Preventing Drain Blockage: How to Keep Drains Clear in Your House

Person Fixing a Sink Drain

What do you do when you’re in the middle of making dinner and the kitchen sink is suddenly backing up? We’ve all been there; plumbing issues are the last thing you want but unfortunately do happen from time to time.

We’ve put together some preventative tips on how to keep drains clear and hopefully keep your home’s plumbing in working order.  

Preventative Tips

  1. Installing a lint catcher on your washing machine’s hose can prevent lint and fabric from stopping up the drain. Don’t forget to clean or replace the lint trap every three months. Here’s how you can clean it: 
    • Soak it in hot water for 10 minutes.
    • Use a soft brush or paper towel to remove lint.
  2. Don’t pour grease down the drain! It cools as it goes down the drainpipe and will start to form a clog. Use a jar or can to collect your grease and throw it away.  
  3. Use a mesh screen in your tub or shower drain to collect hair. Hair is the number one cause of household plumbing issues. Drain covers are cheap and affordable costing anywhere from $5 to $15.
  4. The pop-up stopper in the bathroom sink collects a lot of hair, soap, toothpaste and other gunk that goes down the drain. If water isn’t going down or if it’s not holding water at all, try cleaning the stopper first.   
  5. Be careful about what foods you put down the disposal. Food waste such as banana peels, potato skins, coffee grounds, and eggshells can stick to the pipes. Use a screen to catch anything you don’t want to go down the kitchen sink.  
  6. Don’t throw personal care items in the toilet such as dental floss, feminine hygiene products or wipes. Not only are they bad for pipes, sewers, and septic tanks but for the environment as well. Put these items where they belong: the trash.  

How to Keep Drains Clear

  • Regularly clean your drains. Clean out hair from the screen in your tub or shower.  
  • Flush drains with hot water. Hot water helps to clear away pipe buildup. 
  • Try a bacterial drain cleaner to maintain your drains. Bacterial drain cleaners are biodegradable and won’t corrode pipes.    
  • Baking soda and vinegar is a natural drain cleaner that can be used together to help prevent clogs. Pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar down the drain, plug it up, and wait for 5 to 10 minutes. Flush with hot water afterward to remove any loose residue.  

These preventative steps can be taken to prevent blockages but sometimes a thorough drain cleaning is needed! 

Tips on Removing Clogs 

  1. Check the drain to see if the clog is from debris around the stopper.   
  2. Use suction and pressure with a plunger to dislodge a blocked pipe. Creating pressure in the pipe will clear a majority of clogs. 
  3. If plunging doesn’t work, use a plumbing snake. The tip of the snake can grab hair and other debris, allowing you to pull it out and clear the pipe.    
  4. The p-trap is the U-shaped pipe underneath bathroom and kitchen sinks. For this, you’ll need a bucket and a pair of pliers. Place the bucket underneath the p-trap and use the pliers to loosen the bolts. Remove the trap by sliding it down, empty the contents and remove any clog.    

Call a Plumber! 

When all else fails, call a professional plumber! While it’s important to know how to keep drains clear, sometimes we just can’t clear out those difficult blockages. 

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