Baking Soda in Toilet Tank

Baking Soda in Toilet Tank and What Purpose Does it Serve?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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You are likely to find baking soda in almost every kitchen. It is an essential ingredient used in pastries. However, did you know that there are other things it is used for? Baking soda is an important cleaning agent that you can use for your regular cleaning around the house.

It is a natural cleaner that helps to break down grime and buildup from the different parts of the toilet tank. It also freshens the toilet, leaving it with no offending odors.

In this guide, we shall discuss what happens when you put baking soda in the toilet tank, how to unclog the toilet with baking soda and vinegar, and the benefits of using baking soda for cleaning.

How to Clean The Toilet Tank With Baking Soda

Baking soda does wonders in cleaning the toilet tank. If you would like to use it to clean your tank, follow the procedure below;

a) Drain the Toilet Tank

Although this may sound like stating the obvious, it is better to be safe than sorry. So, remove the toilet tank lid and place it on a towel on the floor. The towel prevents it from hitting the floor, which may lead to scratches.

drain the toilet tank and cut water supply

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Turn off the water mains and flush the toilet until you have drained all the water from the toilet tank.

b) Inspect and Clean

If the toilet tank has no mineral deposits or rust, use a foaming bathroom cleaner to clean accumulated grime or mold. Spray the cleaner over the tank, ensuring it gets on all the components. Give it up to five minutes to work.

clean the toilet tank

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Next, wipe it with a microfiber cloth. Turn the water on to refill the tank and flush the toilet severally to remove all the dirt.

c) Make a Baking Soda and Vinegar Paste

baking soda and vinegar paste for effective cleaning of the toilet tank

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Don’t skip this step if the toilet tank has tough stains that need special attention. To make a baking soda and vinegar paste, you need one cup of white vinegar and a half cup of sodium bicarbonate.

Mix the paste and add two tablespoons of dish soap. Spread it inside the toilet tank. While doing this, ensure you apply enough to the tougher stains. Let this paste rest for about an hour before you proceed.

d) Scrub the Tank

scrub the toilet tank clean and flush the toilet

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Use a scrub brush to scrub the inside of the water tank. You can also use a wet pumice stone if you do not have a scrub brush. This action should lead to a considerable difference. Keep scrubbing till you get the desired results. Once you’re done, turn the water valve back on and rinse the tank.

How to Clean Hardwater Stains with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Like baking soda, vinegar is a versatile household ingredient used widely in cleaning activities. They work together to remove pet odors, clean laundry, and clear hard water stains. If you plan to clean your toilet with these two ingredients, below is the procedure;


  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Toilet brush

1. Step One: Pour the Vinegar

Using a cup, measure two parts of vinegar and pour it into the bowl, then swish the vinegar and water with a toilet brush. Cover all the hard water stains, then leave them for a minute or two.

pour vinegar into the bowl

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2. Step Two: Add Baking Soda

In this step, you will need a cup of baking soda to pour into the toilet bowl. Next, add 1-2 cups of vinegar and let it fizz. You can let this go on for up to 10 minutes.

gently sprinkle baking soda into the bowl and let it settle

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3. Step Three: Swish

Once the ten minutes are over, use a toilet brush to swish the sides of the toilet bowl with baking soda and vinegar solution. You may need some elbow grease here to remove stains effectively.

swish the toilet bowl walls with a toilet brush

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However, stay moderate while scrubbing the tough stains. Too much force may cause scratches on the toilet bowl. Please pay more attention to the area above the water line as it is prone to hiding stains.

4. Step Four: Final Scrub and Flush

Lastly, let the soda and vinegar solution rest for about 30 minutes. If removing stains above the water line isn’t working, you may need to scrub the bowl again. Then, gently scrub the bowl once again to remove all stuck stains. Flash to rinse. Do this as often as possible to ensure your bowl remains sparkling clean.

flush the toilet severally to remove all the vinegar and baking soda

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How to Unclog the Toilet With Baking Soda

Did you know that you can use baking soda to unclog the toilet? If your toilet is clogged and you’d like to unclog it without the help of a professional, below is a guide to help you through the process.


  • Hot water
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A bucket
  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • A household plunger

Step One: Empty the Bowl

First and most importantly, wear gloves to protect your hands. A clogged toilet is often filled with waste. This makes emptying it quite challenging, but you have to do it to get started. So, use a cup to remove all the waste and pour it into a bucket to create room for adding baking soda.

Step Two: Pour Hot Water

Hot water is the best for unclogging a toilet as it helps break down and dissolve clogs. Put hot water in a small bucket and slowly pour it into the toilet bowl. Let the hot water stay in the bowl for 10-15 minutes. Hot water hastens the unclogging process and might do the job entirely if the clog is not too serious. Avoid using very hot water as it is likely to cause cracks; warm the water but don’t make it extremely hot.

Step Three: Pour Baking Soda into the Bowl

Take one cup of baking soda and pour it into the toilet. Let the soda settle at the bottom of the bowl and allow it to sit for a few minutes. You should expect the toilet to get unclogged.

