Clogged drains can be caused by many things, from hair to food, and the more severe the problem, the stronger the chemical you’ll need. Harsh chemicals, however, can be terrible to your drain pipes, especially if they’re PVC. You might have heard vinegar is effective for unblocking drains, but is it okay to use on PVC pipes?
Vinegar won’t hurt PVC pipes. Even though it’s acidic, it won’t generate heat inside the PVC, unlike certain chemical cleaners that potentially melt the pipes. The best way to use vinegar to unclog PVC pipes is to pour it on baking soda down the pipes.
This article will explain the advantage of using vinegar on PVC pipes and if it’s a good solution for unclogging PVC pipes.
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About Vinegar and PVC Pipes
Vinegar is acidic, which means it can be corrosive. That said, you want to be careful when using vinegar with natural materials. On the bright side, vinegar can sometimes be a better solution than all the harsh commercial chemicals for cleaning today.
You can safely use vinegar for cleaning your toilet bowl, bath drain, or shower. Leaving vinegar on these surfaces with a helping of baking soda overnight can help clean them, eliminating mold and mildew. Of course, after rinsing the surfaces with water, the vinegar will eventually end up in your drain pipes, but that’s fine because it’s much better than having harsh chemicals flowing through them, especially if they’re Polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
PVC pipes are popularly used in home plumbing because of their strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness. They’re thermoplastic, which means they’re made of plastic and vinyl. In addition, PVC pipes are resistant to rust and corrosion, so you don’t have to worry about them getting into contact with vinegar.
How Is Vinegar Better Than Cleaning Chemicals?
Many commercial cleaning chemicals are harsh and not suitable for certain pipes, like PVC pipes. While PVC pipes are solid, durable, and resistant to corrosion, they cannot tolerate the chemical reactions from commercial products.
Some commercial chemicals are harmful to PVC pipes because they contain sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, or sodium hydroxide, producing a lot of heat when mixed in water. It’s the heat that’s bad for the PVC pipes because it can damage them when it exceeds a boiling point temperature. PVC pipes are vulnerable to heat and can melt.
So, if you pour these chemicals into your PVC pipes, you risk damaging your pipes. On the other hand, vinegar won’t melt your pipes. It only contains about 4 to 8% acetic acid, which is too little to damage a pipe, anyway.
You might be compelled to pour boiling water after applying vinegar/vinegar with baking soda to your pipes. Many people have successfully unclogged their pipes using boiling water. That’s great, but you might want to think twice before doing that because PVC is plastic, meaning boiling water can melt it.
You can use vinegar on your PVC pipes, and it will not damage the pipes. Vinegar will not hurt your PVC pipes because, although acidic, vinegar’s acidity is not high enough to hurt pipes. Some cleaning chemicals have sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, or sodium hydroxide, which are terrible for PVC pipes due to their heat, which can melt the pipes.