If your drain is slow or clogged, you may wonder how to clean it effectively with minimal damage to the pipes. Drains can become clogged with hair, soap scum, food, and other debris. Fortunately, you can do a few things to clean your drain and keep it flowing freely.
First, invest in a quality drain cleaner. This will help to break down any clogs that may be forming in your pipes. Second, regularly pour boiling water down your drain. This will help to loosen any debris caught in your pipes. Finally, use a plunger every few months to clear any remaining debris from your drain pipes. Following these simple tips, you can keep your drain pipes clean and free flowing.
There are four main types of drains in your home:
- bathroom sinks
- kitchen sink
Most of your drains are in your bathroom. Each type has its things to avoid and solutions to clear a clog. Read below on what not to put down your drain and what to do if it’s too late.
The most common reason your drain clogs in the bathroom is hair and hygiene products such as toothpaste. Over time these can build up and create a blockage. There are a few different ways to clear a clog. Pull the clog free if you’re able to see and reach the clog.
Another method is to use hot water. This method will probably work best for toothpaste or another blockage other than hair. Plug the sink, fill it with hot water, and drain it. It should hopefully clear the clog, but if it doesn’t, use a drain snake or a plunger.
People often think plungers are for toilets, but you can use them for any drain. Just make sure you’re using the plunger correctly.
The same rules apply to a bathtub or shower drain. To keep your drain pipes flowing freely, avoid putting hair, soap scum, and hygiene products down the drain. A highly recommended product is a hair strainer. It works the same way a pasta strainer would work. Water can still filter down the drain, but anything else will get caught by the filter, and you can throw out the remaining debris keeping your drain free of anything that can clog it.
If you don’t yet have a strainer for your drain and have a clog, you can use a drain snake or a plunger to clear it. However, be careful with drain snakes because they may go down the wrong pipe if you’re not careful. Follow these steps below if you’re using a drain snake.
First, remove the drain cover. Second, insert the drain snake into the drain and turn it clockwise until you feel resistance. This is when you know you’ve hit the clog. Third, continue turning the drain snake until you’ve broken through the clog. Finally, flush the drain with hot water to clear any remaining debris.
If you’re using a plunger, ensure enough water is in the sink to cover the plunger’s cup. It will create a seal so that the plunger can do its job. Put the plunger over the drain and push and pull the plunger up and down. You should hear a suction noise as the plunger creates a seal. Once you’ve broken through the clog, flush the drain with hot water.
You can also use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clean your drain:
- Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain.
- Add 1/2 cup of vinegar and let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
- Flush the drain with hot water.
This one is easy to keep unclogged but the scariest when it gets clogged. Pro tip: Never put anything other than human waste and toilet paper in the toilet. It doesn’t matter if the packaging says “flushable”; don’t flush it if it’s not human waste or toilet paper.
Sometimes a clog is unexpected when it comes to toilets. The scariest clog is when the water starts rising after you flush. Make sure there’s always a plunger next to your toilet for these clogs. Stick the plunger in and make sure there’s a good seal between the plunger and the toilet drain and then pull the plunger up and down. The water should start draining shortly.
If the water stops rising but doesn’t drain, it’s time to contact a plumber.
Drain snakes can also be used with toilet clogs but if you’re not comfortable using one in this (or any) situation, call a professional.
The kitchen sink is a common drain that gets clogged and is usually a user error. Not many people know that not everything can go down the garbage disposal. Avoid putting coffee grounds, eggshells, grease, vegetables like celery and carrots, and any food that typically expands with water like pasta down the drain. Throw it in the trash instead of down the garbage disposal. These can build up over time and create a blockage. If it’s not handled soon, you can also cause issues with your septic system if you have one.
When using the garbage disposal, run the water a few seconds after turning it off to ensure the shredded garbage drains down the drain properly.
Grease is a big one too. Once it cools and hardens, it can adhere to your drain pipes and cause a blockage. After cooking, pouring hot water down the drain can help melt any grease buildup and prevent future issues. But the best and least expensive way to dispose of grease is to pour it into a disposable container and throw it out.
To clear a clog, you can use hot water, a drain snake, or a plunger. If you’re using a plunger on the kitchen sink and have a double sink, make sure to plug the side you’re not plunging to get the clog unclogged properly.
If your efforts aren’t working, you may need to call a professional plumber to help clear the drain. They will have the proper tools and equipment to do the job quickly and efficiently.
Drain cleaners are one of the most common household cleaners. They are a great way to clear clogs, but they can be harsh on your pipes. Using them too often can damage your pipes and cause more problems down the line. Only use drain cleaners as a last resort and always follow the directions on the bottle and wear gloves and eye protection.
The best way to avoid clogged drains is to prevent them in the first place. Be careful of what you put down your drains, and never pour grease or oil down them. Invest in a mesh drain cover to catch hair and other small particles before they go down the drain. Clean your drains regularly with a natural cleaning solution to keep them clear and free flowing. Make sure to keep a plunger for each toilet and another for your sinks.
The best thing to remember, though, is if it’s not water, it shouldn’t go down the drain.