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Will Pouring Dish Soap in a Toilet Remove Clogs? Facts, & FAQ

woman cleaning toilet

Clogged toilets are one of the most annoying problems you can face in day-to-day life, but they’re not as difficult as they seem. There is a wide range of home remedies to unclog toilets, and dish soap is frequently recommended. Does it actually help unclog toilets? Well, yes, but it needs a little help to be effective.

For best results, mix a squirt of dish soap into a pot of boiling water and pour it down your drain. The soap’s detergents will help cleanse impurities and debris, and the hot water will help dissolve clogs and send them on their way. Be careful with hot water, though, because water that’s too hot can damage your toilet and drainage system.

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Does Dish Soap Alone Unclog Toilets?

liquid toilet unclogger
Photo Credit: Rolandas Grigaitis, Shutterstock

What about only adding dish soap to a clogged toilet? It’s not as effective as you’d think. Dish soap does little on its own to remove clogs from toilets, plus it’s not good for the environment. Another thing to consider is your toilets’ seals, which are fragile pieces of rubber. Putting anything that’s not drain-safe into your toilet, like dish soap, can dry out and damage them. When seals fail on your toilet, it can back up into the toilet bowl or cause other disastrous (not to mention expensive) problems.

What’s the Most Effective Method to Unclog a Toilet?

man snaking a toilet
Photo Credit: David Spates, Shutterstock

When a plunger doesn’t cut it, reach for vinegar first. Mixing a half cup of vinegar with a gallon of water and pouring it into your drain can cut right through the clog in your system and unclog the toilet. Hot water helps dissolve clogs faster, but again, be careful not to use water that’s too hot.

Other Methods include
  • 1 cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar make a very effective home drain cleaner remedy
  • Chemical drain cleaners are the best way to unclog your drains when home remedies aren’t working, but they can be harsh on the environment
  • Use a snake to manually unclog the drain. This is best for hard obstructions, which liquid drain cleaners may not be able to handle
  • Enzyme waste cleaners break down solid waste obstructions in drains and are typically safe for septic tanks
  • Wire coat hangers can be used as plumbing snakes if you untwist them and straighten them out

Is Dish Soap Bad for Toilets?

dish soap
Photo By: Jim Barber, Shutterstock

As we mentioned, dish soap can be useful to remove debris and clogs, but it isn’t the best for your toilet. Especially combined with water, dish soap dries out rubber seals and risks damaging your toilet’s drainage system. In small amounts, however, dish soap should be perfectly fine if used infrequently to help remove small and soft clogs in your drain.

Dish soap washes away into the sewage system and pollutes water. This means additional strain on water treatment facilities. One person using dish soap down the drain won’t do much, but when hundreds or thousands do it, well, the results can add up. It doesn’t help that the detergents in dish soap wash into groundwater and affect wildlife.

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Dish soap can be useful in small amounts for clogs, but it shouldn’t be a go-to solution. Combined with hot water, dish soap can be just the thing you need to cleanse a stubbornly clogged toilet. However, there are tons of other methods that are just as effective and won’t pollute in the process

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock


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