If you’re on TikTok, you know that it’s more than just dance videos and viral challenges. It’s also full of useful cleaning, organizing, and DIY tips. And a cleaning hack recently posted by TikToker @sorryimannie has gone viral because of its ability to unclog even the most backed-up drains using only baking soda and vinegar (via Insider). The video, which has over 2 million views, is being hailed by cleaning professionals as an alternative to harsher drain cleaners.
The simple trick involves pouring boiling water down the drain to begin to loosen up the clog, then adding baking soda and vinegar to finish the job. It’s an especially effective way to clear out clogs caused by fats and grease without having to run out to the store to buy a jug of strong chemicals. When fats that are solid at room temperature are heated, they turn into liquids. A good example of this is bacon fat. When you’re done cooking bacon, what’s left is a pan full of grease. If you pour that down your drain, it will quickly cool and turn into a solid again (via Water Use It Wisely). Combine that with any other food scraps that you wash off of your dishes, and you’ve got yourself a clog.
The science behind the hack
After you’ve loosened the clog, the next step is to pour and pack regular baking soda into your drain (via Insider). Then it’s time to add the vinegar. Remember those science experiments with the erupting volcano? Well get ready to relive your elementary school days. When you take sodium bicarbonate, also known baking soda, and add acetic acid, aka vinegar, a chemical reaction occurs (via Science Notes). What you’re left with is water and a whole bunch of carbon dioxide bubbles. The pressure from those bubbles is what forces the clog through the drain and out of the system.
Just to be sure you’ve gotten everything flowing smoothly again, professional cleaner Bailey Carson recommends waiting about ten minutes and then pouring a little more boiling water down the drain to flush out whatever is left (via Insider). Want to avoid clogs in the first place? Next time you need to get rid of grease, pour it into a container and throw it in the trash instead of dumping it down your sink. Luckily, baking soda and vinegar are household items that can usually be found in your kitchen cabinet, so there’s no need to worry about coming in contact with dangerous chemicals or breathing in harmful fumes. The baking soda and vinegar hack may not smell great, but it gets the job done with just a little bit of patience and a whole lot of science.
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