Can Vinegar and Boiling Water Clear Clogged Sink Drains?

Next time your sink drain becomes clogged, you can try to remove the clog yourself with common household items instead of running to the store to purchase a drain cleaner or calling a plumber. Vinegar works to dissolve clogs while baking soda and boiling water make it more effective. Removing the clog naturally will save you money and help to protect the environment from the hazardous chemicals found in most commercial drain cleaners.

Clear clogged sink drains with vinegar and boiling water.


Since vinegar and baking soda do not cost a lot of money, people prefer to use it compared to expensive commercial cleaners. Vinegar is nontoxic and does not harm the environment. Vinegar itself will not clear clogs completely, but combining it with baking soda creates a chemical reaction that creates carbon dioxide, which works to dislodge clogs. After the reaction occurs, boiling water flushes the clog from the sink. The process may need performed two to three times to remove the clog successfully.


Before you use vinegar and baking soda to remove a clog, a plunger may fix the problem without the use of other ingredients. Place a washcloth into the overflow opening of single bowl sink or plug the unclogged sink drain in a double bowl sink to ensure that the plunger is effective. Fill the sink with 1 inch to 2 inches of water to ensure that the plunger seals over the drain. Once the plunger rests over the sink drain, press up and down on it vigorously for one to two minutes or until the clog dislodges. The clog may need removed from the cleanout plug, according to The University of Florida Extension Office. The cleanout plug is a a U-shape on the pipe under the sink and can be removed with an adjustable wrench. Use a wire to clean the clog out of the pipe if it remains after you use the plunger.

White Vinegar and Baking Soda

If the clog remains, then use vinegar and baking soda to unclog the sink drain. Remove all items from around the sink drain. If excess water remains in the sink, scoop it out and dispose of it. Before you treat the clog, dry the area around the sink drain. Fill a measuring cup with 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour it into the sink drain carefully. After you pour the baking soda into the drain, pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar down into it to create a reaction. Plug the sink with a sink stopper or washcloth. The vinegar will foam as the mixture releases carbon dioxide. Allow the mixture to continue to foam for five to 10 minutes.

Boiling Water

While the vinegar and baking soda react, bring 1 gallon of water to a boil in a tea kettle and pour it down into the sink drain. If you do not have vinegar and baking soda, you can still use the boiling water to help dislodge the clog, but it will not be as effective. Once the water comes to a full boil, carry it to the sink carefully to avoid burning yourself. Pour the water down into the sink drain slowly to release the clog. Repeat the process two to three times to dislodge the clog. Remove the excess standing water from the sink each time until the sink drains.

Angela LaFollette

Angela LaFollette

Angela LaFollette was born in raised in West Virginia, but she currently resides with her husband and children in Minnesota. She is food freelance writer and blogger as well as a full-time stay at home mother. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University. Angela's work has appeared on many online publications like Yahoo!, eHow, and Leaf Group.