Why you should never use vinegar and baking soda to unclog a drain – according to experts

Rarely, professional cleaners are warning us not to use vinegar and baking soda for a common household cleaning task: unblocking our drains.

But why? Given that vinegar cleaning And clean with baking soda has become so popular in recent years thanks to its powerful degreasing effects and deodorizing properties, it’s surprising to hear that it can actually do more harm than good when it comes to our plumbing.

We spoke with professional cleaners and plumbers to find out why you should never use vinegar and baking soda to unclog a drain, and what we should do instead.

Why you shouldn’t use vinegar and baking soda to unclog a drain

That you are unclog a sinkOr unclog a bathroom drain, vinegar has already been touted as an effective way to get the water flowing again. However, while it remains an excellent air freshener for the occasional freshen up of our plumbing, repeated use can weaken the integrity of our plumbing.

Here’s why.

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1. It’s not strong enough to clear clogs

Vinegar and baking soda react powerfully when combined, forming a fizzy chemical reaction. However, this effect is often not strong enough to actually remove stubborn clogs that cause a slow drain from a sink, shower or bath, Nick Valentino, of groom said, making your drains one of the few things not to clean with vinegar.

“Vinegar on its own is great for everyday cleaning. This will wipe up the spill on your counter and get those messes off your floor, especially if you scrub. However, it’s definitely not strong enough to fight heavy food particles and microbial growth in a kitchen drain.

Although you may have better luck with a combination of baking soda and vinegar, it is best to use Dran-O, available at Targetor another chemical drain cleaner if your drain is clogged.

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2. It can damage the rubber seals

Vinegar is generally considered a mild cleaning agent, however, it’s worth remembering that it’s still an acid and can wear down the rubber seals on your pipes over time – especially when combined and reacted with baking soda, warns Ralph Abundo, director of operations. specialist at Canberra Bindings Cleanup.

As you should never pour salt down your drainto avoid damage, avoiding combining baking soda and vinegar can prevent leaks and other damage that plagues your kitchen over time, says Ralph.

3. It can corrode old pipes

It is not only necessary to pay attention to the rubber seals when unclogging the drains. Vinegar and baking soda can also damage plumbing, especially old pipes that haven’t been replaced in several years, adds Mark Morris, a freelance master plumber who currently consults with Deluxe Plumbers.

“Some homes, especially older ones, may have metal pipes. Constant use of acidic solutions, such as vinegar, can accelerate the corrosion of these metal pipes, leading to weakened integrity and potential ruptures or leaks over time. The reaction between baking soda and vinegar can also produce salt, which can further contribute to the corrosion process. Regular use of these substances can therefore inadvertently reduce the life of your plumbing infrastructure.


What happens if you put too much baking soda down a drain?

If you put too much baking soda down the drain on a clog, it can stay on the clog and become a solid mass as it is subjected to more and more water. This will worsen the blockage and make it even more difficult to remove. Instead, consider using a commercial drain cleaner and deodorizer, designed to help remove grease and hair clogs, and freshen smelly drains.

Do salt and boiling water unclog drains?

Salt and boiling water aren’t great drain cleaners or deodorizers and are best avoided if you have a slow-draining sink. Instead, consider a commercial unblocker and rinse with boiling water after the recommended wait time to help free your pipes of blockages and bad odors.

Just as there are many reasons why your sink may not drain, there are several great solutions that won’t further damage your plumbing, says Anglea Rubin, cleaning expert at Hellamaid. “For a more reliable approach, consider using a plunger or drain snake to physically dislodge clogs. Enzyme-based cleaners are also gentle on drains and good at breaking down organic matter,” she advises.

The best approach is to avoid blockages altogether, she adds: “To avoid blockages in the first place, consider using drain strainers, on Amazon, to catch hair and debris before they enter. in the pipes. Regularly flushing the drains with hot water can help prevent buildup, and it’s essential to avoid getting grease down the drain.

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