Bacteria go down the drain


January 21, 1996|By Elizabeth Large

Everyone has one: a drain that never stays clear for long. Ours is the bathtub, and when the plumber came last time he talked us into a product called Bio-Clean, sold only through plumbers. Believe it or not, this is a jar of bacteria, grown in incubators, dried and mixed with "enzymes and other helpers." You put a tablespoon in a pint of water and pour it down the drain every night for five nights. The bacteria sit in your pipes, eat waste matter (here comes the important part if you have a teen-age daughter) including hair, and keep your pipes clear in an environmentally friendly way.

So far so good. Our drain is working amazingly well. The bad news: Bio-Clean isn't cheap. But the jar we bought for $40 should last well into the next century. (You have to add a maintenance dose once a month.) The other bad news: No cleaners containing bleach, mouthwash or other bacteria-killing agents are allowed. Acceptable cleaners include Spic and Span and Formula 409. The mouthwash, of course, isn't a problem with our bathtub drain.

Buy now

Run, don't walk, to your nearest flea market or curio shop. The January/February issue of Metropolitan Home lists these treasures as the 10 hottest collectibles right now; in the blink of an eye they'll be out of our price range:

L 1) Industrial folk art, such as metal molds for rubber dolls

2) Disco balls, which are just surfacing at flea markets, according to Met Home

3) Kindergarten toys -- the ultimate being circa 1900 Playskool items with the label intact

4) Vintage surfboards (1960s handmade fiberglass boards)

5) American flint glass, a substitute for expensive cut glass in the 19th century

6) Secret society furnishings from fraternal orders like the Masons

7) Museum and gallery posters, particularly those promoting modern artists

8) Schoolhouse furnishings -- from desks to pull-down maps

9) Space-age toys inspired by Sputnik and the Apollo missions

10) Contemporary fashion illustration

On the Home Front welcomes interesting tidbits of home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, On the Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Or fax to (410) 783-2519.

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