If you hear suction sounds, the mixture is working, and the toilet is unclogged. If the water appears drained, simply flush the toilet and clean it. If the mixture stays in the toilet and after 10 minutes it still has not drained, proceed to the next step.

Step Four: Add Vinegar

Use a cup to measure two parts of white vinegar, then carefully pour it into the bowl. You will see a volcanic reaction and hear a fizzing sound as the vinegar starts reacting. The reaction unclogs the toilet. However, if you notice the reaction getting too high as you pour the vinegar, take it slow and wait before you continue.

Step Five: Patience

Let the mixture stay in the toilet bowl for at least two hours. If the water is drained after two hours, flush and clean the toilet. However, if the toilet is still not unclogged after two hours, you may need to leave the mixture there overnight. Flush the toilet in the morning and allow the pressure to push the clog down.

If it is still clogged after leaving the mixture overnight, it could be more severe than you think. This calls for professional help.

What Makes Toilets Clog?

A clogged toilet may result from various issues, even what you may not expect. Some causes include the following;

a) Faulty Plumbing Vent

A plumbing vent allows gases and odors to escape from your home and equally allows the inflow of air, which aids water flow during a flush. Each toilet in your home is connected to a plumbing vent.

repair faulty vents

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The plumbing vent can get clogged with dirt and debris from outside your home, and when that happens, it can prevent gas from escaping and the entry of air, which, in turn, leads to a clogged and smelly toilet.

b) Poorly Designed Toilets

Your toilet’s design may have something to do with the clog you are experiencing. For instance, if your toilet has a weak flusher that does not exert enough force to force waste down the drain, it will likely become clogged quickly. You should consider replacing your old, inefficient toilet with a high-performance one now that toilet technology has advanced.

c) Too Much Tissue Paper

Toilet papers are suitable for flushing down the toilet, but they can equally clog your toilet drain when used in excess. Toilet paper is soft but takes longer to break down and gets dissolved when you flush your toilet if you use a large amount. This can cause the toilet paper to pile up over time, eventually leading to a blockage.

Excess tissue papers can clog a toilet

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d) Non-Flushable Items

Diapers, feminine hygiene products, tampons, cotton balls, and large chunks of hair are examples of non-flushable things that could clog your toilet drain. These objects are inappropriate for flushing down the toilet because they cannot be dissolved or broken down by water.

non flushable items can lead to clogging

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e) Hard Water Buildup

Hard water can calcify and create a white substance that is hard to remove from your toilets, restricting the space through which water and waste can pass. The more minerals that build up in your plumbing system due to hard water may increase the likelihood of toilet clogs.

When Should I Call a Professional to Unclog My Toilet

Sometimes, if the clog is not that serious, you can easily unclog it with baking soda and vinegar. However, some cases need special attention from a qualified plumber. So, you can call a professional for the work in the following instances;

a) Plunging Does not Work

Run the cup of the plunger under hot water before unclogging the toilet. The rubber may become flexible, improving the seal around the toilet drain hole.

Next, put the cup directly over the drain hole, ensuring the flap fits in the aperture. Then, gently press the handle of the plunger to form a seal.

Then, over the next 20 to 30 seconds, quickly and firmly press and pull the tool. After that, remove the plunger carefully to avoid getting splashed with toilet water. Try flushing the toilet again to see if your do-it-yourself plunging technique worked.

b) The Bathroom Smells Like a Sewer

You most certainly have a blocked line if unpleasant odors accompany a clogged toilet. Waste material may have continued to get caught in the pipe due to that blockage. It is currently decomposing; as a result, releasing sewage gases that fill your bathroom.

Gases from sewers have an offensive odor that might make you sick. Unfortunately, being around them might irritate your eyes and nose. Additionally, they may make breathing difficult and make you feel queasy or lightheaded.

Don’t ignore the smell; call a qualified plumber right away. If you wait too long, waste may cause your drains and toilets to back up.

c) Water Overflows from the Bowl

Plumbing emergencies like an overflowing toilet require immediate assistance from a plumber. The safety of your entire household may be at stake if wastewater leaks.

Have everyone in the house stop using water while you wait for the emergency plumber. Otherwise, more sewage risks spilling out of your drains and toilets.

d) You Dropped Something Valuable

Rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces frequently fall into drains. If the jewelry falls into the toilet bowl and you flush before retrieving it, you may have difficulty reaching it.

If you still want to get your jewelry out of the toilet, don’t flush it. Instead, try retrieving it first with the help of your plumber’s snake. In this case, you may need a professional to ensure you recover your valuable item.

e) More than One Toilet is Clogged

Your home’s main drain or sewer lateral may be blocked if you have multiple clogged toilets. The drain pipes inside your property are connected by a single pipe called the main drain. Typically, it runs beneath the foundation slab or the basement floor. Its primary duty is to transport the wastewater you produce to the public sewer system.

