How does mixing baking soda and vinegar unclog a drain?

how does mixing baking soda and vinegar unclog a drain? what kind of reaction does it produce?

Dan B

It really doesn't itself. If you block the drain (seal it air tight), the gas pressure from the reaction will push some of the blockage out.


Do not do this; this suggestion is absurd. Sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3 (baking soda) and 5% aqueous acetic acid, CH3COOH, (vinegar water) will react to make sodium acetate, water, and CO2 gas which does not have the ability to do anything that will open a drain. Use commercial drain cleaner which contains caustic soda (NaOH) and follow label directions - wear eye protection and proper gloves.


baking soda and vinegar produces a "volcano" effect, that's what most use for volcano models. the pressure will usually force out whatever the blockage is, but you have to keep something over the drain that seals it shut and forces the pressure down the pipe, otherwise it just comes out the top and does nothing.

Bubba Gubbins

Vinegar combined with baking soda produces carbon dioxide. The expanding gas supposedly loosens and breaks apart clogs. Carbon dioxide is an inert gas, so really has no dissolving effect on foodstuffs.


It is good for clearing slow drains, but not clogged drains. The chemical reaction breaks down sludge lining the sides of the drain. If you have a full blockage, the standing water prevents the reaction from reaching the blockage.


I combine these 2 to clean my drains all the time. I do know they neutralize and deordorize. I assume the bubbling action loosens up debris that would be in a drain.


It doesn't. The fizzy combination of baking soda & vinegar is INEFFECTIVE when fighting grease clogged drains. When you look at baking soda + vinegar drain cleaning instructions you'll notice that they recommend following the baking soda/vinegar with nearly boiling water. Maybe the fun chemical reaction tricks our minds with all the bubbling, maybe companies like to sell more of their products, or maybe it is the hot water that is really doing the job. This is the real way that actually works. Mix a cup of hot water (nearly boiling) with 1 tablespoon of dish washing detergent. Pour that down the drain and you will see good results unless the clog is so bad only a plumber can remove it.