When you’re dealing with a clogged drain, there are many tips and tricks you’ll come across to help you move the clog along and unblock your drain. How true some of those suggestions are, though, often remains to be seen…

So, today, let’s put one to the test. Many people claim that coca cola (or coke) can help clear blocked drains – but is it true?

Can Coca-Cola clean a clogged drain?

Surprisingly, yes, coca cola can act as a drain cleaner when you’re dealing with a blocked drain. In fact, it’s been used successfully to clear everything from shower drains to toilet clogs, and sink blockages to outside drain issues.

As home remedies for clogged drains go, coke actually works surprisingly well, and one of the main reasons for that is because of some of the ingredients in coca cola that work well to move stubborn clogs.

What are Coca-Cola’s ingredients?

Coca-Cola doesn’t publish a full list of ingredients because they can’t risk competitors knowing everything they use, but they do publish a fairly detailed list. Coke contains:

  • carbonated water
  • caramel
  • cane sugar
  • sugar syrup
  • caffeine
  • artificial flavors
  • and phosphoric acid, among other things, too

The important ingredient here is phosphoric acid because it’s the ingredient that’s closest to what you’ll find in a typical drain cleaner.

Phosphoric Acid explained

Most over-the-counter cleaners contain sodium hydroxide or caustic soda when it’s designed to be used in a plumbing system to help unblock drains. It works by making the water more alkaline until it is strong enough to dissolve clogs and allow the clogged drain to work as normal again.

When more powerful drain cleaners are required, more harsh chemicals are required, and this usually means sulfuric acid is used. Rather than making the water more alkaline, it makes the water more acidic, helping break down the clog quicker. Regular cleaners struggle to unclog drains quickly when the clog is particularly bad, so acid is used here with hot water to help speed things up.

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Phosphoric acid does a similar job to sulfuric acid in these circumstances, although it isn’t as strong as sulfuric acid, so it will take a little longer to take effect. Below, let’s look at the best way to use coke to get rid of a clog in your blocked drain.

Using Coca-Cola as a drain cleaner

Which type of clogs can coke help with?

Before we look at the method in detail, let’s just talk about some of the clogs coke can help with:

  • soap scum
  • dirt
  • hair
  • organic matter

It won’t, of course, help with blockages caused by things being put down the drain that shouldn’t be, such as children’s toys, for example. Here, you’ll need to contact a local plumber or use a plumber’s snake to try to get the blockage out of the pipes yourself. If you need to unclog a natural clog that can be broken down, though, then coke will work.

When can’t it be used?

If the pipe/drain isn’t fully blocked, though, then coke won’t help you it is generally something for drainage maintenance. Because phosphoric acid isn’t as strong as sulfuric acid, it needs longer to break down the item clogging your drain. To unclog it effectively, it will need to be left for at least an hour, but preferably longer – more on that below.

So, if your pipes are still able to let hot water pass through when you pour it down, you won’t be able to use coke. The coke will simply find its way down the unblocked part of the pipes and won’t be able to sit and fizz for a few hours to help unclog them like it’s supposed to.

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Here’s what to do:

If your drain is fully clogged, then you can go ahead and use coke. Here’s what to do:

  • Pour boiling water down the drain first to make sure there is no room for the water to escape. This will also help flush the clog if it isn’t so bad so you won’t need to waste coke.
  • Next, if the pipes are fully clogged, then take a two-liter bottle of coke and pour it right down the drain.
  • Leave it overnight, preferably, but certainly for a few hours.
  • Next morning, try pouring more hot water down the drain. If it can flush through, then simply rinse your drains using hot soapy water and dish detergent to remove the coke smell and continue as normal.

Can I use baking soda and coca cola?

If the drain is still blocked after using an entire bottle of coke, try using baking soda, white vinegar, and boiling water to move the stubborn blockage. This mixture is safe for toilets, sinks, and shower drains and can help clean up mess and stains too.

Use 1/2 a cup of baking soda, 1 cup of vinegar, and as much hot water as you can pour down to remove the clog. The phosphoric acid from the coke ought to have loosened the clog enough to allow your makeshift baking soda drain cleaner to clear the clog.

Some drain cleaner alternatives

If you don’t typically drink coke, then you might not have any in to help clear your blocked drain or sink. If that’s the case, you can just try the baking soda trick we discussed above to dissolve the block, or you can try purchasing some plumbing drain cleaners from the store.

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Yes, at-home remedies are great, but plumbing drain cleaners are specifically designed to clean your sink and drains effectively, removing bacteria and making sure the block is dealt with quickly.

When should I contact a plumber?

You may require plumbing services if the coke trick, baking soda trick, or at-home drain cleaners you purchased aren’t working.

Sometimes clogged drains are much more severe than they first seem, and it might be necessary to contact a plumber to have them come to your house to help fix the issue with your plumbing. They’re experts and will be able to solve the issue if DIY, at-home solutions aren’t working.

Take-home message

Pouring coke down a completely blocked drain will help fix the issue. Coke can unclog all kinds of blockages, so if you’re ever in a pinch and have some spare coca cola in your house, you should consider pouring it down the drain and leaving it for a few hours. It’s possible that the phosphoric acid will help move the blockages along and fix the problem. Come on, it’s got to be worth a try, right?