"Green" cleaning products: Drain openers

The sink in the upstairs bathroom clogs constantly. At least 3 times per year it becomes completely stopped up, and we then decide it's time to do something about it. Usually "something" involves buying several bottles of Drano or Liquid Plumr to blast the clog into oblivion. Usually it takes 3 or 4 applications before the drain is completely clear. This time, I decided to try something a little less... hazardous. Traditional drain openers can be bad for cast iron pipes, which is what our waste pipe is made of. Drain openers also contain very harsh chemicals like hydrochloric or sulpheric acid. Stuff like that will kill the good bacteria in the cesspool and slow the process of breaking down household waste. The chemicals will also leach into the soil.

The traditional method is to use baking soda and vinegar, so I decided to give that a try.

I dumped probably 1/2 cup of baking soda directly into the drain, then added about a quart of vinegar (slowly). It started to bubble up over the top of the drain, so I gave it 1 plunge with the plunger. The result was instantaneous: no more clog. I waited a minute or so to let the mixture work its way down the pipe, then flushed the drain with hot water for about 5 minutes.

Not only did it work better than commercial drain cleaner, it was cheaper too!

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