Regular cleaning and occasional maintenance will keep your drains clear year-round. But the most important way to keep drains clear is to limit what you put in them – prevention is the ultimate strategy for clear drains.
Grease is the enemy of drains. Any grease that hardens, like bacon fat, etcetera, is particularly problematic. Do not put liquified grease down your garbage disposal or your drain. Put it into a container (preferably a disposable container), let it harden, and then put it in the trash.
Food should go in the trash or compost pile also, including coffee grounds, potato skins, and other uncooked vegetable waste. These items can form solidified blockages in the pipes.
Here is a short list of things that should go into your trash, not your drains:
- Pasta and rice
- Cat litter
- Paper towels and other paper products
- “flushable” wipes
Hair in bathtub drains and bathroom sinks can ultimately form a trap for many other materials that clog drains. Get a stainless steel or silicone trap for hair to use in the bathtub drain and sink. The traps with screens are more effective. One way to manage the amount of hair going down your drains is to comb or brush your hair before you take a shower. If you bathe your dog in the bathtub, it is best to put a washcloth over the drain because dogs will shed a considerable amount of hair when bathed.
Be careful about what you flush down the toilet. Toilets handle human waste only, not stringy, dense, or bulky materials like cat litter made from clay. Household waste should go in the trash, not the toilet.
Drain and Pipe Maintenance
Everyone dreads the fatberg. It is a large lump of solidified grease and fat that clogs your pipes. The way to prevent a fatberg is to take a few quarts of hot water (not boiling – that is bad for PVC pipes) and slowly pour it down the drain. Periodically putting hot water down your pipes effectively prevents grease clots from forming.
Cleaning your drains weekly will also save you a lot of hassle over time. Pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of white vinegar down the drain, then immediately plugging the drain and keeping it covered will agitate and break down any organic material collecting in the pipes. Pour hot water down the pipe to complete the cleaning task.
Two other methods of thoroughly cleaning pipes are to put baking soda and salt down the drain and let it sit in the pipes for 30 minutes, then flush with hot water. The second method would be to put baking soda and then lemon juice in the drain, plug the drain, and let it sit for one hour or more. Flush with hot water.
Drains and pipes are like many systems in your home: it is easy to assume they will always work. But every system requires periodic maintenance.
If you’ve discovered a fatberg that you don’t want to handle yourself or would just prefer to leave it to the professionals, we have you covered. Call Plumbing Outfitters right away so we can take care of it.