Your drains are vital to the running of your home. Keeping them clean will make your home more pleasant. It will also save you money on plumbing costs. The good news is that you can keep your drains in great condition without resorting to harsh (and expensive) chemicals. Here are some tips to help.
Be careful what goes down your drains
A large percentage of problems with drains are completely avoidable. They essentially stem from drains being used as trash cans. Drains can deal with water, human waste, and certain chemicals (e.g. laundry detergent). In some countries, including the U.S., they can generally deal with toilet paper. That’s it.
Anything else at all needs to go in a bin. That includes human hair (use trappers on your plugholes to catch it), cooking leftovers (e.g. oil), and hygiene products. Ignore any claims about hygiene products being flushable. They may take less time to degrade than regular products but they’re still a huge problem for drains.
Clean your drains regularly
Depending on how you use your home, you want to clean your drains anything between once a week and once a month. The good news is that this is actually really straightforward. Your three main weapons are hot water, dish soap, and baking soda. My husband is a maintenance supervisor and he does this to all of the drains in our house at least once a month – and it works! We have never had to use a snake to unclog a drain in any of our homes or call a plumber for that matter, for the past 30+ years.
Start with hot water to soften and loosen any fat deposits. Follow with a squirt of dish soap and then more hot water. This will break down fat even further. Add about half a cup of baking soda and follow with more hot water. The baking soda will scrub off any remaining fat and the hot water will clear the debris away.
If you have a really tough drain to tackle, you can put vinegar down it. If you do then either use it on its own or make sure to use plenty of hot water after you put down the baking soda. The reason for this is that vinegar is an acid and baking soda is alkaline. If you mix them together they cancel each other out.
Invest in a plumbing snake
A plumbing snake is a tool you can use to pull items out of your drains. It’s handy for clearing minor blockages near the exit point (e.g. the plughole). Using a plumbing snake is very simple and much more affordable than calling a plumber for a minor job. With that said, if you’re careful about what goes down your drains, then you shouldn’t need one.
If you do have a problem with your drains
If despite all this, you do have a problem with your drains, it’s important to take action quickly. You might want to try putting down a chemical drain cleaner to see if that solves the problem. If it doesn’t, then get straight on the phone to a reputable plumbing service like Second Opinion Plumbing.
Don’t waste time trying to fix it yourself. You may make the problem worse. Also, don’t try to save money by calling in a handy friend or local general tradesperson. Call in a proper, qualified, and experienced specialist. It really will save you time, money, and stress.