‘Ineffective’ Why you should ‘never’ use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain

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White vinegar and baking soda used for cleaning oven glass

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Baking soda and vinegar are buzzwords in the world of cleaning, both hailed for their multi-purpose uses around the home. When combined, many people recommend them as a method for cleaning clogged drains. However, one expert has warned residents to “never” try this hack.

Posting on her blog BrenDid, eco-friendly cleaning expert Bren dubbed the hack “ineffective”.

Combining vinegar and baking soda creates a chemical reaction that can be used to break up stains.

However, when it comes to cleaning your drain, the reaction can do little to match a major clog.

The two ingredients will initially combine to break up the particles found on the surface of the drain, but by the time they make it down the drain the reaction will already be complete, so they will have no effect on unblocking your drains.

In a bid to prove her theory, Bren conducted an experiment which she posted on her blog, showing the effect baking soda and vinegar had on a fat-based substance which is commonly found in drain blockages.

She also compared the baking soda solution with dish detergent and hot water.

After five minutes, Bren said the greasy clog in the bowl of hot water and detergent was completely melted and would have easily drained away.

She added: “However, the greasy clog in the bowl of vinegar and baking soda was unchanged, although it was coated in vinegar and baking soda.”

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Though baking soda and vinegar can create pressure when combined, this only occurs when they are in a closed container.

This is because the CO2 being created has nowhere to escape.

But this is not the case when it comes to your drains.

Bren explained: “The baking soda/vinegar reaction created in a drain or household plumbing system does not take place in a closed system so pressure can’t build up enough to blast a clog out of the pipes.”

She added: “The CO2 being created but the baking soda/vinegar reaction can escape though the plumbing vent system, holes in your drain or drain cover, or spaces in the clog.”

What other ways can I clean my drain?

If you want to unclog your drain without using harsh chemicals, there are a number of enzyme-based drain cleaners that can work to get rid of tough blockages.

These eco-friendly cleaners contain enzymes and bacteria that eat through the organic material in the clog to clear your drain.

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