Your sewage lateral, on the other hand, is a little pipe that extends from your main sewer. Your wastewater passes through it last before hitting a public sewer system. Usually, it runs beneath your property boundary. So, if you have more than one bathroom in your home and none of the toilets flush properly, call a plumber right away to have a look at it.

f) Toilet Backs Into the Shower

When you flush the toilet, do you notice a gurgling sound from your shower or tub drain? You may have even seen how the drains’ wastewater exits.

In either case, that’s another indication that you have a severe problem that affects the main sewer line. It suggests that the blockage is allowing wastewater to enter your home again. The waste has no choice but to back up the tub or shower drain if it is lower than the toilet drain.

What are the Benefits of Using Baking Soda for Cleaning?

You could be wondering whether or not using baking soda to clean has any benefits. Well, it does. Below are some of the benefits of using this substance for cleaning;

a) Multi-Purpose

You can also use it anywhere, including the kitchen, bathroom, carpets and upholstery, and the living room. This is the go-to cleanser that is always available at home. You can never go wrong with it.

b) Non-Toxic

This is a natural ingredient that you can use even around people and pets. It is non-toxic and safe for the environment, making it liked by many people. Unlike commercial cleaners that contain harmful chemicals, sodium bicarbonate is safe and eco-friendly. Some chemical cleaners require you to wear special clothing when working with them. However, you need not be cautious with baking soda as it is harmless.

c) Affordable and Readily Available

Baking soda is affordable and readily available, making it an excellent option for cleaning. It is found in most grocery stores and is a versatile ingredient in the kitchen, so you may even have it at home.

d) Effective

Baking soda helps clean stains and clear buildup and filth from the various components inside the toilet tank. Its abrasive properties can aid in removing stubborn stains brought on by the accumulation of minerals or hard water, leaving the inside of the toilet tank to appear clean and fresh.

e) Lengthens the Life Span of Toilet Tank Parts

The flush valve, fill valve, and flapper can become damaged over time due to mineral buildup and filth, resulting in leaks and other issues. You may aid in preventing this harm and extend the lifespan of your toilet by routinely cleaning the tank with baking soda.

Other Areas to Clean With Baking Soda

As mentioned, baking soda is a versatile ingredient used to clean different surfaces. Below are some places around the home that you can clean with baking soda.

a) Bathtubs and Sinks

The residue left behind when body oils and soap fats combine with the mineral salts in water is known as soap scum. Soap scum is common in sinks, showers, and bathtubs. Hard water exacerbates the issue.

using baking soda to clean the sink

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After using them, clean the sinks and bathtubs to avoid soap scum buildup. If soap scum does appear, you don’t need a soap scum remover. Scrub it away with baking soda and dish soap. There is no chemical reaction between detergents and minerals, so they don’t cause buildup.

b) Shower Doors

Glass doors lose appeal when they have hard water stains or shaving cream. Most experts advise against cleaning shower doors with conventional scouring powders as they will likely leave tiny scratches. However, baking soda is a salt and dissolves in water.

you can clean your glass shower door using baking soda and water solution

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Sprinkle baking soda on a small damp cloth and gently wipe the glass door to clean hard water stains and other deposits. Then, rinse the glass and dry it.

c) Sink Drains and Faucets

Standing water can mar the glossiness of chrome, leading to mineral buildup. This can affect even the best bathroom faucets for hard water. As water pools around the drains, minerals settle at the bottom, eventually shaping the sink with a rock-like ridge of calcium carbonate.

baking soda and a mild abrasive cleans sink drains well

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Chemical cleaners that remove such buildups are sometimes used on discolored stainless steel and chrome. However, vinegar dissolves the buildup without damaging the metal. This process is slow, but you can also work with baking soda.

d) Stone Tiles

Stone tile is a common choice for bathroom floors and walls, and it stands up to steamy showers and heavy foot traffic. Acids in commercial cleaners may dull many types of stone. Cleansers with a more neutral pH are better used.

using elbow grease and baking soda to clean hard water stains

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Baking soda has a pH of 9, making it an excellent choice. To use baking soda in cleaning your bathroom stone tiles, coat the stain with water and baking soda. Leave the paste on the affected area for up to 48 hours for effective cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions About Baking Soda in Toilet Tank

1. What is the effect of pouring baking soda into your toilet tank?

Pouring baking soda into the toilet tank has a great impact. When you mix one part of baking soda and one part of white vinegar and pour the mixture into the toilet tank, you’ll get rid of all odors.

2. Is it safe to put baking soda in the toilet?

It is safe to put baking soda in the toilet. Sprinkle the toilet with one cup of baking soda during your weekly cleaning. After sprinkling, leave it for 30 minutes, add white vinegar and start scrubbing. Next, flush it, and there you have your clean and odorless toilet.

3. What can I put in my toilet tank to keep the bowl clean?

First of all, if your toilet ball has sediments at the bottom, you will need more than a quick clean. So, empty the tank and add white vinegar and baking soda to the regular water level. Let it stay overnight or for at least two hours, then flash it.

4. What can I use to remove brown stains from the toilet?

If your toilet bowl has brown stains, you can remove them by using white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, commercial cleaners, coca-cola mixed with bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice, etc.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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