How To – Clogged Drains Prevention

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Preventing clogged or slow drains is not typically top of mind for most of us.  Only after a drain become clogged do we concern ourselves with this issue.  A little prevention goes a long way and this issue is simple to fix – most importantly be careful about what you put into your drains.  Simple right? Cooking grease, hair, soap scum and coffee grounds are the big four – your drain’s biggest enemies. Here’s how to avoid introducing any of these items into a drain. Here’s how:

  • When cleaning your coffee filter either throw coffee grounds away in the garbage, add them to your mulch pile, or mix them with a few gallons of water (after you have a bunch of grounds) to use as liquid fertilizer.  It works well.
  • Save cooking grease in an old coffee can or pickle jar. After you fill it up dispose of it in the trash.

  • Use a drain-grate to cover the drain’s opening this will block hair ans soap scum minimizing clogs.  Your local plumbing-supply store will have many choices that will work for your particular fixture. Most filters and screens can be simply laid in place.

Regular cleaning will keep your water flowing freely.  To keep drains clear— and absent of odor — try these methods:

  • Run hot water through your drains after each use. Hot water keeps oils in food products running down the drain, rather than building up on the interior surface of pipes, which can make drains sluggish and lead to clogs.

  • Put a cup of baking soda into the drain and chase it with hot water. Baking soda is a cleaning agent, and it’s also great for absorbing foul odors and leaving your drain pipes smelling better.

  • Pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes; then chase it down with boiled water. Vinegar is natures wonder cleaner. It contains acids, which acts as an excellent organic solvent that removes buildup of crud in pipes.

Despite proper prevention and if clogging continues to be a regular problem at your place try the method below to clean up your drains. This technique works on drains in sinks, showers, and tubs. You need:

-1/2 cup each of baking soda, salt, vinegar and a couple quarts of boiling water.  Allow the solution to sit overnight, giving it more cleaning horsepower, do the following:

  1. Pour the salt and the baking soda into the drain.

  2. Add the vinegar and let the concoction foam for about a minute.

  3. Chase with at least 2 quarts of boiling water.

For sinks with garbage disposals, you can also try this all natural cleaning tip:

  1. Fill an ice-cube tray half-full with vinegar and top it off with clear water.  You will then freeze and the water in necessary because vinegar alone won’t freeze well.

  2. After frozen turn the disposal on and then throw in the cubes. Vinegar is a mild acid that cleans the disposal and the drain while the ice literally chills and scrapes grease off its walls.

  3. Some don’t like the smell of vinegar so the same technique can be used with acidic fruit such as sliced lime. Use the same method and your disposal and kitchen should smell great!

For drains that have a bomb proof clog that wont clear up with the above natural remedies – you will have to break out the big guns.  Drain cleaners can be found at hardware shops – Lye is the active ingredient in most popular drain cleaners. It dissolves soap scum and hair in a heartbeat. All you have to do is pour some down the drain, let it sit for 15 min and be sure not to pur on your tub or sink – chase with a small amount of water.  The chemical should do the job.  Beware – small amounts of lye are safe, but too much can be dangerous to humans. Strong drain cleaners aren’t safe when used in large quantities. Make sure to follow the directions on the label.

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