Few plumbing problems are more common or more frustrating than drain clogs. There is never a convenient time for this. Drains in the kitchen clog most often because of grease buildup that leads to trapping food particles. Clogs in the bathroom are most often the result of hair and soap build up. Drains can typically be cleared fairly easily, but taking a few simple precautions will aid in preventing drain clogs.
- Proper removal of kitchen waste WILL keep sink drain clogs to a minimum.
- Do not pour grease down the kitchen sink.
- Do not pour coffee grounds down the sink.
- Do not feed your sink food – it doesn’t get hungry.
It’s a common misconception that because a sink has a garbage disposal, that you can put most anything down it and the garbage disposal will take care of it. The garbage disposal is there to help break down food particles that slip down the sink accidentally. If food items like potato peels, carrot peels, strawberry stems, etc. are consistently fed down the sink, these ground up particles will slowly build up and and clog the pipe. The garbage disposal won’t be able to save you now.
Bathroom Sinks and Bath Tubs
Clean the drain strainers. Some showers and tubs have strainers that are screwed into the drain opening. Unscrew these strainers and use a wire to clear out built up debris – and it does build up, you just can’t always see it. This is why it should be a part of at least a quarterly maintenance schedule. Be sure to scour the strainer before replacing it.
Same thing goes for the sink pop-up stoppers. These should be lifted out and rinsed weekly. When hair and soap accumulates, it will quickly slip down into the pipes.
A Note About Chemical Cleaners
Use chemical cleaners sparingly, especially if your pipes and traps are steel, cast-iron, or brass. Some chemicals will severely corrode metal pipes. Plastic pipes are more impervious to chemicals. You should be safe if chemical cleaners containing sodium hydroxide or sodium nitrate, are used no more that once every few months.
Always follow the safety instructions on the manufacture’s package. You should let the cleaner sit in the bend of the trap for a short period of time to ensure effectiveness.
Do not splash yourself with the cleaner. If you get cleaner on your skin, douse the area with water thoroughly until the cleaner is completely removed. It will burn if not rinsed.
You can prevent drain clogs. Take care of your drains and they will do what they are supposed to do – remove water.