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Name: Robert D.
Status: educator
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 7/12/2004

Hello, I have read many of the questions about baking soda and vinegar, and many of my questions were answered already (thank you). I am, however, still not quite sure what it is that helps improve drainage in a slow-draining sink using these two household items. Does the sodium acetate play any role in breaking down the gunk in the drain, or is it just the carbon dioxide gas that is helping dislodge it? Thank you very much.

Certainly the evolution of CO2 will help dislodge residue in the pipes, and if the two components are added sequentially the change in pH from pH << 7 to pH >> 7 will aid in dissolving basic materials and acidic materials, respectively. Otherwise I am not sure what specific benefit vinegar and baking soda offers for sink drains.

Vince Calder

I would assume it is just the stirring, forced percolation, and expelling action of the CO2 and foam. If sodium acetate has any soapy action, it would become apparent mostly with soaking time after the CO2 action is long gone. Excess vinegar would donate a few percent of acetic acid, which is a solvent with some properties in common with the solvents added to the most aggressive grease-cutting dish-washing detergents.

Jim Swenson

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