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Old 15-11-2015, 16:45   #1
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Vinegar for cleaning head?

I have heard recently both pro and con opinions about using vinegar to clean discharge hoses for the head. Regular flushing of some vinegar is supposed to help reduce scale build up and odour. I have also heard of testing this by soaking pipes in vinegar with no apparent benefit. Does anyone have a tried and true maintenance regime or are we just assuming the vinegar works?
Thanks.
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Old 15-11-2015, 17:09   #2
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

True, vinegar works.
Don't be shy, pour it in there with cheap vegetable oil to lubricate.
(Turns into a Salad dressing)

Worked for me over the years and previous owner did the same.

The Head Mistress however said to not use the above cocktail.
Whatever, just pump the hoses clean after every pee-pee and every poo-poo.
At least 10 or 12 strokes on the handle.
Change your hoses to series 141, heavy duty stuff. Also changed my bilge pump hoses to the same 141. Called Tiger Flex or some such thing.
I lived on boats. Head maintenance is a big thing.
30 years ago I removed and overhauled the Wilcox Critenden "Skipper" head every 6 months to overhaul and clean it.
More recently I had a PH II manual head on my CSY sailboat.
Strong and easy to maintain, every 2 years or so. Plenty spare parts around and overall a good design.
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Old 15-11-2015, 17:25   #3
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

To keep new hoses clean it may work, to flush out old hoses, not that well.
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Old 15-11-2015, 17:32   #4
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

It is pretty much useless - an old, unexamined meme.

The best thing you can do for your head is to make the discharge hose as short as possible with a constant slope to the endpoint, and to flush very well after each use.

Lube with SuperLube synthetic grease whenever things are sticky or squeaky - vegetable oil is another old, unexamined meme.

If the hoses do become calcified or permeated, replace them. Banging them on a dock to make them good as new is another old, unexamined meme. PVC pipe is cheaper and lasts longer if you can make the run work.

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Old 15-11-2015, 17:48   #5
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

I've used both vinegar and vegetable oil. I didn't conduct anything resembling a scientific experiment but they seemed to keep things working.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
-----
If the hoses do become calcified or permeated, replace them. Banging them on a dock to make them good as new is another old, unexamined meme. ----
Mark
As good as new? No. Make them work better again? Yes.
That may be an old meme, but as far as I personally am concerned, it's not unexamined.

Having said all that, we now have a composting head lol.
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Old 15-11-2015, 19:05   #6
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Quote:
. The best thing you can do for your head is to make the discharge hose as short as possible with a constant slope to the endpoint, and to flush very well after each use.
Yeah good idea: Most of us keep installing hoses that are longer than needed: Honey, we got another $60 in the pocket, let's buy a long hose so we can have fun wrestling it inside the head area and uh, screw the constant slope.

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Quote:
. to flush very well after each use.
flush very well after each use.
Guests may not, unless they were briefed good.
I sure brief my guests good and they are well aware that if they break something, they fix something.
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Old 15-11-2015, 19:10   #7
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
To keep new hoses clean it may work, to flush out old hoses, not that well.
Exactly. Vinegar can't CLEAN anything...but vinegar-distilled white vinegar, not cider--applied regularly ...but will PREVENT mineral buildup...and will also dissolve it, but that's such a slow process that it's more time and trouble than it's worth...almost as much trouble as removing hoses and beating 'em on the dock. Muriatic (hydrochloric) acid is the quickest cure for buildup.

Adding oil with the vinegar doesn't help...it just dilutes the vinegar. Oil isn't worth much as a toilet pump lube either because it--or anything that's thin enough to flush--just washes out again in a few flushes. A healthy squirt of thick teflon or silicon grease directly into the pump will last for months.

Early piston cylinder toilet pumps had leather valves etc...leather soaks up oil, a couple of tablespoons of it when the toilet could sit for a few hours kept toilets working smoothly for month. But over time leather gave way to rubber and neoprene, which don't soak up oil or anything else...whatever comes in contact with them just washes away. But because pouring something into the bowl is easier than removing a few screws to take the top off the pump, or the pump off its base, people still pour oil down the toilet.
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Old 15-11-2015, 19:16   #8
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Quote:
. Exactly. Vinegar--distilled white vinegar, not cider--applied regularly will PREVENT mineral buildup...and will also dissolve it,
Exactly

As for vegetable oil lubing the pump?
Yes, it will.
Teflon is probably better, but for a short fix, veggie oil works.
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Old 15-11-2015, 21:01   #9
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Time goes by and things change. White vinegar and cider vinegar work the same. its not the vinegar itself that does the work it is the acid in the vinegar that removes the calcium build up. I always had an old boat so vinegar and vegetable oil kept my toilet working perfect and smelling good for the ten years i was using it. The first week I had it I went through and rebuilt all the plumbing. Mac
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Old 15-11-2015, 21:04   #10
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Yup and yup, I agree.
It worked.
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Old 15-11-2015, 21:09   #11
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
Exactly

As for vegetable oil lubing the pump? Yes, it will. Teflon is probably better, but for a short fix, veggie oil works.
As long as you don't mind using it every couple of weeks instead only once or twice a year......
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Old 15-11-2015, 21:27   #12
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

...Its not the vinegar itself that does the work it is the acid in the vinegar that removes the calcium build up.

Correct...which is why distilled white vinegar works so much better. It's actually a LOT more acidic than cider. Acidity is measured as a pH value...the lower the pH, the more acid the vinegar is...Distilled white vinegar usually measures around pH 2.4...apple cider vinegar will have a pH of about 4.25 to 5.0.
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Old 15-11-2015, 21:32   #13
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

It's acetic acid that is in the vinegar and we often add a dollop of vinegar at the end of a flush. I'm not too concerned about how effective it may be to reduce scale. I usually replace my short run to the holding tank and the joker valve every five years. I do like the occasional use of the vinegar for the odor control. It does keep the head smelling good!
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Old 15-11-2015, 21:35   #14
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

Quote:
As long as you don't mind using it every couple of weeks instead only once or twice a year......
________
Aye Ms. Peggy.

A squart down the head now and then is just fine.
I use Teflon on the piston rod and it will last a long time. As for the piston ring, it goes dry after a short time with the salt water and urine being pumped out 4-5 times a day.

I read your book and followed your expertise for a while, hat off to you.
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Old 15-11-2015, 23:05   #15
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Re: Vinegar for cleaning head?

We used vinegar and bicarb for many years but now straight to CLR - no mess, no smell and no scale. But agree with others, ensure a long flush every time.
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