5 Top Ways to Keep Your Drains Clear All Year Long.

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There are few things more frustrating to homeowners than smelly, slow drains. Luckily, it’s easy to learn how to keep drains clean and flowing properly. Prevention and natural drain solutions are the two main ways to keep all drains clear. Here are five ways to care for your home’s plumbing and keep your drains clog-free.

1. Be Careful What You Allow in the Kitchen Drain

The most important trick to keeping your drains clean is to be careful what you put down your drains in the first place. Read our list of 10 Things That Should Never Go Down the Drain to know what should and shouldn’t go down the drain. A good general rule is that the kitchen sink should be limited to organic liquids and small quantities of non-fibrous foods.

Never put grease or fats down the drain; always put them in a disposable jar, and toss them out with the normal trash. Don’t put rice, pasta, or eggshells down the drain either. Despite popular conceptions, garbage disposals have definite limits.

2. Install a Screen

food drain screen

To aid in your efforts of keeping solids out of the drains, installing a screen helps keep food out of your kitchen drains and hair out of your bathroom drains. When you wash or rinse your dishes, scrape as much food into the trash as possible, then rinse it and put it in the dishwasher. The screen will catch any bits of food that didn’t make it into the trashcan.

A hair screen on shower drains and bathroom sinks can also prevent hair and soap scum from building clogs in your drains.

3. Watch What You Flush

Do not trust products that claim to be “flushable.” Other than toilet paper and human waste, nothing should be flushed down the toilet.

Flushable wipes sit in a wet, moist environment in their packaging and never break down. There’s nothing special about your sewer drains that will help it break down, either. These wipes are one of the top causes of toilet clogs.

You also shouldn’t flush paper towels, wet wipes, “flushable” kitty litter, or feminine hygiene products. These get stuck, build up, swell up with water, and cause clogs. Save yourself the hassle and ensure that these don’t go down the drain in the first place.

4. Pour Soap Down the Drain

Pour around three or four teaspoons of liquid dish soap down the drain. The best soap for drains is a liquid degreaser dish soap. Wait a few moments, then put in the drain stopper and fill the sink with hot water. Remove the plug and let the hot water rush down the drain. The dish soap will loosen grease and gunk in the drain, and the water washes it away. Soap is also helpful on bathroom drains.

Some homeowners like to pour dish soap down the drain at night. While this doesn’t hurt, the soap doesn’t need that much extra time to work on grease. A few minutes is usually plenty.

5. Try Natural Solutions for Drain Clogs

Chemical drain cleaners are harmful to your plumbing system and the environment. So how do you keep your drain pipes clean? There are several natural solutions that clear clogs in your drains. Try these natural drain cleaning solutions if your sink drains slowly or emits foul smells.

Homemade Drain Cleaning Solution #1: Baking Soda and Vinegar

vinegar & baking soda

First, run hot or boiling water down the drain. Then add ¼ cup of baking soda and leave it alone for 20 minutes. Then pour a cup of vinegar and a cup of hot water into the drain and wait another 20 minutes. This combination should help unclog the drain or at least loosen minor clogs.

Homemade Drain Cleaning Solution #2: Salt, Cream of Tartar, and Baking Soda

Combine two cups of baking soda with ⅛ cup of cream of tartar (about two tablespoons) and half a cup of salt, and mix it well. Drop hot or boiling water down the drain. Let the mix sit for an hour. The salt and baking soda attack fats, grease, and clogs, while the cream of tartar cleans metals.

Follow up with a plunger or snake, then use drain cleaning solution again.

Homemade Drain Cleaning Solution #3: Borax, Salt, and Vinegar

Start with the usual hot water down the drain. Then ¼ cup of salt and ¼ cup of borax, and ½ cup of vinegar. Do two cups of hot water and let it sit for an hour. Rinse again with a lot of hot water.

After using any of these natural drain cleaning solutions, using a plumbing snake or a plunger can help finish clearing the clog.

There are plungers designed for sinks as well. Use a sink plunger and cover up any overflow holes. This should move the clog around and unseat it. Then try the baking soda and vinegar solution again.

If all of this still doesn’t fix your drain problem, it’s probably time to call in a professional plumber. It may be that your sink drain is clear, but your main drain line (also known as a mainline) has been clogged. If so, you’ll need a professional plumber to do a main drain clearing. Apollo Home offers drain cleaning services in Cincinnati.

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