It is a known fact that blocked toilets create a lot of inconveniences. It becomes even more frustrating and annoying when you don’t have a plunger to clear this mess. What to do in this kind of situation?
When you can’t find a plunger or an auger, you can unclog the toilet with kitchen chemicals i.e. baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda and vinegar are natural chemicals that react to form carbon dioxide, water, and pressure. This helps to clear the soft toilet blockages. To make this solution more effective, we often add hot water to the bowl.
Further, in this article, we will get to know in detail the complete procedure of unclogging a toilet with baking soda and vinegar.
Unclogging the Toilet with Baking Soda and Vinegar [4 Simple Steps]
Before we discuss this method, note that it is only effective if you have a soft stoppage. That means it won’t clear something that was accidentally flushed down the toilet such as a children’s toy or a solid phone. In case, you have a foreign object that is lodged in the toilet, this method won’t work.
Items You Need to Unclog the toilet
In this particular home remedy, you will need to grab a few items.
- A cup of baking soda and vinegar
- A Kettle full of hot water
- Gloves and Mask (optional)
Step 1: Add a cup of Baking Soda to the toilet
Start by sprinkling the baking soda directly into the toilet bowl. Pour at least one full cup of baking soda. Using more than a cup won’t hurt anything; if you want to add more, that’s just fine.
Step 2: Add a Gallon of Hot Water
Heat water a gallon of water in a kettle till it starts boiling. Then pour the water into the toilet bowl. At this step, the water and heat may dissolve the clog. However, that’s not always the case. If the water starts to drain slowly, and you see the blockage clearing, then that’s fine. Otherwise, you need to move to the next step.
Step 3: Pour two cups of vinegar into the toilet
Start pouring vinegar directly into the toilet bowl. You will notice the ingredients working together and creating a fizz. The fizzing is due to the chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda. Stop pouring if fizziness gets too high. However, it is the vigorous reaction between these two chemicals which dissolves the clogs and clears the toilet.
Step 4: Leave the Vinegar & Baking Soda Mixture
Allow the ingredients to work by letting them sit for about 2 hours. This passing time also allows the chemical reaction to complete. However, in some cases, you start to see results in a few minutes.
Once you see that the water level starts dropping, flush the toilet twice or thrice. The pressure will force the clog to drain out.
How do Vinegar and Baking Soda Dissolve Clogs?
Baking soda and vinegar are a terrific duo for cleaning out grit, filth and opening toilet clogs. This is because each material has its unique cleansing capabilities.
Baking soda, our kitchen staple, is made of a naturally occurring mineral, sodium bicarbonate. Being basic in nature, it may dissolve acidic mineral deposits and organic substances such as grease.
Vinegar is also a common kitchen item. It is chemically composed of acetic acid and water. Acids are very good at dissolving various substances in them. However, acetic acid is not very strong; its dissolving power is limited. That is why it is used in conjunction with baking soda.
Now, when vinegar (acetic acid) and baking soda (sodium carbonate) react in the toilet bowl, carbon dioxide and water are produced. The reaction is vigorous and produces carbon dioxide and water. You would see the formation of bubbles in water as a result. Furthermore, a lot of pressure is produced which forces the clog to clear.
Advantages of Using Baking Soda Vinegar Duo
Now, let’s talk about a few advantages of using this chemical duo.
- Homebased Products: Both of them are home-based products and are easily found in our kitchens. Vinegar is something you use in most cooking meals.
- Cheap & Easy to find: They are an inexpensive solution to cleaning toilets.
- Non-toxic: The chemical cleaners are very strong and toxic. They may damage pipes or burn your skin. However, vinegar isn’t a strong acid but is good for clearing drains. It is soft to touch and doesn’t cause any burns on the skin.
- Pleasant Odor: Baking soda is considered to leave a good and pleasant smell. So, that’s an added benefit in addition to cleaning.
Limitations to using Baking Soda Vinegar Duo
Apart from multiple advantages, there are some limitations to the use of baking soda and vinegar.
- Slow Process: Clearing toilet blockage is a slow process, it may take hours to fully get the drain cleared.
- Repetitive Process: Sometimes, you need to use the vinegar solution multiple times to get desired results.
- Cannot Unclog all toilets: The vinegar-baking soda solution is only effective when the toilet clog is soft i.e. poop, dirt, scum. It cannot get rid of hard clogs.
Now, let’s answer some frequently asked questions by people.
What amount of vinegar and baking soda is needed to clear the toilet?
For unclogging a toilet, you may use one cup of baking soda, followed by a gallon of hot water and then two cups of vinegar. However, there is no hard and fast rule. You can also use two cups of each quantity if you want.
What kinds of Clog Can be cleared with Vinegar-Baking Soda Solution?
As we mentioned earlier, the solution of vinegar and baking soda solution can only clear soft clogs. These include the clogs from hair, flushing toilet papers, poop, dirt, calcium deposits, and scum. However, hard toilet clogs which are a result of flushing non-flushable items like toys, towels, or even a phone won’t be cleared by this method.
What alternate household chemicals be used for clearing toilets?
Apart from vinegar-baking soda, some alternate household chemicals like dish soap and bleach can also be used to unclog the toilet.
What do if the Vinegar & Baking Soda method is ineffective?
If the solution of these two quantities is not clearing the drain. Then, you need a plunger or a toilet auger to clear this hard-clogged toilet.
Unclogging is not an easy task and frankly, no one wants to get their hands dirty by doing this job. So, it is always advised not to throw any foreign objects into the bowl that may clog the toilet and create trouble for you. In case there is a natural blockage due to poop or dirt, that can be cleared by the household chemicals like vinegar and baking soda.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.