Cleaning the drains, naturally.

A blocked drain is a pain in the backside. It’s often quite disgusting to clean (we wash things away for a reason after all) and can be smelly, not to mention the inconvenience of a sink full of backed up water and gunk.

Our drains here drain less readily and block up easier than they did in Spotswood. I’ve been much better at using the plug strainer (for lack of a better word) to make sure I’m not washing the big pieces of food, paper, peelings and all the rest down into the drain. It’s on the whole compostable and that’s where that gunk goes. Rather than down the drain. But, despite my best efforts the sink was taking its sweet time to drain, evidence of at least a partial blockage.

The plunger has been packed and is yet to be unpacked, a fact we had discovered last night with a partially blocked toilet (toilet training and kids with toilet paper to blame there) so I couldn’t just give it a plunge or 3 and be on my merry way. Also, it’s unlikely to solve the entire issue as I reckon there is probably food fats down there gluing the gunk together. I wanted to remove all of that, not clear a total blockage.

TV commercials would have us believe that we can buy a bottle of chemicals from the supermarket and tip either the powder or gel down the sink which will in turn, dissolve these fats and oils and clear away the gunk. They are right as far as it goes… It will clear your drain in all likelihood doing this BUT the problem is, what happens to the chemicals then? Inevitably they end up back in nature and their toxicity doesn’t stop the second they’re washed away. Whilst it may no longer affect my family and I, it does continue to impact further down the line and I don’t want or need that on my conscience. So I made my own drain cleaner. 🙂

It requires 2 ingredients, both of which I can almost guarantee you will have in your house. 🙂 Yep, our dear friends Sodium bicarbonate and acetic acid. Yup, bicarb and vinegar. Just bear in mind that all vinegars are not created equal (see here for a great post on vinegar and how it’s made). In order to dodge this I use white wine vinegar (it’s dearer but a lot more potent) which works a treat. Now I’m sure you’ve all seen the reaction between vinegar and bicarb before. If you haven’t, picture a fully erupting volcano of white. Mixing them together causes LOTS of bubbles and froth and hissing bubbly noises and it’s as fun as can be too. 😀 Not sure who enjoyed themselves more, the kids or I. 😛 Anyway, I removed the plug and filled the plug cavity with bicarb. Then the fun bit! 😛 I tipped a huge slug of vinegar into the sink. When it met the bicarb it did its little chemical reaction thingy and cleared slowly down the drain. ok, not enough. Repeat all steps… Bubble bubble fizz fizz, drain away much faster. Still not 100% cleared so repeat again. This time I gave the sink a scrub at the same time so now I have a nice shiny sink, cleared drains and entertained kids. When it had all drained quickly away I washed it down with hot water which will also help melt off any remaining fats and grease.

I know that large amounts of acid are probably not great down the drains but I do know that they are a damned sight better than any drain cleaning toxic rubbish sold in supermarkets. It’s also cheaper and easier. Who wants to have to go to the supermarket just to get drain cleaner?

No photos this time but do you really want to see a picture of my kitchen sink? 😉

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7 thoughts on “Cleaning the drains, naturally.

  1. I’ve done this before just to deodorize a stinky drain and it worked great. Much better than a sink full of toxic chemicals!

  2. compostwoman says:

    Personally i WOULD HAVE loved to have seen a photo 🙂

  3. Sandy says:

    Great post. I’ll definitely give that a go. We moved to acreage just over a year ago and you get very picky about what you put down your drain as it stays on the property.

  4. Kylie A. says:

    I LOVE bi-carb and vinegar, use it to clean almost anything – soap scum from shower doors, sinks, baths etc. is the best – so many uses for these two products which are cheap and better for our own health and the health of our environment. Great Blog post Jessie!!

  5. […] Drain Cleaner Is Indicative of the (Sustainability) ProblemDangers in the household.Cleaning the drains, naturally. […]

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