Spring is on its way! While you plan on opening windows around the house and giving your living space a good spring clean, add drain cleaning to the list. Here we’ll discuss why you should spring clean the drains, common household drains, and tips for cleaning and maintaining your drains during the spring and beyond.
Why Should Spring Cleaning Involve Drains?
The drains in your house are the first line of defense for the rest of the plumbing. Without functional drains, you and other household members could be exposed to dirty water, sewage, and foul odors when a backup happens. Spring is a great time to deep clean these drains and head off any potential clogs.
Kitchen drains receive a lot of use every day. From food waste to dish soap, bits and pieces of your daily habit wash into the drain. All can cause a slow drain, water backup, or odors without regular cleaning.
- Place two to three lemon wedges, coarse salt, and ice cubes in the disposal.
- Turn on cold water from the tap and allow it to continuously run.
- Turn on the garbage disposal and let it run until the ice cubes are gone.
- Pour baking soda & vinegar into the drain: For routine clogs, pour 1/4 cup baking soda into the drain, followed by 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar. Let the mixture fizz and work for 15 minutes.
- Rinse with boiling water: Pour boiling water down the drain to rinse away the baking soda and vinegar mixture, plus any remaining gunk in the drain.
Whether you give your household bathrooms a weekly wipe down or monthly deep clean, the bathroom drains shouldn’t be overlooked. Many soaps and personal hygiene products aren’t water soluble, meaning they won’t dissolve when washed down the drain. Instead, they frequently leave residue which builds into a clog or unpleasant odor.
- Remove any visible debris: Remove the drain stopper and any debris you can see.
- Use a drain snake to remove more debris: The end of the snake is designed to latch on to hair and other debris. As you reel in the snake, it will pull the debris out of the pipe and drain.
- Use hydrogen peroxide to clear odors: This common household item is non-corrosive and eliminates odors with monthly use.
Bathtub & Shower
- Remove visible hair and other debris: Use your fingers or a straightened wire hanger to pull out hair and other residue.
- Flush with hot water: Slowly pour boiling water into the drain in two to three parts. Pause for a few seconds between pours to give the water some time to work.
Your toilet drain is easily cleaned with a little regular maintenance.
- Be mindful of what’s flushed: Just because a product, such as toilet paper, says it’s flushable doesn’t mean it should be flushed. Many items expand when soaked in liquid, causing nefarious clogs inside the toilet pipes.
- Keep vents clear: Check the plumbing vents and clear any blockages if necessary.
- Cut back tree roots: Tree and plant roots are notorious for growing into plumbing pipes. As the roots grow and seek more water, they’ll cause more damage and backups.
4 Ways to Clean and Clear a Drain
1. Boiling Water
This method is best for minor clogs. Slowly pour the boiling water into the drain and watch for the water flow to improve. If it drains as usual, the clog was likely loosened and moved out of the way. If not, try the next method — a plunger.
2. Use a Plunger
The cup-style plunger most people associate with plungers is meant for sink, shower, and bathtub clogs. Toilet plungers have a tall dome and flange that fits inside the toilet drain.
3. Clean the P-Trap
This trap is the curved pipe seen below most sinks, and is easily blocked by food debris, grease, soaps, and skin care products flowing into the drain.
4. Wire Hanger or Drain Snake
Straighten a wire hanger, insert into the drain, and move the hanger around. It should either break up the clog or hook the clog so it can be pulled up and removed. If this doesn’t work, most hardware stores have drain snakes available for purchase. Follow the directions and if the snake doesn’t resolve the slow drain, contact a plumber.
Keep Your Drains Clean with These 3 Tips
1. Never Pour Grease or Food Waste Down the Drain
Fats and grease from food solidify as they cool, and if this is in the drain, you’ll have a preventable clog. Food waste, such as coffee grounds and eggshells, also collect inside a drain.
2. Use Drain Screens or Stoppers
Water and tiny food and waste particles pass through, but hair and other large pieces are stopped before they become a clog.
3. Regularly Clean the Drains
Pouring boiling water down the drain once a week is generally enough to help keep it and the attached pipe clean. Remember to empty and clean the drain screen or stoppers when cleaning the drains.
Spring cleaning your household drains is a great way to prevent plumbing problems in the future. However, if your drains or plumbing system are in need of more assistance, don‘t hesitate to reach out Swan for professional services.