Nontoxic Drain Cleaner

Cure stubborn drain problems with washing soda and white vinegar.

| June/July 2014

Kitchen Sink Drain

Cure drain problems by using washing soda and vinegar.

Photo by Fotolia/hues

Washing soda and vinegar make a great nontoxic solution to clean out slow drains. If applied regularly, this treatment can keep slow-drain problems from developing into a huge mess.

First, run scalding hot water into the sink and allow it to drain fully. Pour approximately a half-cup of washing soda directly down the drain. Next, slowly pour about 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain, allowing the washing soda to bubble up. Add a little more vinegar until the washing soda has completely dissolved and you don’t hear any more fizzing coming from the pipes. Flush the drain again with hot water, and plunge as needed to disperse any gunk dislodged by the treatment.

Repeat this procedure once a month and you’ll never need toxic drain cleaners again.

Theresa Sinclair
Johnson, Vermont

7/15/2017 10:53:37 AM

What they do not tell you is that washing Soda is the other name for Sodium Carbonate. It is used in water systems. You can get large bulk bags or buckets online, at hardware stores or even at pool shops.

7/14/2017 9:51:11 PM

Shamrock Lady Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is laundry additive available in the detergent aisle of Walmart & other stores. It can also be used along with 20 Mule Team Borax and shredded bar laundry soap (homemade lye soap or Fels Naptha bar soap), both available in the detergent aisle. You can add baking soda to remove odors from laundry. The recipe is available from Mother Earth News.

7/14/2017 6:08:25 PM

I never heard of washing soda. Do you mean Baking Soda?

6/30/2015 2:48:02 PM

I've been looking for a drain cleaner that I can use around my growing family. I'll have to try using washing soap and a vinegar mixture to clear up my drains. That sounds like it might just work, and it isn't toxic which is a big plus for me. Thanks for the great idea.

donna brown
6/6/2014 7:24:35 AM

I've used this method of cleaning drains since the late 1970s. I have never bought a caustic drain cleaner as this always works! One thing I might add, is that I put the plug over the drain while the baking soda and vinegar are doing their thing. The fizzing releases carbon dioxide and with the plug on the drain, the pressure from the chemical reaction pushes debris past the drain trap.

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