Science, Tech, Math › Science Drain Cleaner Can Dissolve Glass Share Flipboard Email Print Science Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated August 15, 2019 Just about everyone knows many acids are corrosive. For example, hydrofluoric acid can dissolve glass. Did you know strong bases can be corrosive, too? An example of a base sufficiently corrosive to eat glass is sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which is a common solid drain cleaner. You can test this for yourself by setting a glass container in hot sodium hydroxide, but you need to be extremely careful. Glass Dissolver Sodium hydroxide is perfectly capable of dissolving your skin in addition to glass. Also, it reacts with other chemicals, so you have to be certain you perform this project in a steel or iron container. Test the container with a magnet if you are unsure, because the other metal commonly used in pans, aluminum, reacts vigorously with sodium hydroxide. The sodium hydroxide reacts with the silicon dioxide in glass to form sodium silicate and water: 2NaOH + SiO2 → Na2SiO3 + H2O Dissolving glass in molten sodium hydroxide probably won't do your pan any favors, so chances are you'll want to throw it out when you are done. Neutralize the sodium hydroxide with acid before disposing of the pan or attempting to clean it. If you don't have access to a chemistry lab, this could be achieved with a whole lot of vinegar (weak acetic acid) or a smaller volume of muriatic acid (hydrochloric), or you can wash the sodium hydroxide away with lots and lots of water. You may not be interested in destroying glassware for science, but it's still worth knowing why it is important to remove dishes from your sink if you are planning to use solid drain cleaner and why it's not a good idea to use more than the recommended amount of the product.