Does Homemade Soap Clog Drains? (And a Fix)
Clogged drains are a real nuisance to deal with. And in order to prevent your pipes from clogging, you need to know what causes them to become clogged in the first place.
Soap is one of the main perpetrators. But does homemade soap clog drains?
Homemade soap can and will clog your sink, and pipes if normal maintenance and clearance of clogging soap scum is not carried out. It is no different from normal soap, and a clogged drain is avoidable with reasonable care
Why does soap clog drains?
Any soap, homemade including, creates soap scum in your shower and in your pipes. In and of itself, soap scum is not a big issue, really only needs a good rub to clean off your shower. But it is sticky, and it’s collecting all sorts of waste that goes down the drain along with water.
This is causing a build-up, so the mess that is likely to form will become obtrusive and block your water.
When it comes to bathrooms, the waste that sticks to soap scum the most is hair and lint. But bigger chunks of soap can break off and fall into the drain, creating an even bigger clump.
What is soap scum?
You are probably guessing what soap scum is, and if you’re using soap often, it is something you’ve seen many times.
Soap scum is that sticky substance that covers your shower, bathroom sink and gets flushed into your drains, where it’s impossible to see and hard to clean. It has a yellowish color and it can get pretty nasty if left uncleaned.
Water has a certain mineral content, and soap interacts with the minerals in water which creates soap scum. If you have hard water in your home, in other words, if your water has high mineral content, then more soap scum will form. But if you have soft water, meaning less mineral content, then, of course, you’ll see less soap scum.
The minerals in water that interact with soap are calcium and magnesium. Even your clothes can get soap scum on them after a wash. One of the ways to deal with extremely hard water is to use a water softener. But be aware that water softener systems can corrode your pipes and affect the quality of your tap water due to high levels of sodium.
So, this residue doesn’t care if you’ve changed your ways and started using handmade soap to keep your skin nice and hydrated, it will still exist thanks to the fact that all soap is based on the same ingredients.
How to unclog your drains?
Getting rid of those nasty build-ups in your pipes is sometimes achievable with a plunger. But some blockages are too stubborn and may require the use of a drain cleaner.
Wire hooks can also be used if you’re dealing with a lot of hair that got stuck beneath your drain. You can use a simple wire coathanger, strengthening it out and bending the end to create a small hook. When you insert this into your pipe, expect nastiness. You’ll pull out clumps of hair and soap scum.
The problem, however, can be bigger and a tiny wire can’t deal with deeper clogs and a thick buildup.
Not everyone recommends chemical drain cleaners, as they contain caustic chemicals. If nothing else we mentioned here works in your case, and you find yourself needing to use a drain cleaner, then go with the enzymatic drain cleaner. They don’t contain chemicals that can corrode your pipes.
Salt and hot water can also help with soap scum, but be ready for a couple of rounds of cleaning. For this method, you’ll need half a cup of salt. Once this is poured down the drain, follow it with boiling hot water. Depending on how bad your pipes are clogged, you may need to repeat the process.
Work on prevention
The best way to have clean drains that always work smoothly is to prevent them from clogging altogether.
Cleaning soap scum regularly, pouring boiling water down the drains once a week to melt away any soap scum and waste clumps, and buying drain guards to catch hair and lint, will ensure your pipes stay clean for a long time.
But since bar soap is the one to blame the most here, no matter if it’s handmade or bought in a supermarket, changing to liquid soap may be the way to go.
Liquid soaps, and there are handmade liquid soaps as well, cause less scum to form, and as they’re not solid there will be no chunks falling off and getting stuck in your drain.
Homemade soap is great for your skin and it smells amazing, we know, but any bar soap can cause issues if left to collect inside your drains. But if you clean them often and use our prevention methods, your pipes will be thankful and it’s less likely they’ll develop a serious blockage.