Open Hours

24 hours a day

How to Unblock a Clogged Drain with Caustic Soda




June 15, 2024



Clogged Drain

Table of Contents


Dealing with clogged drains at home can be incredibly frustrating. The majority of these blockages occur due to a buildup of debris, such as food scraps and other unwanted materials. Clearing a blocked drain is often a challenging and unpleasant task, but it’s a job many homeowners will inevitably face.

Fortunately, there are DIY methods available to tackle this issue. The use of caustic soda, also known as sodium hydroxide, proves to be an effective approach. In this blog, we’ll delve into the process of unblocking drains using caustic soda, offering essential guidance for dealing with this common household problem.

What is Caustic Soda?

The name “caustic soda” stems from its origins as sodium hydroxide, and its “caustic” feature is attributed to its highly corrosive nature. It possesses the capability to neutralise acids and is soluble in water. Presently, caustic soda is available in various forms, such as pellets, flakes, powders, and solutions.

When caustic soda interacts with organic materials like food residues and hair, it initiates a chemical reaction and starts decomposing them. Its solubility in water further enhances its efficacy in combating blocked drains, making it a preferred choice for many drain cleaning services. Notably, commercial-grade cleaners have a higher amount of sodium hydroxide than those designed for domestic use.

What Materials Do You Need While Unblocking Drain with Caustic Soda?

To utilise caustic soda for drain unblocking, gather these materials:

  1. Caustic soda
  2. Toilet plunger or drain snake
  3. Water
  4. Plastic container or bucket
main drainage cleaning

Process of Clearing Clogged Drains with Caustic Soda

Here’s a step-by-step guide for using caustic soda to unclog a drain:

Step 1. Measure a small amount of caustic soda into a bucket or plastic container. The quantity depends on the drain size, typically around 1 cup per gallon of water.

Step 2. Slowly add water to the container while stirring continuously until the caustic soda is fully dissolved.

Step 3. Carefully pour the prepared solution down the blocked drain, avoiding splashing to prevent skin or eye contact.

Step 4. To clear the blockage, use a plunger or drain snake. For a plunger, cover the run-off hole with a moist cloth for a better seal and apply forceful motion of up-and-down. For a drain snake, insert it into the blocked drain to unclog the obstruction.

Step 5. To let the caustic soda work on the clogged drain, let it be in the drain for 30 minutes to almost an hour.

Step 6. Subsequently, use the hot water to flush the drain so any remaining debris can wash away.

Safety Measures for Using Caustic Soda

Safety precautions must be followed when handling caustic soda:

  • Always add sodium hydroxide to water in the correct order.
  • Make a habit of wearing appropriate personal protective equipment to prevent skin, eye, and lung injuries.
  • Use cold water to avoid overheating.
  • Do not pour pellets directly down the drain to prevent clumping.
  • After cleaning the drain, wash it thoroughly to remove any residuals.
  • Avoid using caustic soda in PVC, aluminium pipes, or septic systems, as it may cause damage.
  • Store it in an air-tight and non-metallic container.
  • It should be out of reach of children and pets, with clear labels. Even a small quantity can be fatal if ingested.

Advantages of Caustic Soda for Drain Unblocking

  • Eco-friendliness

Being biodegradable, caustic soda is a more environmentally friendly choice in comparison to harsh chemical drain cleaners.

  • Effectiveness

Caustic soda is a highly efficient drain cleaner, dissolving organic materials like grease and hair, which are typical causes of drain clogs.

  • Cost-effectiveness

Caustic soda offers a budget-friendly solution for addressing drain problems.

main sewage unblocking

Potential Drawbacks of Using Caustic Soda at Your Home

Disadvantages of using caustic soda to clean drains:

  1. Corrosive nature can damage pipes and drainage systems, leading to larger and more expensive problems.
  2. Exposure to caustic soda can harm the user, causing burns and releasing harmful chemicals into the air.
  3. Difficulty in determining the appropriate amount to use can risk both safety and effectiveness.
  4. Incomplete removal of blockages can lead to the formation of fatbergs further down the drainage system.
  5. Fatbergs pose significant problems for sewer pipes, requiring time-consuming and expensive removal processes.
  6. Caustic soda does not address the root cause of blockages and may lead to recurring issues.

A Reliable Alternative to Caustic Soda to Open Drains

Fast Drains, offering professional drain cleaning services, is available for quick and efficient resolution of blockages. With our team of skilled drainage cleaners, we guarantee swift and effective resolution to any drainage issue you encounter. From diagnosing the problem to implementing the solution, we ensure efficiency while providing expert guidance to prevent future blockages.