How to Prevent Clogged Drains

November 1, 2015

Kitchen and bathroom drains are things we usually don’t think about until they stop working. Clogged or slow-running sink and bathtub drains are messy, inconvenient, and can be expensive to fix. Fortunately, a little preventative maintenance can go a long way in keeping your home’s plumbing lines flowing freely.

Plumber Unclogging Drain

Clean drains regularly

One of the easiest ways to prevent clogged drains is to clean the gunk and debris that collects around the stoppers and drain covers in your bathtub, shower, and kitchen and bathroom sinks. You can also prevent clogs by flushing your drains with baking soda & vinegar, followed by a pot of boiling water. This should clear any solidified grease that’s clinging to the inside of your pipes.

In a drain with a garbage disposal, keep the inside clean by grinding up a cup of ice cubes and about half a cup of salt. This will scrub off any food particles that are stuck in the grinding chamber. Be sure and rinse the drain with cold water afterward.

Do not put these clog-causing items down the drain?

  • Trash – Things like coffee grounds, cigarette butts, and gum can clump together and form hard-to-remove clogs.
  • Grease or Oil – Empty cooking fats into the trash so they don’t collect inside your pipes, eventually blocking them.
  • Food – Kitchen scraps like egg shells, vegetable peels, and starchy foods like potatoes or rice must be thrown away. Garbage disposals can only handle small amounts of leftover food.
  • Hair – This is a big cause of slow-running drains. Mesh screens can help catch hair in the shower, but regular cleaning drain stoppers is really the best prevention.

Clear a clogged drain

If your sink or tub is already backed up or it just drains slowly, there are a few ways to get rid of small clogs. There are a variety of commercial drain cleaner products on the market, but often simple household items can do the job. Mixing vinegar and baking soda creates a foam that can power through organic waste inside your home’s pipes. Follow it with a pot of boiling water. If your bathroom drains are clogged with hair, try adding hair removal cream, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then flush with water. If a clog is lodged in the drain trap, you can use a plunger to clear it. Just stuff a rag into the overflow opening to create suction, and be sure to use a different plunger than you use for the toilet. If necessary, you can use an enzyme drain cleaner to safely clear your plumbing system.