Home /
Search 🔍
the Site
pub Where the world gathers for
plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989


Chemical cleaning of house piping


Does any one know of a method to chemically clean the house copper piping in lieu of re-piping? We have noticed considerable flow restriction to toilet units due to calcium buildup inside the pipes. I was told that vinegar is one of the possible chemicals since it is effective and environmentally safe.

George Beigie
- Irvine, CA


I can attest that vinegar does a fine job of speeding up the flow in coffee makers. By extension I would expect it to do a good job on hot water piping. But whether cold vinegar would have enough activity, that I don't know. Talk your customers into hot water toilets :-)

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



First off, I'd go to various plumbing outfits and get THEIR recommendations.

Secondly, if you do use a very weak acid like vinegar (or the same but nice and strong called acetic acid), make sure you turn on all the taps etc until you notice 'it' coming through.

Thirdly, especially if you are using a true acid (HCl, sulphuric) you MUST flush the system down after 5 minutes and simultaneously pour in an alkaline like Sodium Bicarbonate to neutralize the acid. Then give a nice long flush.

If you leave the 'acid' in too long, it could damage the copper piping.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).

anoplex banner

(No "dead threads" here! If this page isn't currently on the Hotline your Q, A, or Comment will restore it)

Q, A, or Comment on THIS thread -or- Start a NEW Thread

Disclaimer: It's not possible to fully diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations might be harmful.

If you are seeking a product or service related to metal finishing, please check these Directories:

Chemicals &
Consult'g, Train'g
& Software

About/Contact    -    Privacy Policy    -    ©1995-2023 finishing.com, Pine Beach, New Jersey, USA