Homemade drain cleaner

!! In Progress !!

If you have a slow drainage in the kitchen or bathroom and it is due to a clogg in a siphon, then you should absolutely try this house wife’s recipe:

  1. Pour some baking soda or hydrocarbonate into the drainage.
  2. (Optional) Pour some table salt into the drainage.
  3. Pour some vinnegar or other source of acetic acid into the drainage.
  4. Wait for five to ten minutes to let the reaction work on the clog.
  5. Now flush the frain pipe (on the inside) with a couple of liters of boiling water. I actually just opened up the hot water tap on it.

This will cause a reaction between the baking soda and the acetic acid that sound dramatic. The fizzling and boiling sound is, however, just the carbon dioxide, $\ce{CO2}$, being released. It doesn’t damage anything.

The reaction is even endothermic so it rather cooles the system, or immediate environment, rather than heats it up.

What happens?

The reaction from mixing baking powder ((\ce{NaHCO3})) and acetic acid ((\ce{CH3COOH})) proceeds in two steps. In the first step baking powder looses the sodium for a hydrogen ion and the acid picks up the sodium ion.

The resulting products are sodiumacetate and carbon acid. In the next step

and together we have

Why does this work?

  1. The release of gas within the clog may loosen it up.
  2. The acidity of the acetic acid as well as the carbon dioxide also help dissolve the clog.
  3. Rinsing with hot water gives adduction/convection, i.e. it drags solids with it as it runs through the pipes. The temperature of the water melts fatty compounds in the clog which destabilizes it.

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