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Preventing Clogged Drains

Category Plumbing
Clogged sink and tub drains can be avoided by reducing the amount of hair, food, and debris that is allowed to go in the plumbing. This guide is about preventing clogged drains.
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By 1 found this helpful
July 29, 2014

Don't throw away old flyswatters. They are great drain filters for the bathtub or sink in a pinch.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 4, 2005

Years ago I used baking soda to clean my kitchen sinks and countertops. But then we found out that the washed away soda had over six months become a rock in my kitchen sink pipes. It cost almost $200 to have it snaked out and it broke two of the plumber's snakes before he could break it up.

I've seen advice to use baking soda on this site and I'm wondering how others are avoiding ruining their plumbing. What did I do wrong? I'm practically stingy so I know I didn't use very much at a time. And I'm not the best housekeeper so it wasn't as if I was cleaning constantly...

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Allison

Answers

June 6, 20050 found this helpful

If you are using just baking soda with salt and/or water, it will solidify.
I use baking soda & vinegar. It doesn't take much, about the same of each, sometimes a little more vinegar. The foaming dissolves the baking soda. You also need to run water for a minute or so after it quits foaming to clear everything out. Have used this for 2oyrs. No problems. Hope this helps.

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June 6, 20050 found this helpful

Did you use vinegar with the baking soda? I think vinegar prevents the buildup of the soda. I will put salt down the drain with hot water and that helps keep it flowing too.

coolchinchilla

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June 6, 20050 found this helpful

I agree that you need vinegar, too. The two make a chemical reaction that uses up the soda. Make sure to keep putting vinegar in until the fizzing stops.
Susan from ThriftyFun

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 6, 20050 found this helpful

Allison didn't say she was cleaning the drains with baking soda, just the sink and counter tops. I wonder if maybe a bit more water to rinse the sink would help next time.

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June 7, 20050 found this helpful

Hi used this once too~~soda and vinegar and it fizzed up and then went solid. It scared me cause I didn't want to call a plumber so I used something to dig as much as I could and rinsed it with very hot water and swore I'd never do it again. I'm not sure how other people do it either

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June 7, 20050 found this helpful

I have used baking soda and vinegar for years with no problems. The key here is to use maybe a tablespoon or two of baking soda followed by however much vinegar it takes until it stops fizzing. Then follow with water.

If you think you have a problem with build up from baking soda, pour vinegar down the drain and listen for the fizzing. Vinegar will remove scale and lime if it sits next to it long enough so pour straight vinegar down the drain and let it sit for 1/2 hour or so before running water through the drain.

Vinegar will help clear drains on its own because it can clear out some of the grease but I think the foaming action of both baking soda and vinegar works the best at breaking up clogs.

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Susan from ThriftyFun

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 17, 20050 found this helpful

I swear by baking soda and vinegar , used as above. Then after all the fizzing stops run lot hot water down the drain for a few minutes.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 21, 20070 found this helpful

This is the first I have EVER, EVER heard of this. My father taught me to use baking soda and vinegar for years when we had serious clogs both to prevent and to clear. The chemical reaction is better than ANY commercial product, cheaper and NOT harmful to the environment.

Are you sure you weren't paid by Drano and Liquid Plummr to post this?

Editor's Note: Make sure you use vinegar until it stops fizzing, otherwise the baking soda can clog your pipes. Baking soda alone is not a good idea.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 21, 20080 found this helpful

I simply boil water in a couple large stainless steel pots, put a half a cup baking soda in each drain and vinergar in each pot, and then wash it down the drain. Has never given me problems and I know it works because it fizzes up quite a bit.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 21, 20080 found this helpful

I simply boil water in a couple large stainless steel pots, put a half a cup baking soda in each drain and vinergar in each pot, and then wash it down the drain. Has never given me problems and I know it works because it fizzes up quite a bit.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 27, 2008

I need a solution for keeping drains clean. Thank you.

Carleen from Spring Hill, Florida

Answers

May 27, 20080 found this helpful

I pour about 1 cup of soda in the drain followed by about 2 cups of vinegar. When the bubbling has stopped I pour about a tea pot full of boiling water in. Sometimes I stop the drain up with the lever and use a plunger while the soda/vinegar stuff is working and then release the drain and pour hot water in. I do this monthly and it seems to help.

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May 28, 20080 found this helpful

I mark it on my calendar.......The first of every month I put 2 tablespoons of Drano down my kitchen drain and then run water. We have had the worst trouble with that drain clogging fairly regularly, but since I have been doing this for 18 months we've had no more clogs.

Susan in Omaha

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May 28, 20080 found this helpful

Powdered Drano on a monthly basis is the best if you have troublesome drains that clog up with soap scum and hair.

