If you have ever had to deal with a clogged drain, then you know that it can be frustrating and even embarrassing if you have company over at the time. Most drain clogs are caused by common substances and knowing to prevent clogs is just as important as knowing how to clear the blockage.
Kitchen Sink Clogs
Large food particles and vegetable peels can become trapped in the p-trap under your sink which is the curved pipe under your sink. Grease, oil and fat are generally the main cause of kitchen sink clogs. These substances can easily be poured into a drain when they are in liquid form; however as these liquid move through pipes, they cool and solidify, coating the inside of the pipe which gets thicker over time until the drain becomes slow or there is a total blockage of the drain.
Clogs in the Bathroom Sink and Shower Drain
The main cause of a clog in your bathroom drain is hair. Hair moves quite easily down a drain when it is moving with water. It builds up in the pipes until the entire line has been blocked and this blockage is usually located right under the drain area. Soap scum is another clog causer, with both residue and soap pieces causing a coating on the interior of the pipes which leads to a blockage. The soap residue can become so thick and corrosive that it causes damage to the drain and the pipes.
Eliminating the Clog
Commercial drain cleaners can remove clogs and assist with your drain regaining its flow. You can also speed up the drain flow with these cleaner products. The main problem is that they are toxic and can eventually damage your pipes. Plenty of people use natural and household products to remove clogs and repair slow drain issues. Here are some methods you can try at home before calling for professional help:
A plunger is a great tool for removing any type of object that is wedged in your p-trap under a sink. If your drain is completely clogged, a plunger can move the item that is causing the blockage and get water flowing once again. You will need to fill your sink or tub about halfway with warm water and then start to plunge with a rubber plunger. Be sure to rinse your drain afterwards using hot water. When you achieve a good seal, the plunger forces the wedge item to pass or to be removed upwards into the sink or tub. The water that you have placed into the sink will help to clear the drain once the item has been removed.
Hot Water and Salt
This combination works well for soap clogs and fat on pipes that have been narrowed with build-up. This method works well on bathroom and kitchen drains. You will need to pour a half of a cup of salt down your slow-moving drain and then heat about 2 liters of water until it is almost at boiling. You will then pour it down the drain and follow it with the hottest tap water you can get. You may need to complete several rounds of this treatment to clear your drain. Hot water will assist by melting the grease and then the abrasive properties of the salt help to scour the great and move the build up away. This combination eliminates the build-up and helps drains to operate more efficiently.
Wire Coat Hanger
You can untangle a wire coat hanger and use it to clear a bathroom drain. First you will need to bend the wire’s end using pliers or you can purchase a small plastic drain tool with serrated edges. You will need to remove the cover from the drain and pull out any debris that you can see. Next, you will use the end of the hanger and insert it into the drain. Push it down as far as you can and then pull it up quickly. This should dislodge/remove any clogs or debris. You are going to see a lot of nasty hair clumps and gunky soap; you may wish to use gloves to remove the debris.
Hot Water and Dish Soap
This method works well for clogs that have grease clogs. If your kitchen drain is slow, try running hot water and dish soap through it. You will need to heat around 2 liters of water to near boiling and add several tablespoons of dish detergent to it. Slowly pour the water into the drain and chase it with hot tap water. You may need to repeat the process several times to find success. Hot water melts the greasy clog, and the dish detergent works to dissolve the fat in the drain. This combination removes the buildup allowing the drain to move freely.
Biological Enzyme Cleaning Product
If your clog is due to soap, grease or hair, then this type of product will work well on bathroom and kitchen drains, particularly where the home is on a septic system. Enzyme cleaners can be used on a regular basis to remove organic materials and their resulting odours. These products are best used on an overnight basis when you will not be using your drain for several hours. These drain clearing products are best used when you have a septic system because they do not eliminate the bacteria contained in your septic tank that works to break down waste products.
Preventing Future Drain Clogs
Once your drain has been cleared, there are several things you can do to keep it clear. These include:
* At least one time monthly, flush your kitchen drain with hot water and salt. This will assist in preventing the build-up of grease and food particles and assist your drain in running efficiently.
* Throw food waste and vegetable peels in your food scraps bin. Never place any type of food peel into your sink because it will cause a clog. If your sink has a garburator (macerator) it is fine, but not if you do not because the food particles do not have any way to be eliminated and they will just build up.
* Place hair filters in all your bathroom drains. If you see loose strands of hair in your tub or shower, wipe them up and dispose of them in the garbage.
* Never try to melt fat with hot tap water and rinse it down the drain because they will eventually cool and cause a clog.
* Do not put fats, grease or oil down the drain or anything else that is high in fat because it will cause a clog. Instead, place these items into a container to cool and then dispose of them in the trash.
If you have tried all these methods and you are still experiencing issues with your drain, it is time to call a professional plumber to get the work done for you. A plumber has all the tools necessary to ensure that your drain is running once again to full capacity and operating efficiently.
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