From what I know of the history of the farm, our house was first built in 1929. It has, like many of the buildings here, been added on to and reconfigured by the generations and different families that have been here since then. Since the house is 85 or so years old, and at one point was home to an Amish family, our bathroom is not original. Dan's family did a good job, but sometimes things aren't exactly how you'd like them to be when you have to work around existing structures. One such quirk here is the bathtub drain. It's not as steep as maybe would be best because of joists holding the floor up that had to be worked around. So, even with regularly cleaning out hairballs from the drain, it does tend to clog and drain slowly.
This winter, as you may be sick of hearing about, has been hard on a lot of things. We weren't able to use the outdoor hydrant for much of the winter, which meant that water for the critters needed to come from the house. The easiest way to do so is putting a bucket in the tub and filling it up. Which works just fine, but does tend to get the tub a little grimy. But here, the animals' comfort & care come way before housekeeping. So it's not a surprise that the tub has been getting clogged. Dan is pretty much a genius when it comes to building or fixing anything, so he looked at the drain and got it opened a little more than it was, but I'd still have a few inches of water in the tub by the time I finished showering. It made it hard to clean the tub, too. He said that the pipe was just gunked up, and that we'd have to try to remember to get some drain cleaner next time we go shopping. I mentioned trying to put baking soda down the drain, and pouring vinegar on it. (This creates a foamy reaction, the same kind used to make science project volcanoes in grade schools.) Dan agreed that it surely couldn't hurt, and could very well work like the 2-part foaming drain cleaners.
So I went into the bathroom and packed the drain full of baking soda, then poured some vinegar in. It started to foam, and I was surprised that it mostly stayed in (or went down) the drain instead of foaming up into the tub. Once it receded, I turned on the faucet, and it really seemed to be draining better. Still not great, though, so I repeated the process. I was really happy with the results. I actually thought it worked just as well as regular chemical cleaner! I rinsed it again and the drain cleared beautifully. The chrome parts to the drain were also sparkly clean with absolutely no effort on my part! Yay!
I do lots of things with vinegar, so I buy it by the gallon, for around $3. Throw in some baking soda and it's still less than $5, which is cheaper than most drain cleaners, plus you have lots left over for more cleaning or baking! Saving money is good, but to me it's even nicer that I don't have to worry about toxic chemicals. I like the idea of doing things naturally, and I think other people do too, but it's hard to give up the ease of our chemicals, especially when something more eco-friendly may not do the job as well. And lots of "green" products not only may not work as well, but are actually more expensive in stores than their regular counterparts. It's amazing to find out that hey, Granny may have been right- these old time methods are simple, use common and cheap household products, are friendly to people, pets, and the planet, are less costly than what we are accustomed to using, and they work!
Do you have a good green cleaning tip? We'd love to hear it!