Can baking soda clog a drain?

In this brief article, we’ll address the query “Can baking soda clog a drain?” Also, we’ll explore how baking soda can clog a drain, how to unclog a drain, and what precautions one should take when handling drain cleaners. 

Can baking soda clog a drain?

Yes, baking soda can clog a drain or worsen a clog. If poured into the drain by itself, it may sediment and harden, or if it is mixed with vinegar to create a fizzing effect. 

Many people resort to doing the latter to unclog drains, as the reaction between baking soda and vinegar forms carbonic acid. Though this acid is very weak and short-lived and the results of a second reaction in which it decomposes, are carbon dioxide and water.

However, when baking soda and vinegar are mixed with hot water, the reaction does seem to have a cleansing effect on clogged drains. Although many attribute this to the increased solubility conveyed by the hot water’s temperature. 

How can baking soda clog a drain? 

Leftover baking soda from the reaction (or several reactions, if the desired effect hasn’t been achieved) used to unclog a drain may build up in the pipes, especially if the baking soda and vinegar weren’t combined with the effect of hot water. 

The hot water is necessary because it creates pressure in the plumbing, which will force the clog to disintegrate. However, this method does not guarantee the disintegration of clogs held together by grease (such as cooking oils, fats, etc). 

All in all, the baking soda from this method may worsen the clog, and using both baking soda and vinegar to not achieve the desired effect constitutes a waste of these products.

How can I unclog a drain? 

There are many ways to unclog a drain, and there are many commercial products specially designed to break up clogs in drains that vary in strength. 

Commercial products may not be a user’s first choice for varying reasons, such as not being keen on using potentially hazardous chemicals, or not wishing to risk caustic burns or inhalation of fumes. 

Mild clogs can be removed with baking soda and vinegar by following these next few outlines: 

  • Hot water should first be poured down the drain. This can be done by pouring boiling water from a kettle into the sink basin, or by letting the hottest water from the tap run for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Next, a cup of baking soda, mixed with one cup of water and one cup of vinegar should be poured down the drain.
  • The drain should be covered with a plug or plastic sealing to build up pressure inside the plumbing, and left sealed for 5 to 10 minutes while the vinegar and baking soda effervesce.
  • Once the time has elapsed, another round of boiling water should be poured down the drain to flush away the grime the baking soda and vinegar will have loosened up.

Tougher clogs may require the use of high-strength, abrasive cleaners, which should be used per the printed instructions. 

Commonly found ingredients in high-strength commercial drain cleaners are sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide. When activated, these two compounds have an exothermic reaction (they release heat) that dissolves clogs made up of various substances. 

However, one should only resort to using strong drain cleaners when necessary, as their casual, constant usage may have damaging effects on plumbing. This may lead to professional repairs being necessary down the line. 

Alternatively, readers may consult and engage the services of a professional plumber, who will readily resolve the obstruction and provide maintenance to the plumbing. 

What precautions should I take when handling drain cleaners? 

The following precautions should be taken when handling drain cleaners. 

As drain cleaners are often formulated with strong abrasive chemicals, one should always read the instructions on the label and follow them closely.  

It is important to wear protective equipment whenever handling them, namely, the use of gloves and goggles to avoid caustic burns and subsequent scarring. 

The area should be well ventilated, as many of these cleaning products may release noxious fumes that may cause damage to one’s lungs if inhaled. 

Additionally, drain cleaners should always be kept tightly sealed and out of the reach of small children, stored in a place where the packaging won’t suffer any damage or be exposed to heat.  

Other FAQs about Baking soda that you may be interested in.

How to remove stains from clothes with baking soda? (6 other ways)

What Can You Substitute For Baking Soda?

Can you substitute baking soda for baking powder in pancakes?


In this brief article, we’ve addressed the query “Can baking soda clog a drain?” Also, we’ve explored how baking soda can clog a drain, how to unclog a drain, and what precautions one should take when handling drain cleaners. 


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