How to Keep Your Drains Clear and Clean

Modern Times Feb 16, 2019
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Clogged drains can be a nightmare. Thankfully, there are some ways to protect your drains. If clogs do appear, there are some things you can do to clear them yourself.
The first step to good household drain health is to avoid letting them clog in the first place. While not all clogs are completely preventable, there are some things you can do that will help you avoid the most common problems.

Avoid The Big Four

There are four great enemies of drains, and they are cooking grease, hair, soap scum, and coffee grounds. Grease can congeal as it cools, clogging your drain. Hair gets tangled and collects with other debris to form a clogging mass. Coffee grounds can easily get stuck in solid lumps, and soap scum adheres to the pipes.
Never dump coffee grounds or grease down your sink. Put grease in a can and then throw it away. Put coffee grounds in the garbage or the mulch pile. Use a screen over all your drains to minimize the amount of hair and soap scum that can get down there.

Use Hot Water and Vinegar

Whenever you use your sink, run a bit of hot water down it afterwards. This will keep any oil, food, or soap scum that did get down there from building up along the sides of your pipe.
In addition to using hot water, you can also protect your pipes by putting a cup of vinegar down it occasionally. Vinegar is not suitable for the really difficult clogs, which always require professional drain cleaning, but it can help to prevent clogs. Let the vinegar sit for an hour and then run very hot water down after it.

Avoid the Disposal

A garbage disposal is very convenient, but if its quality is not so good, it won’t really protect your drains. The disposal is supposed to grind up food into particles so small that they can’t cause a problem, but some foods just don’t cooperate.
Avoid putting eggshells, potato skins, coffee grounds, food scraps, oil, or any kind of rice or pasta down the sink, even if you have a disposal.

Protect the Toilet

Toilet clogs are a result of someone flushing something besides toilet paper. Never put any paper products in your toilet, even if they claim to be safe for septic systems.

Children
find toilets fascinating and have been known to flush all kinds of items down. Teach them never to put toys or other items in the toilet and watch them when they are very young.

Cleaning a Clog

If you do get a clog, there are some things you can do to try and fix the problem yourself. 

Use a plunger: A plunger doesn’t just work on the toilet. It can also work on kitchen and bathroom sinks, and you can buy smaller plungers that are better sized for working with these drains.
Put the rubber head of the plunger against the drain and make sure it makes a tight seal. Push all the way down and then pop the head back up five or six times. The water should start to drain at this point.

Use a Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake is a cable with a crank on one end and a grabbing tool on the other. To use it, carefully thread the grabbing end down the pipe until you reach the obstruction. Use the crank to turn the snake.
Once you’ve reached the problem, use the snake to try and hook the clog or break through it. If the clog is mainly grease and soap scum, you may be able to get through. If it’s hair or food, you may be able to pull it out.
If these methods don't work, the best thing is to call a professional plumber to come and take a look at your drains. They can help you get your drains running again. And once they do, be sure to protect your drain from future clogs.