I have little faith in baking soda and vinegar as they bubble with each other, but when they combine, they produce salt water. Boiling water is very good to help keep drains clear, which is why a person's kitchen drains don't clog up nearly as much as bathroom drains.

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May 29, 20080 found this helpful

The Arm and Hammer baking soda and vinegar create carbonic acid which can eat thru most clog creating stuff like hair and food if used weekly or bi-monthly. In addition they kill the drain flies and their eggs and maggots that can come out of the drain. Drano is very bad for the environment as it contains shards of aluminum. As for some of the other ingredients in drano they are: sodium hydroxide, sodium nitrate, sodium chloride, and aluminum. Sodium chloride is table salt which is what one of the ladies above said baking soda and vinegar create which isn't true. Carbonic acid quickly breaks down to nothing but carbon dioxide and water which isn't bad for the environment like drano. Just be careful because of course if you spill baking soda on you and then spill vinegar on you, it will chemically burn you just like drano can. I use it all the time for fresh smelling drains and to kill those pesky drain flies. It also works great in the toilet. Just turn off the water, sprinkle the baking soda 1 cup or 2, and then pour 1 or 2 cups of vinegar quickly. Then pour a pitcher of hot water to rinse everything down. You can followup with straight baking soda to scrub the toilet out or straight vinegar to get hardwater stains. Much safer than using those toxic chemicals that leak toxic fumes into our homes without our knowledge while they are under the sink.

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May 29, 20080 found this helpful

I rarely have drain clogs anymore, and I have a very simple routine. All that I do is every couple of months when I change the baking soda boxes in the fridge and freezer, I put about half of a box in each drain with just a little bit of white vinegar and let it "bubble out" and then rinse by running a bit of hot water through the drain. An ounce of prevention....

Also, about every other week, I clean my coffee pot by running first a pot of clear water with about 1/4 cup of white vinegar in it through the pot, and then running a pot of clear water. When they are done, I of course pour the nearly boiling water down the sink.

Between these two things, which I do as off shoots of other neccesary household chores, my drains stay "clean as a whistle" with no problems!

Good luck! :)

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 3, 20080 found this helpful

You might like to try putting your coffee grounds down the drain.The grounds deodorize and the roughness keeps the drains free of grease.Be sure to rinse them down the drain.

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February 9, 20100 found this helpful

I have a mechanical way to clear a clog. Undo and straighten a metal clothes hanger out to make it a long straight wire. Stick it down the drain and move it around. (It will be too long to go down all the way.) Run water while you do this. clear! A little trickier but works even on the drains that have the permanent stopper that is like a metal plug.

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June 13, 20160 found this helpful

Coffee grounds should NOT be put down the drain-will clog it!

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January 12, 20150 found this helpful

I seem to have a severe problem with clogged drains and don't like to use abrasive methods as I live in old house.

By Sara B.

Answers

January 14, 20150 found this helpful

Drains get clogged for several reasons. One common one in the bathroom is that they get clogged with long hair in the tub. To get that out, sometimes all you have to do is remove the plug and reach down into the drain with something like a small bent wire. Pull out the hair, and you are good to go.

Sometimes all that you need to do to clean out drains is give them a good plunging. This is always the first thing to do when you have a clogged drain, especially in the kitchen. You can use baking soda and hot water in your kitchen drains to clear them out. Use about a cup of baking soda, followed up with boiling water, to activate it. Do not pour vinegar in there, as you will get lovely bubbles, but that is doing nothing for the greasy, soapy clog.

Baking soda reacts with the grease, when activated by the hot water; in fact this is a recipe for soap (and is the reason one uses ammonia to clean dirty ovens). If you put vinegar in there, the baking soda reacts with the vinegar, and doesn't do anything with the clog. People will tell you that it does, but it merely makes carbon dioxide bubbles and nothing more.

If these methods do not clean your drains, you should probably try drano or a similar product. These products, if used as directed, are safe for plumbing. Do not plunge when you have used these products, as they are caustic and can splash up if you do. Kitchen sinks will plug up if people pour grease and such like down the drain. Or if they improperly use a garbage disposal. Avoid doing that, and you should have no trouble.

Some sinks are not plumbed quite right and are prone to clogs. If yours is one of those, you may have to call in a plumber to fix things. Some people maintain that you have to treat your drains every once in awhile to keep them clear, but I have lived in the house I am in for 14 years, and never had a clogged drain.

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January 14, 20150 found this helpful

I have used thin craft wire like you would use when making flower stems bent it at the end to make a little hook and with one slip of the wire into the drain I pulled out a big glob of hair and now the drain drains very well. Hope this works for you.

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January 3, 20140 found this helpful

Any truth that Comet cleanser can clog drains?

By jbe

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