Plumbing in the Home/Home-made scum cleaner


Hello Dana,

I've read of cleaning drainage pipes like the one in the shower or bathtub using vinegar + baking soda. Does that really work? What would be the right mix and procedure? How hot can the flushing water be w/o damaging the drain pipes? I'm not sure but I think they're PVC... Thanks in adavance



Hello Richard,
Yes, this apparently works under the right conditions. The typical instructions are to put about 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, then add 1/2 cup of vinegar and, if possible, plug off the drain so that any pressure that develops will push the debris down the drain rather than back up into the tub.

As for the temperature of the water, most recommend using boiling water but given that you have PVC piping, I would not do that. Typical PVC is only rated for 125F and boiling water might cause a problem, especially if it sits in a trap for too long. Boiling water would be fine on a metallic piping system such as brass tubing, galvanized piping or cast-iron.

Safety Note: Never mix commercial or household cleaners together such as bleach and ammonia or other things like that. Chemical interaction with some of these things can produce very toxic gases that are very hazardous. The reactions between vinegar and baking soda merely produce carbon dioxide I believe so make sure the area is well ventilated.

Good Luck,

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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