Top 5 Reasons Why Vinegar & Baking Soda Won’t Help Your Drains

You’ve probably seen the advice all over the internet: a simple mix of vinegar and baking soda can magically clear your clogged drain. It sounds like a win-win – it’s cheap, natural, and something you likely already have in your kitchen. Before you grab that bottle of vinegar and box of baking soda, let’s delve into why this popular DIY solution might not be the best choice for your plumbing.

The Science Behind the Fizz

When you combine vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (a base), you get an fizzing reaction. This is because the two substances neutralize each other, creating carbon dioxide gas and water. While the fizz looks impressive and might make you think it’s doing the trick, it’s not actually breaking down the clog in your drain in any meaningful way and in fact is doing more harm than good.

1. Limited Power Against Stubborn Clogs

The bubbling action might help dislodge some small surface debris, but it’s not powerful enough to tackle a more severe blockage. Hair, grease, soap scum, and food particles often require a more robust solution. The reaction between vinegar and baking soda won’t generate enough force to push these stubborn substances through the drain.

2. Risk of Pipe Damage

Repeated use of vinegar (which is acidic), can wear away at the pipes, especially if they are older. Over time, this can lead to corrosion, weakening your plumbing system and potentially causing leaks or severe breakages. What seems like a harmless solution could end up creating a bigger and more expensive problem.

3. Temporary Fix, Long-Term Problem

Even if the vinegar and baking soda method appears to work, it usually only provides a temporary fix. The chemical reaction might push the blockage further down the pipe, where it can accumulate with debris and cause an even worse blockage. This will likely cause more frequent and severe blockages

4. Ineffective Chemical Reaction

The reaction between vinegar and baking soda is a neutralisation reaction that produces carbon dioxide and water. While this creates fizzing and bubbling, it doesn’t generate the necessary force to break down serious clogs. The end products of this reaction don’t contribute to unclogging the drain, making the whole process largely ineffective.

5. It’s Messy

Using vinegar and baking soda can sometimes result in a messy overflow if the reaction becomes too vigorous. This can lead to spills that you’ll need to clean up, potentially causing damage to the surrounding areas or worsening the blockage by pushing debris deeper into the drain.
Better Alternatives for a Clear Drain

Given these potential pitfalls, what should you do instead? Here are a few more effective and safer methods for dealing with clogged drains:

1. Plunger

A good old-fashioned plunger can often do wonders for clearing blockages. It uses suction and pressure to dislodge debris and push it through the pipes.

2. Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake, or auger, is a more direct approach. It’s designed to reach deep into the pipes and break up or pull out the clog.

3. Professional Drain Cleaners

There are chemical drain cleaners specifically designed to tackle tough clogs. While they should be used sparingly and according to instructions to avoid damage to pipes, they can be more effective than vinegar and baking soda.

4. Call us Today!

We understand that sometimes a blocked drain can’t be tackled using DIY solutions and sometimes you need expert assistance. We’re available 24/7, 365 days a year to help property owners across England. We’ll be able to clear your drains quickly, efficiently and certainly not cause potential damage like vinegar and baking soda!


While vinegar and baking soda are hailed as a miracle solution for clogged drains, the reality is far less impressive. Their limited effectiveness, potential to damage pipes, and tendency to provide only temporary relief make them a less-than-ideal choice for keeping your drains clear. Instead, opt for methods that are proven to work, and don’t hesitate to call us for professional assistance. Your plumbing will thank you in the long run!