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Will Vinegar Kill Tree Roots In A Sewer Line?

By April 6, 2023April 13th, 2024Plumbing
Tree roots in your sewer lines can be killed with vinegar and additional chemicals.

Whether you are constantly unclogging your toilets or noticing a slow drain occurring in your sinks and showers, the question remains, what is causing this? Most homeowners like to troubleshoot the possibilities. However, in some cases, this isn’t possible. The issues could be deeper than what you can see. Calling on a professionally licensed plumber might be your best bet. If there are tree roots in your sewer lines, you wouldn’t know it without a sewer scope. Your next step will be to remove or kill the tree roots. Will vinegar kill tree roots in a sewer line? This would be a great start, but you will likely need to add additional chemicals to the vinegar.

Let’s take a look below at some more details regarding tree roots in your sewer lines.

What Are Some Signs That I Have Roots In The Lines?

Most homeowners will chalk up a slow drain or a clogged toilet to pour waste disposal. However, in some cases, the issue lies deeper in the pipes. Let’s take a look below at what those signs of a tree root issue are.

    • Low water pressure
    • Foul Odors from the plumbing
    • Slow-draining plumbing lines
    • Continuously dealing with a slow-running toilet
    • Thick green grass grows in patches around the tree roots

How Did The Roots Get Into My Sewer Lines?

Unfortunately, tree roots can grow into your sewer lines due to a variety of reasons. The sewer pipes could be old and damaged, or the food source to the roots could be strong. As the soil erodes and the ground shifts the pipes can become brittle and exposed to the tree roots. This makes it easy for the tree roots to seek out the nutrients inside the plumbing. Once the tree roots find access to moisture and food in the plumbing, they will head toward it and grow exponentially.

Sewer line depths vary based on where you live.

What Are Some Suggested Ways To Kill The Roots?

Believe it or not, you have options for killing tree roots in your sewer lines. Let’s take a look below at the home remedies.

    • Vinegar and Baking soda – This is a homemade root killer for sewer lines that is an eco-friendly foaming solution. Mix a cup of table salt, vinegar, and baking soda with boiling water into the toilet and flush. This foaming root killer solution will kill tree roots on contact. Keep in mind that it will take the roots a while to flush completely into the sewer line once they are dead.
    • Copper Sulfate – Use half a cup of blue crystals and flush them down your toilet. This natural herbicide tree root killer for sewer lines will kill tree roots on contact. They can be purchased at your local hardware store.
    • Rock Salt – This chemical is sodium chloride. Add this salt solution to the toilet that is located the farthest from your main sewer line. Use buckets of water to flush a handful of this salt down the plumbing Although this solution will dry out the roots, they can often grow back.
    • Hydro Jetting – Flushing water through your plumbing system at a rate of 4,000 psi can destroy tree roots.
    • Auger or Rooter – This is when mechanical equipment is used to remove the roots from your plumbing system. The machine will slice up the roots and loosen any clog that has been made. Flushing the system after you have used these machines will rinse the roots down into the main sewer line.
    • Repair or Reroute – This requires you to cut out the existing pipes and reroute them around the tree roots. Also, cutting out the damaged pipes and replacing them with newer ones is a possible solution.

How Can I Prevent Roots In My Sewer Lines?

Following the recommended maintenance above is a great start to preventing tree roots from growing into your sewer lines. However, the best preventative maintenance is to keep roots away from your plumbing pipes. Dig a small and deep hole around the tree roots system. Use PVC pipe and insert pipes that are 1 and 1/2 inches into each hole that you dig around the root system. Then pour the copper sulfate crystals into your pipes and fill them with boiling water. Cap off each pipe so that you can repeat the steps as needed.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you understand how vinegar can help kill tree roots in your sewer line you can read up on what a sewer scope inspection is. You will want to get one during your full home inspection to determine if your solutions worked to kill the tree roots.

Next, read up on how long it takes tree roots to grow into your sewer lines. This will allow you to decide how often you will want to treat your plumbing for this potential issue. Also, you can consult your local professional plumbers.

Lastly, gaining an understanding of how deep sewer lines are buried in your area will allow you to determine how deep your root-killing holes need to be dug.

A sewer scope inspection can help you determine if tree roots have grown into your sewer lines.

When Do I Call A Professional?

As soon as you see that your plumbing isn’t working properly you should call a professionally licensed master plumber. In most cases, they can determine the problem and fix it. Additionally, they have the experience to handle any plumbing situation that arises. This includes using a camera in your plumbing. Also, consider utilizing your local home inspection team to conduct a full sewer scope of your plumbing.


Finding out if there are tree roots in your plumbing is not an easy task. Before it comes to that point you should practice some preventative maintenance. Rinsing your system with rock salts, copper sulfate, or even a foaming mixture is a great idea. If you need help determining if you have roots in your plumbing, call on your local home inspection team. Reach out to  Honor Services for a sewer scope inspection during a full home Inspection In Brevard County, FL.


Michelle Shishilla

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