Can you unclog a toilet with baking soda and vinegar?
To remedy a clogged toilet, try a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Tien N. of Houston)
A clogged toilet can be more than a minor inconvenience, particularly for homeowners who don't have a plunger handy. Fortunately, two simple household products may do the trick, with no harmful chemicals required.
Baking soda and vinegar have long been valued as natural cleaning agents, but when combined they also produce an important chemical reaction. You might recognize the "volcano" experiment from elementary science classes: build a volcano structure, and then add baking soda and vinegar to mimic the eruption. When combined, these two products create a powerful fizzing action that can do more than just produce an impressive amount of bubbles. It can also release even the most stubborn of clogs.
You might have heard about using baking soda and vinegar to unclog a sink. It turns out you can also use these products to unclog a toilet. The key to this process is to measure the ingredients carefully to keep them in the toilet bowl and avoid a small eruption on the bathroom floor.
Safety warning: Do not pour any vinegar or baking soda into your drain either before or after using a drain-cleaning product, such as Drano.
1. Assess the severity of the clog.
Before trying to unclog a toilet without a plunger, it's essential to recognize how bad the clog is. Typically, you'll want to use uqal parts baking soda and vinegar. For a minor clog, you should use the full amount of baking soda and vinegar at once. For a more severe clog, start by using smaller amounts in several increments. Because of the fizzing action that occurs, be sure to measure the ingredients carefully to prevent an overflow.
2. Scoop baking soda into the toilet.
For a minor clog, pour a full amount of baking soda into the toilet bowl. For a more severe clog, start with one fourth cup to one half a cup of baking soda.
3. Pour vinegar into the toilet.
Use equal parts of vinegar and baking soda. This means that for one cup of baking soda, use one cup of vinegar. Once you pour the vinegar into the toilet, it will combine with the baking soda and begin fizzing immediately. The fizzing will build up quickly but also subside quickly. Wait a couple of minutes while the baking soda and vinegar work together, and then move on to the next step.
4. Pour a kettle of hot water into the toilet.
Follow up the vinegar with a kettle full of hot water. Pour the hot water into the toilet bowl and check to see if the clog is released.
5. Repeat as necessary until the clog is released.
The clog is released when the toilet makes a quick suction sound and then drains naturally. Flush once or twice to clean out the bowl and to make sure the toilet is operating as it should.
If the toilet fails to unclog, consider hiring a plumber to resolve the situation.