Cleaning Solutions for PVC Pipes

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Clean PVC pipes with baking soda.

PVC pipes are used in homes and commercial buildings for plumbing, heating and cooling ductwork, electricity and telecommunications systems and agricultural irrigation. PVC pipes can clog from time to time, and you will need the appropriate products and pipe cleaning tools if this happens. The other option is to hire and pay a plumber.


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Best Way to Clean PVC Pipe

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is combined with plasticizers and other additives to make it flexible and durable. The pipes are so widely used because they are corrosion- and heat-resistant, lightweight and cost-effective. They are mass produced and used in most residential and commercial plumbing systems in the United States. While PVC pipes are approved by building codes for drain, waste and vent purposes inside homes, you cannot use them for water distribution.

These PVC pipes collect and remove waste, sewer gases and water from showers, toilets, sinks and appliances. The water service line pipes that lead from the street to your home may also be made from PVC. Though you won't want to mess around with those water service lines, you can clean the PVC pipe in your home.


You don't need to take pipes apart to clean them. In fact, the best way to clean PVC pipe is simple. To eliminate grease buildup in the pipes, heat a few gallons of water and then let it cool for about two minutes. Add a couple of drops of dishwashing soap, mix that in and pour it down the drain. If it is still clogged, you need to move on to the next step: using an enzyme drain cleaner.

Using Enzyme Drain Cleaners

Enzyme drain cleaners are ineffective for wholly clogged drains that do not allow water to flow through. They will work on partially clogged drains, though, and are gentler than other kinds of drain cleaners. Enzyme cleaners are noncorrosive on new and old plastic and metal drain pipes and are generally free of harmful toxins. Caustic and acidic drain cleaners are more heavy duty and can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs.


To use any enzyme drain cleaner, follow the directions on the label and never leave it in the drain longer than specified. Stand away from the drain, remove the stopper and pour the drain cleaner slowly and steadily. Flush the drain with clean water and see if the cleaner worked. Remember, though, that mixing enzyme drain cleaners with other materials can be dangerous. Never mix your drain cleaners with anything else when using them.

Pipe Cleaning Tools

Sometimes, an enzyme drain cleaner or another type of cleaner is not enough to clean a clogged PVC pipe. Different kinds of sewer pipe cleaning tools exist, and each one has particular jobs that suit them. One is a water ram, which is helpful for slow-draining and clogged bathtubs. It shoots bursts of compressed air that can travel down the pipeline to knock out stoppages.


Toilet, shower and urinal drains can be unclogged and cleaned out with a closet auger. This tool is made with a flexible spring to get down into a curved pipe. A telescoping auger is even better because it has an extra 3 feet of cable hidden in the handle. Push a button to slide it out.