What is the best way to clean your drains?
Having a blocked drain/toilet can be super frustrating, especially when you don’t have professional advice available. In this article, we will talk about what homeowners can do to clean, prevent, and get rid of clogged drain lines. If you’re trying to figure out what can’t go down the drain, check out our other article “What Can Go Down The Drain?“.
Don’t use chemical drain cleaners
First thing first, we typically do not recommend using any type of chemical drain cleaner on your pipes. If you have a clog, it’s better to try and remove it by plunging or snaking the drain as chemical drain cleaners will only damage your pipes.
According to ConsumerReports.org, most chemical drain cleaners are more trouble than they’re worth. Some react with aluminium and give off unhealthy gas, can solidify inside the pipes and can’t be removed, or mix with other household cleaners and cause the mixture to burst out of the drain. Crystal Chemical drain cleaners are extremely hazardous and can end up damaging your pipes, garbage disposal, and septic system. Liquid, foam and gel cleaners can also cause damage to pipes and usually aren’t as effective, taking at least 30 minutes to eat through a clog.
There are some bio-clean products Consumer Reports researched, but most of them weren’t as effective at cleaning out the clog. However, they can be helpful for keeping a drain clean after clogs are removed.
So what can you do to unclog your drain? Here are a plumber’s suggestions:
Bathroom Sink and Tub Drains
The main cause of bathroom sink clogs is from toothpaste and long hair. If you have a clog in your bathroom sink or tub, we recommend filling the basin with hot water and then unplugging the sink’s drain to (hopefully) flush the drain out to clean the drains.
If that doesn’t work, you can plunge the drain, use a snake or physically remove the clog if you can reach it. If it is not possible to remove the clog yourself or you are still unsure, contact us for the guidance and support you need.
Preventing bathroom sink and tub drain clogs
You can make sure your bathroom drains are unclogged by running hot water after taking a shower or brushing your teeth to make sure the warm water dissolves the water-soluble materials in your toothpaste or shampoo. If you have longer hair, invest in a drain saver for your bathtub. It will catch the longer hair and allows you to throw it away, instead of going down the pipes where it can clump and cause clogs. When you’re at your bathroom sink, don’t flush hair down the drain.
There are only three things that should go down the toilet drains: #1, #2, and toilet paper. Anything else is probably too large, won’t biodegrade, and will possibly get stuck in the pipes. There’s nothing worse than a backed up toilet. If plunging and snaking a toilet doesn’t get rid of the clog, contact us to get the help you need.
Preventing toilet clogs
Make sure to only flush things that are supposed to go down a toilet, down the toilet.
Throw away and never rinse them down the sink, tub, or toilet:
- Nail Clippings
- Feminine Hygiene Product
- Dental Floss
- Cotton Tipped Swabs
If you have a clog in your kitchen drain, we recommend using hot water and dish soap to loosen and eat away at the clog. Run extremely hot water down the drain to soften the clog, following up with grease-dissolving dish soap. If the clog still hasn’t come loose, use a kitchen plunger and try putting hot water and dish soap down the pipes again.
You can also try putting a foaming mixture of equal parts baking soda and vinegar down the pipes to provide a natural way to get rid of clogs and not damage the pipes. If this still does not resolve the issue, contact us to get the information and help you need.
Preventing kitchen drain clogs
You can prevent kitchen drain clogs by keeping grease away from the pipes. Grease may go down the pipe hot and in a liquid state but will solidify into a mass as it cools, which can cause clogs. It’s better to put grease in a jar that you can throw away after it has solidified. You can also use a wire mesh filter on top of your kitchen drain to keep clog-causing food out of the drains.
If you have a garbage disposal, you should always run it with some extra water after using it to make sure food scraps are pushed down the drain line. Make sure to keep things like eggshells, stringy vegetables (like celery or carrots), and foods that expand with water out of the pipes. All of these can create clogs.
Overall, the best way to clean out clogged drains is by mechanical means (plunging and snaking) and some hot water. Stay away from chemical cleaners as they can damage your pipes and are hazardous to humans.
If you’re still very unsure and not confident with removing your clog, contact us today and we will give you the professional help you need.