How to Naturally Clean a Smelly Drain

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Ingredients needed to clean your drain.
Image Credit: Michele Andersen

The odor from a dirty drain can permeate throughout your entire house. Bacteria grows on food that is stuck deep in the drain, creating a bad smell. A simple, non-toxic weekly or bi-weekly cleaning method will keep your sink drain fresh and free of odors. Using natural cleaning products is a great way to keep your house clean and fresh while keeping your family safe and healthy.


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Things You'll Need

  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Old rag
  • 1 lemon (optional)
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Step 1

Clear the sink of all dishes.
Image Credit: Michele Andersen

Clear the sink of all dishes and pieces of food.

Step 2

Pour baking soda down the drain.
Image Credit: Michele Andersen

Pour dry baking soda down the drain.

Step 3

Pour white vinegar down the drain.
Image Credit: Michele Andersen

Follow with white vinegar and immediately plug the drain with an old rag.

Step 4

Plug the drain with a rag.
Image Credit: Michele Andersen

The reaction between the baking soda and vinegar creates a small bubbling volcano effect, which you want to keep down in the pipe. This is why you want to plug it with a rag. Allow it to work for about 30 minutes.


Step 5

Pour hot water down the drain.
Image Credit: Michele Andersen

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, remove the rag and pour the water down the drain.

Step 6

Grind ice cubes in the disposal.
Image Credit: Michele Andersen

If you have a garbage disposal, grind up several ice cubes, to dislodge pieces of food that may be stuck on the blades.

Step 7

Image Credit: Michele Andersen

Finish off by grinding a few slices of lemon to freshen the drain.


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Flush only liquids and gray water -- water from washing dishes and clothes, and from bathing -- down household drains. Throw food scraps in the trash or into a compost bin.

More Ways to Clean With Baking Soda

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Check out these other clever ways to clean your home using baking soda, from scrubbing stainless steel appliances to deodorizing your mattress. Genius!