Let’s talk about drain maintenance.There are plenty of ways to keep your drain clean naturally. Running hot tap water through the drain after use helps prevent obstructions and odors from becoming a problem. To prevent smells, grease buildup, and hard water deposits, there are a slew of recipes you can try. Pour a handful of baking soda down the kitchen drain and run hot tap water through it weekly. Or, for a more thorough clean, mix 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup salt, and ¼ cup cream of tartar. Pour ¼ cup of the mixture into each drain and follow it with 2 cups of boiling water. Here is one more odor buster: Pour 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice down the drain and let it stand for 30 minutes before running hot water.
Pay close attention to items in or near your kitchen sink—the more spoons, bottle caps, and other objects that your garbage disposal struggles to chew up the more likely you are to have drain problems. If you are not grossed out by what’s hiding in the drain, and your hand is small enough to fit, reach down in there and fish out whatever fell before turning on the disposal.
Bathroom drains are trickier if something metal falls down the drain, tie a magnet to a thick piece of string and drop it into the drain. Hopefully the magnet will attract the fallen object. If you’re unlucky enough to lose a wedding ring or other important item into the abyss, try this.
And remember to clean the hair out of the bathroom sink and tub often so you don’t have problems later on. It helps to use a drain screen so the hair can’t get down there.
Assuming that your drain pipes aren’t corroded, old, or leaky, there are numerous solutions to help solve basic drain problems. If they are not in good shape, seek professional help. l Here are a few ideas to keep your drains clean:
1. Pour a cup of baking soda, followed by a cup of white vinegar, down the drain. Let it bubble for a few minutes, then pour a couple of cups of hot water down. Repeat if necessary, but hopefully after one try your drain will be clear!
2. Use a small rubber plunger to free up items that might be causing a backup. Make sure the rubber cup covers the drain hole.
3. Try a snake (also called a hand auger).
4. Buy some Bio Clean, a nontoxic, organic alternative to those chemical cleaners. (Call us for more info)
5. Force an obstruction out of a tub drain with a long brush (found at restaurant supply stores). Stick the brush down the drain, push it down as far as possible, and twist it a few times before removing. Hopefully the gunk will appear on the brush when you pull it out.
6. Call for backup. If none of these solutions work (or you have multiple clogged drains) it’s time to call in the pros.
If you’re adamant about using chemical cleaners like Drano, then make certain that they are safe for plastic pipes and garbage disposals. Wear plastic gloves and eye protection if possible. And make sure you place a large plastic funnel in the drain so you pour the chemicals directly into the drain rather than all over the sink.
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