Baking Soda & Vinegar: The Best Home Remedy for Smelly Drains

cleaning with baking soda and lemon

Have you noticed smelly odors coming from your sink drains? There’s a good chance it’s due to bacteria chowing down on whatever crud has accumulated down there. Grease, food residue, soap particles, and other lingering gunk build up in your kitchen sink drain or your bathroom sink or shower drains, developing unpleasant smells over time. When you catch wind of a smelly odor, it’s time to break out the good stuff to get rid of it!

No, we don’t mean a chemical drain cleaner. Rather than reaching for harsh chemicals, consider using two everyday household items to freshen up smelly drains: baking soda and vinegar. 

As your local Brevard plumbing experts, we’ve broken down this super-easy homemade drain cleaning remedy for your kitchen or bathroom sink smell. Let’s take a look!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need the following tools to tackle your buildup. Don’t worry; none of these items are expensive or difficult to find – that’s the best part of using things that you can find at home! The primary ingredients are used in household cleaning, laundry room cleaning, cooking, dishwasher smell removal, and other everyday tasks.

Your checklist includes:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Boiling water
  • Measuring cups
  • A rag or drain stopper

Step 2: Clear the Drain

You’ll need to keep drains clean while you’re using this home remedy – plus, it never hurts to remove food particles and hair clumps from the bottom of the sink. After all, other debris in the drain catch is one of the most common causes of stinky drains.

vinegar and baking soda sink
put baking soda in drain

Step 3: Pour in Baking Soda

Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain. Slowly pour half out at once and wait for it to settle into your smelly kitchen sink; then, pour in the rest.

Step 4: Add Vinegar

Measure out 1/2 cup of vinegar and pour it in as well. Immediately cover the drain with a rag or drain stopper. As the two materials react, you’ll hear some fizzing and bubbling. This is the sound of your mixture working its magic on those foul odors!

Step 5: Wait

Let the mixture sit in the drain for 10-15 minutes. This will give it time to break down whatever is causing the stinky drain smell: .

Step 6: Rinse with Boiling Water

Remove the rag or drain stopper and carefully pour boiling water down the drain. Not only is this a great way to clear out blockages and flush out any remaining debris, but this will also help to kill bacteria.

sink drain with water

Tips and Tricks for a Smelly Drain

  • To get rid of a foul odor that keeps coming back, try pouring boiling water down your drain once a week or using baking soda and white vinegar as a preventative measure. Lemon juice can also freshen up your sink! 
  • If you have a garbage disposal, you can clear out sticky food debris and mold by with this trick, too. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes before you run hot water down the pipes.
  • Be cautious when treating drain issues or trying to get rid of a nasty smell coming from the p-trap, especially if you have PVC p-traps (the curved portion of piping). Hot water can soften PVC and cause it to warp or break. Pour cold water down the drain if you’re worried about your pipes.

Using home remedies and natural methods of cleaning, like vinegar and baking soda, is an effective and eco-friendly way to clean a smelly drain. You’ll never have to worry about permanent pipe damage from harsh chemicals. Almost everyone has these supplies stocked at their house – and it’s all relatively cheap! 

With a few simple steps, you can say goodbye to that unpleasant odor and hello to a fresh-smelling sink or shower.

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