Tuesday, 5 January 2010

natural drain cleaner: vinegar, baking soda, and hot water

seems to me that being zen is also being green . . . so i believe this is apropos.

my house is old (like over 100 yrs old) and has most of its old pipes. they are okay, but they have heaps of build-up and probably could use a good scrubbing. they also have funky twists and turns which means that it is easy for stuff to get caught up in the pipes. for a worst-case-scenario please see this link.

when i remodeled my bathroom, i increased the size of the bathtub. in order to do it, i had to move the pipes from the west wall to the east wall of the shower. this created an additional curve in the drainage pipe. instead of going directly down into a drainage pipe, it had to turn to the west and go underneath the length of the tub and then hit the drainage pipe.

long story short, i was having real issues with the bathtub drain. i had been told that using drano was a bad idea. it ate away at existing pipes (which are already old and could fall apart at any moment) and it really messed up the environment. all that junk eventually ends up in the potomac. the plumbers told me the best thing to do was to have them come and snake the pipe once every six months. at $150 just for the visit, NO THANK-YOU.

so i did what any self-respecting home owner would do. nothing. i pretended nothing ever happened and played scarlotte o'hara not to be troubled right now . . .

obviously, that is a plan that leads directly to more clogged drains. so when the drain would not drain anymore, i searched the internets for a solution. here is what i found

Step 1 – Put the DRY baking soda down the drain. I use about 3/4 of a cup.
Step 2 – Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain after the baking soda. Be sure to cover the drain immediately afterwards with a rag or plug, filling the hole completely so nothing can escape. This is because the interaction of the two will cause a “mini volcano” that will want to come up and out of the drain..you want to keep it down there.
Step 3 – Leave this concoction in the drain for about 30 minutes. While you are waiting, boil a tea kettle full of water.
Step 4 – After 30 minutes, remove the plug and slowly pour the HOT water down the drain.

All done! Your drain should flow smoothly now. If not, just do it again.

My drain was SUPER clogged. I did this 5 times, but then clean as a whistle. I got one of those drain hair catcher things and decided I would do this once every 3 months just as a preventative measure.

lemeno if you try it and it works for you too.


KamilahNYC said...

I've totally done it. Sooo works!

eileen said...

thanks for the tip. i just used this method to clean something else out, and it worked! thanks.

Darryl Iorio said...

Water pipes, especially in old houses like yours, should be well-maintained and repaired accordingly to prevent more serious damages. And though you said that your sink was overly clogged, it's good to hear that all you needed was a gallon of vinegar, and that no major and more expensive repair was needed. Keep your pipes and drain clean!

Darryl Iorio