Let’s talk about drain care—specifically, how to avoid calling us. While clogged drains are at times unavoidable, there are some things you can do to prevent backups.
Bathroom Drain Care
We’ll start in the bathroom, where so many drain issues originate. The first thing you can do to avoid clogged drains is never EVER flush any material other than toilet paper. No paper towels, feminine products, and especially no “flushable” wipes – even if they say ‘flushable’ on the packaging. No. Sure, they’re technically flushable; so are marbles, straws, Monopoly money, phone charging cords, lug nuts… you get the idea. Anything that fits down the drain is “flushable,” but do you really want a bunch of solids in your pipes? Don’t flush wipes.
Kitchen Drain Care
The next major problem area when it comes to clogs is the kitchen sink, particularly when there’s a garbage disposal. Are disposals bad? Of course not. They’re also not magic, nor are they to be confused with garbage cans. If you’re the type of person who likes to dump half a plate into the sink, try dumping it in your blender or food processor instead. Run it for about two seconds and take a look at the food. That’s what you’re letting sit in your drain if you subscribe to the dump and grind cleanup philosophy.
And don’t dump rice, pasta or potato skins down the drain either—foods that expand with water contact will expand inside your pipes, creating big problems. In general, you should start by scraping all solids into the trash. Whatever scraps and residue is left is safe to rinse into the disposal. When you’re done, turn the water to hot, run the disposal for ten seconds, and then continue to run hot water through it for ten more seconds after you turn it off. This will ensure that no scraps are left in the disposal or the p-trap under your sink.
Don’t Use Chemicals for Your Drain Care
Okay, so you’ve followed these practices and you still have a clogged drain—it happens. Hair builds up in sinks and showers, and over long periods of time food residue can always build up in kitchens. You might be tempted to grab a can of chemical drain cleaner, but resist that urge. Aside from the inherent hazards of working with these incredibly corrosive chemicals, they often don’t even fix the issue, and they can damage the drain, resulting in a much more expensive problem. Instead, you can try to clear the blockage manually (mini drain snakes are available starting at around $5) or look for an alternate treatment (we use Bio-Clean, a friendly bacterial compound that eats organic matter without hurting the pipe).
As always, if you find yourself in doubt, you can give us a call or book an appointment online. Stay safe, stay well, and stay Plumb Smart!