Safe and Friendly Drain Cleaner

To safely clean drains, I pour baking soda into the drain followed by table salt. If the clog isn't bad, I just use cold water to flush it down. If the clog is bad, you will need to use boiling water. Since this will not harm pipes or the environment, you can use this weekly to keep drains from becoming clogged.

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By Kris from New Albany, IN

Answers:

Safe and Friendly Drain Cleaner

What I have used in the past, is you pour about a cup of baking soda in the drain. It will not all go down, but what you do is slowly pour white vinegar down the drain to rinse the baking soda down. When you can see the drain, stop and let it fizz. Wait till it's through fizzing and flush the drain with water. This works really well. I will try yours though. (02/12/2009)

By Chris t.

Safe and Friendly Drain Cleaner

Unfortunately, none of these methods really do much, especially baking soda and salt. Drains are most often clogged with grease, hair, and solidified soap (aka scum). Neither baking soda nor salt, alone or in combination, has any significant chemical or mechanical action against those three problems.

I also always recommend boiling water after any drain cleaning procedure to melt away any residual grease and soap. Cold water can harden grease further and will do little to flush stuck-on grease down since grease and water repel each other. Liquid grease, however, is carried down the drain by the water.

Vinegar, being acidic, does have a mild effect on grease, and the foaming will allow it to reach the sides of the pipe. Still, the effect is extremely weak and will do little to clean a drain. If vinegar was a good degreaser, you wouldn't want to eat it since our cells are coated with lipids (fats).

To prove my claims, simply do a little experiment. Coat something (i.e. spoon, Popsicle stick) with animal grease (i.e. bacon fat) and put some hair on it. Wait for the fat to solidify. Or you can simply use butter or margarine. Dip it into a baking soda/salt/water or baking soda/vinegar solution for about 30 seconds -1 min and see if the grease or hairs are gone. Usually, the answer is no. Now dip it into boiling water, and you'd see the grease melt and drip off.

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Preventive maintenance is the key.

  1. Never pour animal grease down the drain. It will solidify in the cool drains and coat the pipes, much like cholesterol clogs your arteries. Instead, pour the grease into a container to be thrown out with the trash. Vegetable oil remains liquid so it's okay to pour down the drain. Still, it's sticky and can cause hairs and other debris to stick to the sides of pipes so I also prefer to throw it with the trash.
  2. Use liquid soap. Solid soap bars re-solidify down the drain (aka scum) which attracts hair and debris, causing clogs. Liquid hand soap doesn't solidify.

  3. Use a drain protector. These look like strainers and are placed over drain openings. They prevent large objects, including jewelry, from going down the drain. Make sure you empty this daily to prevent the growth of bacterial.
  4. Pour a quart or so of boiling water down your drain weekly or monthly to melt away the grease and soap scum. It also disinfects and deodorizes. If you have a drain protector, pour the water through the the protector to keep it clean.

People with major problems might want to invest in bacterial enzymes to eat away the organic debris, i.e. grease, that coats your drain. This is a natural maintenance solution that sounds creepier than it really is. It involves no more than dumping a powder like substance down your drain with some warm water for activation. Google "drain enzymes" for more info. (02/08/2010)

By bryguyf69

Safe and Friendly Drain Cleaner

We just had to pay big money to have the sink drain power rodded and blasted. Just the power rodding alone didn't clear the drain as it was totally clogged with grease. Even if you are careful about what you put down your drain, just rinsing off your dishes each day for many years will cause the build-up. My husband tried all sorts of things, but nothing was keeping the drain clear. It would drain some, but then start backing up. I saw what came out and it was not a pretty site.

I asked the guy for some preventative measures and he said, stay clear of chemicals. He said baking soda was only going to help with odors. He said we'll be good for a long time to come with what he did and we did get a 2 year guarantee. In the meantime I am going to be very careful about what goes down the drains and avoid any grease. By the way our house was new when we bought it, but we have lived here 23 years so it did take a very long time for there to be such a problem with the kitchen sink drain. (02/09/2010)

By Debbie52

Safe and Friendly Drain Cleaner

Another good thing to use is plain bleach. It will eat a clog in no time. This is good to use on your bathroom sinks and tubs. Put some in your drains at night. Flush with cold water in the morning. Do this once a month and you will have open drains. Remember how by accident splashed bleach on your jeans, it ate a hole in them? That's what it does to hair. (02/09/2010)

By daswede

Safe and Friendly Drain Cleaner

Please do not use bleach in your sinks or toilet on a regular bases. It will eat at your pipes and septic tank. I work in a daycare and the sanitation inspector told us not to clean with bleach everyday he said every once in a while will not hurt. (02/09/2010)

By Teresa Kay

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