Is It Safe to Pour Vinegar Down the Drain

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Vinegar is one of the best and least expensive things we have. It’s safe, natural and can clean anything from fruits and vegetables to stainless steel sinks and hair. So, it’s natural to assume that you can pour it down the drain too.

Well, is it safe to pour vinegar down the drain? Vinegar is entirely fine to pour down the drain. However, it’s acidic nature can present some problems depending on the age and wear on the pipes. But, all-in-all, it shouldn’t damage your plumbing regardless of the material.

Should You Pour Vinegar Down the Drain?

While it is very safe to pour vinegar down the drain, you should only do this in very sparing amounts. This means it will be fine on pipes made of pex, copper, steel, pvc and etc. The vinegar won’t harm the plumbing system.

But, you want to also use water after it so that it dilutes. This will avoid any mishaps with the acidity eating away at the pipes. Regardless, the vinegar’s acidity will remove gunk, slime and grime from the inner walls of your pipes. It truly has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars on commercial products and plumbers.

Will Vinegar Work to Unclog Drains or Is It Better for Maintenance?

Vinegar does wonders on slow moving drains but it’s not good for an entirely clogged and backed up one. In some cases, you’ll have to combine it with something like baking soda to get the best results.

Two Methods

However, if you pour about a ½ bottle of vinegar (16 oz) down the drain every three months, it will keep things going down smoothly. Let this sit for about 10 minutes and run the hot water from the faucet to dilute the vinegar.

If you’re looking for something with a little more strength behind it, you can use a whole cup of vinegar. Then, allow this to sit for a full 30 minutes. Let the hot water run from the faucet for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add a Little Scent

In the event you don’t like way the vinegar smells, you can take a quarter slice of lemon or lime juice (or other citrus) and either include it with the vinegar or put it in before you pour the water down.

Can You Mix Baking Soda ; Vinegar to Pour Down the Drain?

Homeowners and plumbers alike recommend using vinegar and baking soda together. They swear by its ability  to unclog stubborn drains or as a maintenance agent for clearing the plumbing system. And it’s effective too.

So, yes, you can pour a blend of baking soda and vinegar down the drain in small, deliberate amounts. Don’t pour half a box of baking soda and a 16 oz bottle of vinegar thinking you’re going to get the best results. This is a prime situation for the old adage, “less is better.”

Simple Recipe

Here’s a simple recipe for mixing a vinegar-baking soda solution to unclog a slow drain:

  • ½ Cup baking soda
  • ½ Cup white distilled vinegar
  • Mix in a small bowl and pour it down the drain. Allow this to sit for 30 minutes and then flush your drain with three gallons of scalding hot boiled water.

About Old Drains ; Plumbing

However, you want to understand something about using baking soda and vinegar down the drain. If you have old pipes that you know are rusting, then you’re going to have to refrain from using it. This will cause more damage and create more problems than you hope to solve.

If they’re really bad, even hot boiling water will not save you. The reaction that happens between vinegar and baking soda doesn’t have any pressure behind it. This means there won’t be enough force to blast a clog through the pipes.

This will be particularly troublesome on “J” and “U” joints. In some cases, it will build up there and create a clogged plumbing nightmare of its own. This is why many plumbers are trepidatious about recommending the mixture.

Owning vs. Renting

So, if you own your house, it’s best to contact a plumber and have them give your system a good look-see. Listen to their recommendations while making a point to ask about using vinegar and baking soda. You can always get a second opinion if you have any doubts.

For those who live in an apartment or other rental-type situation, contact the building’s maintenance or your property manager to see what they recommend. However, there may be something written in your lease or your signed an additional paper about how to operate plumbing mishaps.

Final Thoughts

So, while using vinegar down the drain is entirely fine in most situations, you want to exercise a little caution when doing it. It is acidic in nature and it does eat away at things. While this is good and sort of what you want to have happened inside your pipes, older systems may suffer from it.

In this case, it’s fine to use, make sure you always follow a pouring of vinegar down the drain with hot to boiling water. Also, be sure to only use a small amount every few months or so. The same is true for when you want to blend a little baking soda with vinegar. But ensure you use scalding hot boiling water to flush it.