How To Prevent A Clogged Drain
Obviously the easiest way to keep your drains from becoming clogged is to be careful of what you put down them. Good thinking, huh? The truth is that drains become clogged when you drop all sorts of things down them, and it often doesn’t matter how careful you are about preventing clogs, they still happen.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that are commonly put down drains that do cause clogs. These most often are coffee grounds, hair, cooking grease, and soap scum. Ideally, you should do what you can to prevent putting these things down your pipes, but here’s a few things you can do to minimize the chances that these things will cause problems in your pipes.
Save cooking grease in a jar, a can, or an empty milk carton. Then, dispose of it in the trash.* Put coffee grounds in the trash, or if you would really like to benefit from them, add them to your mulch pile. Roses love these.* Keep problems with hair and soap scum at bay by using a screen or drain-grate You can pick up one of these at your local hardware or plumbing supply store. Most of these simply drop into place.
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Keeping your pipes clear is mainly a matter of regular cleaning. After all, clogs are most often a matter of neglect and allowing things to build up in them over time. Regular cleaning goes a long way towards preventing these kinds of problems. Here are some other steps.
Run hot water after each use. Running hot water, especially after you put oils and food remnants down a pipe, will keep them from building up on the interior surfaces of the pipes. This is a primary reason why pipes become sluggish and hard to drain. * Throw a handful of baking soda down your drain, along with a “chaser” of hot water. Baking soda is a wonderful cleaning agent, and when accompanied by hot water, oils and food that happen to end up in your drains will be a thing of the past.* Add a cup of vinegar to the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes, then add a “chaser” of very hot water. Vinegar is another excellent cleaner since it contains acetic acid, which is an organic solvent that’s great at removing organic buildups inside pipes. If clogs are a regular problem, try combining a mixture of baking soda, salt, and vinegar with a couple of quarts of boiling water and allowing them to sit overnight, which gives the mixture more cleaning power.
If you have a clogging problem in a sink with a garbage disposer, try this trick:
Fill an ice-cube tray half-full with vinegar. Top the remainder of each cube with clear water. Now freeze the mixture. Be sure to tell your family members or whomever might have access to the trays what you are doing. You wouldn’t want someone who wants to add ice to their tea ending up with a mouthful of vinegar instead.* Now turn the disposer on and throw in the ice cubes.* This method is effective since not only is the vinegar a mild acid, but the ice bits work as a scraper to cut grease off the side of the pipes.
If the smell of vinegar is a little more than you can handle, chase the vinegar with a slice of lemon. Not only will your disposer smell great, but so will your kitchen.
If after all of this effort you still have a clogged pipe, call a plumber. It might be more expensive than trying to do it yourself, but he will probably not only save you time, but his efforts will probably pay off in the preventive work he will do for you too.
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