Keeping your drains clean is essential for a healthy plumbing system. It also helps you avoid costly service calls from a plumber.
Preventative measures like installing screens and stoppers prevent larger items from clogging your drains. Also, a straightened wire hanger with a bent hook can be a great DIY clog-removal tool for shower clogs.
1. Use a Plunger
A plunger is one of the most useful tools in your toolbox. It can quickly remove minor clogs from toilets, sinks and tubs. To use it, first cover the drain opening with a sink stopper or a piece of paper. Then, put the plunger over the drain and push in and out, forcing water up and down. The resulting back and forth pressure can dislodge hair, soap scum, food waste, and other blockages.
If the clog persists, you can try using a plumber’s snake. A plumbing snake is a metal cable that feeds into a pipe until it encounters resistance, then it twists and turns, cutting through or pulling out the clog. These are usually cheaper than professional augers, but they may not be able to clear very deep clogs.
Another useful tool is a drain cleaner. Chemical drain cleaners are heavy liquid or foam formulations that sit on top of the water in a blocked drain and dissolve grease, fats, paper, hair, soap scum, roots and other organic material. Some of these chemicals are very toxic and can harm your pipes. They also leave behind a foul smell and can be dangerous to children and pets.
You can make your own drain cleaner with baking soda and vinegar. Pour about a half cup of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar into the drain, followed by hot water. The mixture will create a foam that removes debris, kills bacteria, and eliminates bad odors. You can do this once a month or as needed to keep your drains clean.
The best way to avoid a serious drain clog is to perform regular maintenance and check your pipes for leaks. Leaking pipes can be a huge problem because they can cause water damage to your home and create a mold hazard for your family.
Clogged or slow-running drains are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus, which can cause illness and even death in very severe cases. Keeping your drains well-maintained with routine cleaning and using the right tools can help you prevent these problems and save you money on costly repair bills.
2. Run Hot Water
If you have bad odors or slow-draining drains, it’s a good idea to call a professional plumber to check out your drainage system. They’ll be able to spot and repair issues before they turn into major problems. But if you’re a DIYer, there are a few things you can try to clean out your drains.
One of the most useful drain cleaning repair tips is to run hot water down the drains. The steam and pressure created by running hot water down the drain can break up organic buildup and clogs. It can also help clear hair and soap scum. It’s a simple life hack that can be used regularly to keep your drains working well.
A good rule of thumb is to pour boiling water down the drains once a week. This will help wash away any accumulated debris and prevent future blockages.
Another way to keep the drains in your home clean is to use a strainer to catch food scraps and other items that go down the sink. This will keep a lot of the larger materials from getting caught in the pipes and will help with the odors and slow-draining drains that can occur over time.
A simple mixture of baking soda and vinegar can be used to tackle many clogs in kitchen and bathroom drains. First, make sure that the drain stopper is removed. Then, pour a 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain. Cover the drain and let the mixture work for 15 minutes. Then, pour a pot of hot (to boiling) water down the drain to flush out the pipe and remove the baking soda and vinegar mixture.
If this doesn’t work, it may be necessary to use a small drain snake or a bent wire coat hanger to dislodge the clog. It’s important not to try to use an acid-based liquid drain cleaner, as this can eat away at the pipes and cause damage. If you don’t feel comfortable using a snake, it’s always best to call a plumber to help with a serious drain clog or pipe repair.
3. Flush with Baking Soda and Vinegar
This is one of the most basic and effective ways to clean your drain. Baking soda and vinegar form a natural combination that breaks up gunk to clear your drains. This natural solution is also easy on your pipes and the best way to prevent clogs, especially if you use it as a regular maintenance routine.
The mixture of baking soda and vinegar forms a fizzing reaction that disintegrates and flushes away grease and other debris. It may take two or more flushes to fully clear a drain clog, but it is safe and effective. For a stubborn clog, you can also combine this solution with a plunger or a snake to help push the blockage through.
Typically, the ratio of baking soda to vinegar used to unclog a drain is one part baking soda to two parts white vinegar. However, you can adjust the ratio depending on the severity of your clog.
Pouring a cup of baking soda down your drain followed by a cup of white vinegar will create a chemical reaction that causes the liquids to bubble and break up any gunk in the drain. This mixture is particularly good at unclogging toilets and shower drains.
After waiting several minutes for the mixture to work, slowly pour a second cup of white vinegar down your drain. This will cause a second reaction that further breaks up and dissolves any unwanted buildup. The second reaction will also help remove any lingering odors from the drain.
For stubborn clogs, you can combine the baking soda and vinegar method with hot water to remove any remaining gunk. First, make sure that no solid objects are blocking your drain by using a wire coat hanger to fish out any hair clumps or other debris. Then, boil a pot of water and pour it down the drain. This will create a lot of steam, so it is important to stay close by.
Once the drain has drained, flush it again with a third cup of hot water. This will help to wash away any remaining baking soda or vinegar and prevent a clog from building up again.
4. Get a Drain Catch
Keeping your drains clean is the best way to prevent future problems with them. This is much like keeping the hallways of your house clear of toys, books, and trash; if you leave them dirty, it’s only a matter of time before someone trips over something and gets hurt. A professional drain cleaner can help you keep your home’s plumbing in tip-top shape.
One of the first signs your drains need cleaning is when they start to smell. This is because bacteria-rich environments such as clogged drains provide the perfect climate for mold and mildew to grow. This odor is not only unpleasant to live with, but it can also be dangerous for your family’s health. Fortunately, drain cleaning can get rid of this problem for good and restore freshness to your home’s pipes.
Another sign that your drains are in need of a thorough cleaning is when you hear strange noises coming from them. Gurgling, rumpling, or banging sounds can indicate that there is an obstruction blocking the flow of water in your plumbing system. If left unattended, this can cause a lot of stress on your pipes and lead to a big repair bill in the long run.
A professional drain cleaner can use a variety of tools to clean your drains and pipes thoroughly. In addition, they can also conduct a speedy inspection to see if there are any clogs in your pipes themselves. This can save you money on a plumber’s visit and ensure that your clog is taken care of correctly the first time.
Getting your drains cleaned on a regular basis is the best way to avoid clogs and expensive repairs. Clogged drains can lead to a lot of damage in your home, including cracked and leaking pipes. This is why it is important to know the warning signs and take action. By doing so, you can keep your drains in great condition and reduce the need for costly repairs in the future. The professionals at Red Cap can help you with your drain cleaning needs and give you more tips on how to keep your drains healthy and clog-free!