Clogged drains are a major complaint from homeowners, and it’s easy to see why. Sinks collect our dishes and scraps of food, leftover cleaning products, soap, and hair. While some of us make the obvious mistake of tossing garbage down the drain – which can cause an immediate clog – others discover the effects of an uncleared drain over time, after months or years of residue slowly but steadily builds up in our pipes.
Keeping your drain free of obstructions is essential to allowing your sink to provide the proper flow and quality of water. For this reason, we are happy to offer you a few simple steps to help you keep your drain clear and functioning optimally.
Your kitchen sink collects scraps of food, grease and other food-related unmentionables. For a healthy kitchen sink drain, be sure to:
- Dispose of cooking grease rather than pouring it down the drain.
- Toss coffee grounds in the garbage or your compost pile. Never dispose of them in your sink.
- Place a drain grate or basic screen over the opening of your drain to minimize issues. Screens of this kind will help you avoid buildup of hair, soap scum, and any debris that could make its way into your drain and halt the flow of your water.
Bathroom Sink and Shower Drain
Your bathroom is your private sanctuary, a place where you can take care of personal maintenance, including shaving, trimming your hair, plucking eyebrows, brushing teeth, and applying makeup. When going about these essential functions, be sure to keep these tips in mind:
- When shaving: Rather than stopping the sink drain and rinsing your razor in the pooled water, use a bowl. The problem with using your sink or shower is that the act of draining the water when you finish drags your shaved hair and shaving cream scum down into the drain, causing immediate or built-up clogs.
- Use a drain grate on your shower drain to keep those long strands of hair or soap scum out of the drain.
Remedies for All Types of Drains
If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then a little drain maintenance can save you major hassle down the line. Consider performing these tasks regularly to keep your drain flowing and odor-free:
- Run hot water after use: Flushing your drain with hot water can help keep oil from sticking to the walls of your drain and help prevent cooking-related clogs.
- Use vinegar: Vinegar contains acetic acid, a natural solvent that helps to remove buildup inside your pipes. Empty one cup of vinegar into your drain. After 30 minutes, flush it down with hot water.
- Don’t forget baking soda: Baking soda is an important part of any home-cleaning regimen, especially regarding your drains. Pour half a cup of this wonder-powder into your drain and flush it with hot water to absorb odor and clean the inside of your pipes.
Warning: Drain cleaners may unclog your pipes in a jiffy, but it is very likely that the clog will return, worse than ever. Drain cleaners, when used in large quantities, can be corrosive and often merely break a hole in the clog, rather than wiping it out entirely. If you have used drain clog removers repeatedly and fear that a large clog has formed, contact an experienced plumber to assess the situation and remove the blockage before the situation worsens.
Few people love to clean their drains. However, routine maintenance of this essential aspect of your plumbing will give your pipes a long life and prevent those pesky clogs that threaten the cleanliness and order of your home.