than commercial cleaners but is much more earth-friendly! Go green! Not to mention it smells better!

    Please let us know who wins the contest so we can congratulate them!

  41. Krista Pettengill says:

    I use baking soda to get the funky smell out of my cloth diapers. I wash them with homemade laundry soap and then another round with 1/2 cup baking soda. It makes the diapers smell nice and fresh again 🙂

  42. I use it to scrub the hard water spots off the shower walls and floor. Works even better than Soft Scrub.

  43. Thanks for the awesome use for baking soda.

  44. Heather Boyle says:

    Not a creative way but we use baking soda for some homemade cleaning supplies.

  45. Baking soda cleans my oven, and also baked on foods off my dishes – it makes my life worth living – or at least pizza worth baking 🙂

  46. Sheryl Lee says:

    I add Baking Soda to the cats’ liter box to freshen it and help the cat liter go farther! Also, we sprinkle inside stinky tennis shoes to absorb odors. When we had a dog and battled doggy odors in the rugs, I sprinkled with baking soda and then vacuumed it up for instant freshener and much cheaper than carpet fresh!

  47. I use it as a paste to clean my crock pot! Comes off SO EASY!!

  48. We add baking soda to a baby/toddler’s bath when he/she has a rash from acidic foods. Seems to give some comfort. I also use it in our homemade deodorant and toothpaste.

  49. I put baking soda in my sons bath when he has a rash. Helps sooth the irritation.

  50. I use baking soda in cooking mainly, but I also use it to help scrub my pots and pans and I sprinkle it on my carpet after a pet or child has an accident to help get rid of the smell and wetness.

  51. I am a college student and love to read your blog because I am learning all sorts of helpful hints related to cooking and cleaning. I knew that baking soda could be used as part of a cleaning solution and am finding your article on unclogging drains and all the comments that follow it, so helpful. I will definitely use this next time I have to unclog a drain in my apartment or future house as opposed to store-bought chemical solutions, which usually smell awful. Thanks!

  52. Candra Gantt says:

    I have used Baking soda to help clean up from pet messes. I would spray the spot with vinager and then sprinkle the spot with baking soda to help with the moisture and the smell. It works great.
    I have also used it in my daughters hair when she has come home from the pool with green hair. I would wash her hair and then put BS in her hair let it sit for a few minutes and it would take the green out.

  53. I wash my hair with it! Works great and it’s super cheap.

  54. I love baking soda for freshening carpets and refreshing the frig.

  55. I love baking soda and use it all over my house. In the frig to absorb bad odors. In the shower, as a scrub cleaner. To clean the sink. In my deorerant and tooth paste. Pots and pans to get stubborn stains and to shine them up. Smooth top stove.

  56. Anne Aylor says:

    What great ideas! We’ve used several but am excited about some new ones here. We also use baking soda on insect bites. It takes the “sting” out of the bite (not the kind you need tweezers for, but the kind that hurts! LOL) and seems to heal quicker.

  57. Amomto4sweeties says:

    Not very creative, but I use it to clean my pots and pans. Works every time!

  58. I buy the big, ginormous bag of baking soda at Sam’s Club and use it for everything from making my own laundry detergent and deodorant, to mixing it with vodka for an amazing fabric/upholstery refresher, to erupting a volcano with my 4-year-old. It’s uses are endless! Love the stuff!!

    • Lori Morgan says:

      can you explain the Vodka, Baking Soda method for fabric/upholstery? Please thank you

  59. Cleaning and deodorizing just about everything 🙂

  60. We use Arm and Hammer baking soda to make a paste for bee stings. It works great!!

  61. I’m surprised to see no one’s mentioned this yet, but equal parts baking soda and table salt, followed by a kettle of boiling water, has always unclogged most drains for me.