A toilet clog usually happens when you least expect it. If you discover that your toilet is clogged and the plunger or toilet auger is not on-site, you can try using baking soda to unclog the toilet. Unlike a plunger or toilet auger, this method may take some time to function. Hence, you will have to be a little patient and wait at least 2 hours for the reaction between baking soda and vinegar to do its work. Things you need are:
- 1 cup (240 mL) of baking soda
- 1 gallon (3.8 L) of boiling water
- 2 cups (470 mL) of white or apple cider vinegar
- Rubber hand gloves
- A bucket for hot water
Do baking soda and vinegar really work to unclog a toilet?
|Doesn’t work if the toilet is clogged by…
|Works if the toilet is clogged by…
9 Steps to Solve: How to Unclog a Toilet with Baking Soda?
You can apply different methods to unclog the toilet but using baking soda is one of the simplest options, as it is stored in every house. Here’s the procedure you need to follow:
Step 1: Examine the extent of the clog
Never rush to add any amount of baking soda to your toilet bowl before examining the extent of the clog. If the blockage is severe, you will have to use more baking soda than when the clog is not severe. Make sure to use the same amount of vinegar and baking soda.
Step 2: Check the water level in the bowl
Next, you should adjust the level of water in the bowl. The water should not be too low or too high. A high water level in the bowl can cause a bomb that will find its way to your toilet surface. This will create a mess. And if the water is shallow, it will make the reaction to be ineffective. Therefore, you should add water to the bowl until it’s halfway. If there is excess water, scoop some water until it remains halfway.
Step 3: Pour baking soda into the bowl.
When you’re sure that you have the right amount of water in the bowl, add one cup of baking soda. After pouring, let it sit for five minutes to see if it loosens the toilet clog. The quantity of baking soda you add to the toilet bowl depends on the gravity of the clog. If the clog is not severe, you can add half a cup of baking soda.
Step 4: Pour hot water into the bowl.
After pouring baking soda into the toilet bowl, you can boil around a gallon of water and pour it into the toilet. The hot or boiling water will help create pressure, and together with the baking soda, they can loosen the blockage. If you hear the water moving or some suction, this is good news, as it will be a sign that the clog is breaking down.
But if this doesn’t work, you should move on to the next step. Note that you should apply the next step if the toilet’s water float level is still low. If it’s high, you will have to reduce the water before adding vinegar.
Step 5: Add white or apple cider vinegar.
If baking soda and boiling water don’t work, you should try adding vinegar. As stated above, ensure that the bowl’s water level is not high, as you will create a mess on your bathroom floor. After reducing the water level, you should pour one cup of vinegar. You can add apple cider or white vinegar.
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Add vinegar slowly and not suddenly. You don’t want to create a sudden “bomb” that makes a mess in your toilet and bathroom. Add vinegar slowly until you feel that it’s enough. If the fizzing is too much, stop adding vinegar. You can as well as wait for the fizz to subside before adding more.
Step 6: Allow the reaction to take place
A stubborn clog can stop your toilet from running. As we said in the beginning, this process needs patience. After mixing baking soda and vinegar, you will have to wait for at least 2 hours or overnight for the reaction to occur. After 2 hours or in the morning, you can check and find out if the reaction worked.
Step 7: Flush the toilet.
Next, try and flush the toilet and see if the clog is cleared. If it does not clear, your problem is solved. But if it fails to clear, you will have to repeat the same procedure. Give the toilet two flushes before attempting to repeat the process.
Step 8: Repeat the procedure if needed
When you flush the toilet twice, and the clog doesn’t go away, you should repeat the procedure once more to fix the clogged toilet. This time, try increasing the amount of vinegar and baking soda to create a perfect bomb. However, you should ensure that the water level is in the middle of the bowl and not lower or higher.
When to call a plumber?
If the second attempt fails, you should try other methods, such as using a plunger, toilet auger, plumbing snake, or even calling a professional plumber. Maybe the issue is with the sewerage system and beyond your skills.
Why is baking soda used to unclog toilets?
Also acknowledged as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is a common ingredient in households. The ingredient is used to unclog the toilet because of its exceptional chemical properties. This white powdery substance is alkali in nature and naturally dissolves oils.
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Since baking soda has an extreme chemical reaction to acidic compounds, it’s ideal for unclogging a toilet. When you mix baking soda and acid, they produce carbon dioxide gas. That’s why you see a “volcanic” fizzing reaction when you mix baking soda and vinegar.
So, when these two substances are mixed in your clogged toilet, the carbon dioxide gas produced helps create pressure naturally. As a result, the fizzing reaction causes the blockage to come apart and loosen.
With these steps, unclogging your toilet using baking soda and vinegar is seamless. Repeat the procedure if it doesn’t work the first time. And if it fails to work ultimately, look for a plunger or use a toilet auger. If they fail you, too, consider contacting a professional plumber to help you out. Using too much toilet paper can clog your running toilet. However, you should use soft toilet paper that can be dissolved quickly. You should also maintain acceptable toilet practices to avoid clogging your toilet unnecessarily.
Hi, this is Robert Crossan, the owner of this website, has 17 years of experience in the installation, maintenance, and repair of toilets and plumbing systems. After completing the Level 2 Basic Plumbing course in 2005, I started working in both domestic and commercial buildings as a professional plumber. So I can figure out the core difference between different toilet models and brands. It also helped me monitor their work performance and setbacks.