Go onto any home improvement or home care website, and you'll see the holy grail of drain cleaning: baking soda and vinegar. Sometimes it includes salt or ice, but it will always have baking soda and vinegar followed by hot water. This magic concoction is safe and effective. Most of the time.
Yet, sometimes it just doesn't work. This can be the result of a human error or a more specific problem in the drain. If you've tried to unclog your drain and can't get the clog to budge with baking soda and vinegar, there could be a few issues at play.
The Material of the Clog Isn't the Right Type
One potential problem is that the material of the clog isn't something that responds well to the pressure and foam of baking soda and vinegar. Those ingredients work well on that biofilm gunk that can build up in a pipe, as well as on soap residue and food that may be stuck there. But if the clog is all hair, for example, or maybe your kid stuffed some small toys into the drain, the baking soda and vinegar aren't going to make those budge. The pressure created when the two are mixed might move the clog a tiny bit, but not enough to open a path for water to drain through. In this case, you need a drain cleaning company to tackle the clog and drain.
You Aren't Waiting Long Enough or Repeating the Process Enough
Sometimes the baking soda and vinegar are effective; you just have to keep repeating the whole deal. If you've used the mixture only once, try again; try up to three or four times if you're sure the clog is more along the lines of soap residue and sink pipe gunk. You should start to see more movement as you keep working on the clog. Also, you need to let the mixture sit for at least a half-hour if not more time. If the water still won't drain out, call a plumber.
There's Something Wrong Further Down the Line
It's possible that the real clog is farther down the pipe. Baking soda and vinegar work closer to the drain itself, so if there's another clog — or the original clog is farther down the line and you just didn't know — the combination won't work that well. You'll need to call a plumber or drain cleaning company that can snake the drain and bust through any clogs in the line.
There's only so much you can really do yourself. If combinations like baking soda and vinegar just don't work, don't try to dismantle your plumbing to get at the clog. Call a drain cleaning company or plumber, such as Michigan Plumbing, to have the clog taken care of professionally.