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Here's the story of my day:

  1. Water in my kitchen sink started pouring out very very slowly.
  2. I checked all the pipes, one by one, directly under my kitchen sink. One of them was clogged with grease. I cleaned it and put it all back together.
  3. The water kept outpouring slowly so I used my 5-meter drain snake. I hit 3 obstacles on the way with it, the last one I could not break because it's 5m deep and that's as far as the snake goes in. Judging by the residue on the snake, the obstacles were also grease.

Question(s):

How do I proceed with the unclogging?

Do I get a 10-meter snake and hope that's enough? Do I pour boiling water/vinegar mix into the pipes? Can I safely pour boiling water down the drain? Or, if I call a plumber, what will they do?

3
  • What material are your drain pipes? PVC or ABS or some other plastic? Copper, brass? Something else?
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 3, 2022 at 21:29
  • I honestly have no clue. Is there a way to find out somehow? By the way the drain snake "sounded" in there, I would not say they are of any type of metal. Rather plastic.
    – lesssugar
    Jun 3, 2022 at 21:37
  • Baking soda + Vinegar create bubbling (mechanical) reaction. Both are safe for your drain.
    – Traveler
    Jun 3, 2022 at 23:22

2 Answers 2

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Your chemical of choice (vinegar) is the wrong direction. You want a base to saponify grease (turn it to soap.)

Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) is mild and safe and slow. Sodium carbonate (washing soda) is a bit stronger. Sodium hydroxide (lye) is very strong, can take your skin off, and can harm your pipes, depending on what your pipes are made of.

Most "drain cleaners" are something tending towards lye, with various additives (for instance, to mitigate harm to pipes.) Read the ingredients.

You could, however, start with hot (not boiling) water and baking soda that's likely already in your kitchen. If you have an automatic dishwasher, the detergent used in those is often quite strongly basic (and may even contain lye) as well.

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  • Thank you! Any specific water/baking soda ratio you'd recommend or is 1:1 a good start?
    – lesssugar
    Jun 3, 2022 at 21:38
  • 1
    Just make sure it fully dissolves before pouring. You don't want to pour a slurry of undissolved stuff (that might help to plug it further) into your problem drain. Then leave it to work for a while (overnight or while away at work, as applicable) and reapply when you'll not be using the drain for some hours again. Does not need to be a huge amount, since most excess will just go further down the drain rather than affecting your clog.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jun 3, 2022 at 21:44
1

My proven recipe

Baking Soda - - 3 to 4 cups

Water - 1 cup to distribute it

add Vinegar (30%) - 1 cup only, pour slowly

Watch the high foaming reaction, that might loosen some grease.

Repeat if necessary

This mix is also used successfully on cloged toiles

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  • Doesn't the vinegar (acid) just cancel the cleaning power of the baking soda (base)?
    – RetiredATC
    Jun 4, 2022 at 3:40
  • @RetiredATC actualy it does not, it is rather violent reaction, try it and be ammased
    – Traveler
    Jun 4, 2022 at 4:41
  • I've done the vinegar and baking soda thing many times. My question was, is the resultant liquid so neutral as to not have any cleansing ability that a straight acid or base would have.
    – RetiredATC
    Jun 4, 2022 at 5:34
  • @RetiredATC you are right, I am counting on the mechanical reaction (bubbles) to loosen some.
    – Traveler
    Jun 4, 2022 at 5:38
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    @lesssugar either way will work, you can flush it premixed with water, just not too much water, you do not want it to go too far down the drain, for vinegar to get to it. Do a small experiment in a bucket with small amounts to see the reaction
    – Traveler
    Jun 4, 2022 at 18:56

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