Do you know that clogged drains make water drainage slow and cause flooding, corrosion, and costly repairs? A clogged drain is one of the most common plumbing problems every homeowner experiences, and in most cases, they occur in warmer months due to frequent showers.
The good thing about drain clog prevention in your home is that it won’t cost you a dime. It’s as easy as 1-2-3. You only need to know the material which clog the drain and keep them at bay.
Most Common Causes of Clogged Drains
Below are the five most common causes of clogged drains;
One of the big culprits of drain clogs are hair, and it forms a clog when they bind with grease or any other sticky substance. To prevent them from causing havoc in your home, you should ensure that all the drains have guards to trap hair and clear it regularly.
Combing your hair before a shower will also do the trick. It would remove the loose hair that might have been washed away down the drain causing clogs.
You are wondering how soap can cause drain blockage in your home? Here is how it happens- since bar soaps are made with fat or grease, the fat in them combines with water minerals leaving a hard residue (scum) that clogs pipes. To avoid this, you need to pressure clean the drain to remove soap build-up traces. You’d also have to change into soap-free washes.
3. Dirt – Dust Particles
You may think that your pipes and drains are there to wash anything away through them; however, this is not the case. When you wash excess dirt off your clothes, feet or shoes, the dirt builds up and causes clogs in your pipes.
Nevertheless, you can get yourself out of this mess by rinsing the excess mud and dirt off your shoes, feet or clothes outside before washing them outside.
4. Food Waste
Even if your sink has a garbage disposal, you should never let food waste go down your drain as it can spell doom for the kitchen sink’s drain. Instead, get rid of the food waste by setting up a composting pile for waste like coffee grounds and tea leaves that don’t break down.
Also, be cautious of other foods like oil or fat as they solidify in drains causing a blockage. The best way to unclog a sink is you should absorb them in a paper towel and dispose of them in the compost.
5. Mineral Build-up
You should be vigilant if you’re using hard water in your home as you can experience clogs anytime soon. After some time, the minerals in the water build-up, causing insoluble masses that block the drain.
To avoid this, you should install a water softener for your home. You can also regularly remove the build-up and sediment every two weeks by scrubbing them with a toothbrush.
How to Prevent Clogged Drains?
Clogged drains can be a real nuisance in your home, especially if you don’t choose what enters the drain. They not only produce a foul odour in your home but can also spread harmful bacteria.
Therefore, it would be good to learn how to unclog drains by yourself and avoid waiting for the plumber whenever a crisis arises. Below is a best way to clear clogged drain like a pro;
1. Attack With Boiling Water
Whenever your drains clog, the first step you should think about is the use of boiling water. It removes soap residue, grease, hair, and other debris that might have been stuck in your drains. To do it, follow these two steps;
- Boil a half-gallon of water and pour it directly into the opening of the drain
- Check if the water is steadily draining by turning on the faucet. If not, repeat the process.
Tip: If your drains are attached to PVC pipes, don’t use this method- the hot water would melt the plastic.
If this method fails even after the second try, it means that your drains have too stubborn clogs to be cleared by the boiling water. So, roll up your sleeves for another method.
2. Check the Garbage Disposal
Does your sink have a garbage disposal? If yes, then it might be the cause of the draining issue. You need to check first if the garbage disposal has clogged. If it’s the one with the problem, activate the reset switch at the bottom or side of the unit and turn it on to clear the clog.
If you hear a humming sound after turning it on, know that the unit is broken or jammed. Fix the disposal and manually turn the blades to break up the clog. Now, turn the disposal on and test it.
If it’s perfectly working, turn on the faucet to check if the drainage is back to normal.
If the water is not steadily draining yet, try the plunge.
3. Plunge the Blockage Away
After confirming that the disposal is not the issue, try out the plunger- a flat-bottomed plunger would come in handy. Here are the steps you should follow to unclog bathroom sink;
- Using hot water, fill the sink halfway.
- Over the drain, position the plunger and pump it quickly several times.
- Take out the plunger from the drain and check if the water is draining freely.
- If it’s not freely draining, repeat the process
4. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
How to keep drains clean using natural materials? If you’re the natural type, this method is for you. It is an alternate method to chemical blocked drain cleaners. The good thing about baking soda and vinegar is that they are among everyday household items, mainly used in the kitchen.
The concoction helps to get rid of the build-up of grease, bacteria, and the odour in the drain. How do they work? Alright, follow the steps below;
- Using a bowl or a cup, remove the standing water in the sink.
- Mix the one cup of baking soda and vinegar and pour it down the drain.
- Use a cover or stopper to seal the drain opening
- Allow the mixture to sit for around 15-minutes.
- Take out the stopper and pour hot water down the drain- to break up extreme clogs, ensure you use boiling water.
Are you noticing any progress? If yes, repeat the process until you clear the clog. Like any other unclogging method, the use of baking soda might also not work depending on the nature of the clog. However, there is still an alternative- the plumber’s snake.
5. Try the Plumber’s Snake
Plumber’s snake comes in handy on clogs that put up a fight, and it is the most recommended tool for battling drain blockages. The tool has a slender flexible auger that unclogs blocked drains.
When the snake hits the obstacle, crank the handle to remove and pull the wreckage out of the drain. Keep doing it until you’re sure that the blockage is gone.
However, avoid pushing it roughly as it might push the clog further down the drain. Once the clog is cleared, run hot water down the drain to confirm that it is clear.
Clogged drains are more irritating if you have to deal with them regularly. Therefore you should always be vigilant not to allow any material that can cause blockage to go down the drain. Remember, prevention is always better than cure!.
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Jennifer Kiminza – Jennifer Kiminza is a content writer and content marketing professional at Hub Spot, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Jennifer worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. She graduated with honors from Nairobi University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.