Does Homemade Soap Clog Your Drains? (With Fix and Prevention)

Using regular soap might get your drains clogged, but if you are to switch to homemade soap, would you still have the same problem? Would homemade soap finally help you get rid of this white foam nightmare?

Homemade soap does clog your drains, mostly when you use hard water. This happens because soap scum occurs when soap gets mixed with hard water. This will attract mildew and mold, which worsens the clogging process but is also particularly harmful to your drains and pipes.

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Unless you are using a water softener, your drains might get clogged from time to time. In most cases, hair could be the leading cause of this (at least my wife’s hair, since mine are lost somewhere in space). However, soap can equally be the culprit. When soap gets mixed with hard water, soap scum occurs.

This white foam attracts mildew and mold, which, as a result, causes your drains to clog. But what if you switch to hand-made soap? Wouldn’t it solve your problem? Well, unfortunately, it’s the same story when it comes to soft soap or any kind of homemade soap. You might be able to lower the chances with a synthetic soap or gel body soap.

However, depending on their formulation, these kinds of soaps are really not kind to your skin, so I would rather avoid these altogether. The only thing you can do is try to prevent it. At this moment, there is no soap out there that doesn’t cause this problem.

So preventing is your only solution, and if you have it clogged, there are some ways to get rid of it, which I will be going through further in this article.

What dissolves soap buildup in drains?

If you have a clogged drain and are sure the cause of the clogging is buildup soap scum, there are several easy ways you can get rid of the buildup soap scum.

Boiling water

The first comes the easiest and cheapest solution is using boiling water. Boil some water and pour it down your drain. The buildup soap scum will melt as the water runs through it. Once you have poured all of your water, rerun another round of boiling water. This method does not require using any chemicals that might be damaging to your pipes in the long run. 

Using Baking Soda

If boiling water did not work for you and you have tried a few times, fear not. We have another simple solution for you, baking soda! Baking soda does not only deodorizes your sink but is also ideal for dissolving buildup soap scum. First, start with mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with one gallon of water and pour it down the drain.

If you see that didn’t do the trick, you can try another round, but this time use one teaspoon of baking soda with just a quarter of a gallon. Just be careful only to use 2 tsp a day of baking soda. So in case the first two attempts did not work, and you want to try again, wait a day to give it another go. Using too much in a short span of time might damage your pipes. 

If that also did not work, you can add vinegar to the mixture. Add around the same amount of vinegar as you baking soda and pour it right away down the drain. This will even help with hair and dirt in your drain in case you have any.

Once poured, let it sit for one hour, or if you have the time, leave it overnight. The next morning boil some water and pour it again to flush everything. 


If the first two options did not work for you, pouring some ammonia might do the trick. Straight after you have poured the ammonia, follow up with running some hot water for a few minutes. Just make sure to open the window or run the fan as the ammonia’s odor can be quite overwhelming. 
Word of caution: In case you have used the vinegar method before, please wait the next day to use ammonia. If these two components get mixed, they become toxic and can be harmful to you!

Bacterial drain cleaners

Bacterial drain cleaners work really well against soap scum. However, they do not work well when it comes to anything else. So unless you are sure that the buildup is only soap scum, I would not recommend this as an option. 

But let’s just say in this case, it is. Bacterial drain cleaners are perfectly safe to use and are not damaging your pipes in any way! The bacterias and enzymes in the formula break naturally down the soap scum.

Here is how you use it: Mix warm water with a scoop of the cleaner and pour it down the drain and just leave it overnight. In case you do not have much time, you can also let it sit for a few hours.

The next morning run some hot water, and that’s it! Depending on the product you use and the severity of the problem, this might take over three consecutive nights of treatments to get the ideal result, but you might be able to get rid of your problem after one try. 

Commercial drain cleaning products.

Although these cleaning products might get the job done, they are in nature caustic and thus can damage your plumbing pipes after several treatments. So, in the long run, it is the worst option. However, I wouldn’t mind using it just once, but only if all of the options above did not work. 

As the final resort, you can always call a professional to get rid of your problem.

How to prevent soap scum.

Trying to get rid of your soap scum? Why not prevent it altogether?
If you can prevent or at least slow down the buildup process. You have won half of the battle!

Here is how you can do it:

Using a mesh trap: 

This is arguably one of the easiest and also cheapest solutions. Mesh traps do really well against hair, but did you know that they also do well cathing soap scum? You can use this item for your sink and a shower or your bath drain. Buy them because it will be the best investment you will make, believe me!

Your drain is not garbage disposal

I know it is obvious, but you would be shocked at what some people throw in their sink. Some people don’t realize at all the things they are throwing in the drain are causing the clogging. The reason is anything you throw that is not meant to be in your sink can potentially stick to the soap scum and make it even worse.

If in case you have a mesh trap, it will most probably screen out many things, but that doesn’t you should throw anything in it. Before you get ready to do the dishes or want to place them in your sink, make sure you dispose of kitchen grease and scraps.

Things like paint or solvents are equally harmful as anything else, even though they are fluid. They are also quite bad for your plumbing and contaminate the environment on top of it.

Bacterial drain cleaners:

The bacterial drain cleaners are an excellent option to get rid of your soap scum, but you can also use this product once a month as a preventive measure. Don’t want to do it each month? Go for every 2 or 3 months. It might be enough depending on how good you are to your drain.

Water softener:

Depending on the state you live in, you might end up in an area with hard water. This means the chances of you having clogged drains are much higher. If you can invest in a water softener, this might be one of the best investments you will make in the long run.

Not only does it soften your water, but it also improves the lifespan of your home’s plumbing considerably. Although not the most popular option due to the price tag, it is one of the best out there.

The salt or potassium chloride within water softeners filter out the calcium, magnesium, and certain other metal cations in hard water. If you want to buy one or are interested, check the video below.


Even though you switch to hand-made soap, if you are running on hard water, soap scum will be a problem. Your best chance to fight it would be a water softener combined with a mesh catcher. If you don’t wish to invest in an expensive water softener, you try to use any method to remove the buildup.

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