How to Unclog a Toilet with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda container and cup of water

Most people know what it's like to unclog a toilet using a plunger, but how many know what to do when a plunger won't get the job done?

When plunging is ineffective, you may be tempted to throw in the towel and call a professional plumber. But there's one more thing you can try — baking soda and vinegar.

We'll teach you how to unclog a toilet with baking soda and vinegar and answer some frequently asked questions about the process.

  • Steps to Unclog a Toilet with Baking Soda and Vinegar
  • Unclogging a Toilet with Baking Soda and Vinegar FAQs

Steps to Unclog a Toilet with Baking Soda and Vinegar

You now know that it's possible to unclog a toilet with baking soda and vinegar, but chances are no one has ever shown you how. Luckily, Mr. Rooter Plumbing has the answer. Follow these steps to unclog your toilet with this chemical trick:

  • Check and, if necessary, adjust the water level in the bowl: The bowl should be around halfway full for this unclogging method. If it's too low, add hot or boiling water until the bowl is at least half full.
  • Pour one cup of baking soda into the bowl: The baking soda has to come first, or it will react immediately when it hits vinegar in the toilet bowl.
  • Slowly pour one cup of vinegar into the bowl: Don't pour too quickly, or the reaction will foam up and out of your toilet bowl.
  • Allow the fizz to sit for at least 20 minutes: The chemical reaction needs time to break up the clog.
  • See if it worked: The water level should fall if the clog was broken up. You may also notice bubbling as the water pressure changes. Once you notice either of these signs, flush the toilet. Just be ready to turn the water shut-off valve behind the toilet in case you misjudged.

If the clog still seems to be intact, start over at step 1 and repeat the process a couple of times. For extra-stubborn clogs, let the fizz mixture sit overnight or combine this method with plunging.

Unclogging a Toilet with Baking Soda and Vinegar FAQs

Why do baking soda and vinegar work for clog clearing?

The baking soda and vinegar trick works by way of one of the most famous chemical reactions. You've probably seen this reaction used to create a "volcanic eruption" at a grade school science fair. This fizzing reaction works to clear clogs for two reasons: pressure and friction.

First off, let's explore the pressure element. As the baking soda and vinegar react, they create foam. This foam takes up significantly more surface area than either baking soda or vinegar, so it has to expand. When this expanding foam hits the clog, it creates pressure. This pressure alone may be enough to break up the clog. While this usually isn't what clears the clog in a toilet, it is the primary reason this technique also works for sink clogs.

Next, and more importantly, is friction. The foaming reaction is made of millions of tiny bubbles. These bubbles fizzle around, popping and reforming constantly. As they fizzle, they rub against the clog, breaking it up over time. This reaction can last for hours if there is enough material to sustain it. The longer it lasts, the more likely it is to break up the clog.

Can't Unclog Your Toilet? Call Mr. Rooter Plumbing for Clog-clearing Help

If your toilet keeps getting clogged, this may indicate plumbing problems such as mineral buildup or pressure issues. Ask your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing to assess and repair your plumbing system. We have the experience and technology to get the job done right and are happy to help.

Schedule an appointment online.