How to Clean a Toilet Drain

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Vinegar and baking soda remove gunk and odors from a toilet drain.
Vinegar and baking soda remove gunk and odors from a toilet drain. (Image: toy toilet image by Wayne Abraham from Fotolia.com)

Cleaning out a toilet drain every now and again removes and prevents clogs and unpleasant odors. This maintenance can save you money that would otherwise be spent on a plumber or other specialist. Harsh chemical toilet bowl or drain cleaners could potentially damage the bowl's surface without effectively eliminating all of the gunk and smells from the drain. Combining two household items eliminates clogs and odors from the toilet drain without damaging the toilet bowl, pipes or the environment.

Things You'll Need

  • Plunger
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Microwave oven/stove
  • Water
  • Pitcher or similar container

Turn the toilet's shut-off valve -- found under or behind the toilet -- counterclockwise until it stops. The water is turned off. Then, flush the toilet. Use a plunger, if necessary, to remove any remaining liquid from the toilet bowl.

Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the toilet drain.

Heat 2 cups of white vinegar inside a microwave oven or on a stove. The vinegar does not need to be boiling hot.

Pour the vinegar down the toilet drain. A chemical reaction occurs, and some residue from the reaction may bubble up out of the toilet drain. This is not a problem. Leave the solution bubbling in the drain for five to 10 minutes.

Fill a container, bowl or pitcher with approximately 1/2 gallon of hot (not boiling) water.

Pour the hot water down the toilet drain slowly to flush out the drain.

Inspect the toilet drain, and repeat Steps 2 through 6 if necessary. Turn the toilet's shut-off valve clockwise to turn the water back on.

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