Clogged drains can prevent you from performing the most basic daily activities. A visit from a plumber can eat into your bank account balance, so it pays to prevent clogged drains in the first place. Put these six simple strategies to work in your home so you never have to unclog a stubborn drain.
1. Clean All Drains Regularly
Your bathtub, shower, sink, and other drains need regular cleaning. Otherwise, debris can build up out of sight and eventually cause a clog. First, use a wire hanger or other long, thin object to remove any debris from inside the drain, such as food and hair. Then pour baking soda and vinegar into the drain and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Afterward, run hot water down the drain for 30 seconds or so.
If you have trouble getting your drains cleaned, consider hiring a professional. A service visit to clean the drains will often cost much less than a service visit to remove a clog.
2. Avoid Putting Large Amounts of Food In the Garbage Disposal
Large, tough, or grainy foods can create clogs in your drains if you try to stuff too much down the garbage disposal. Try feeding small amounts of food into the drain while the disposal runs. Wait until you don't hear the sound of food in the blades before you add more.
You can also practice throwing unwanted food into the garbage instead of down the disposal. The disposal will last longer that way and you won't have to deal with clogged drains. Alternatively, start a compost pile or bin to recycle food waste instead of sending it to the landfill.
3. Keep the Blades Sharp
Dull garbage disposal blades can lead to clogged drains because the blades can't break up food into small enough pieces. Try pouring three or four cubes of ice down the drain and running the disposal. The ice will sharpen the blades so they work more effectively. Frozen cubes of vinegar can kill three birds with one stone: sharpening blades, cleaning the drain, and removing odors.
It's also important to replace your garbage disposal when it reaches the end of its life expectancy. Most garbage disposals last an average of 12 years.
4. Install Mesh Screens
You can prevent unwanted debris from slipping down your drains if you install small mesh screens. These devices catch debris before it can enter the drain. When the screen fills up, empty it into the trash and disinfect it with bleach, vinegar, or a commercial solution.
5. Avoid Hair-Related Clogs
Consider brushing your hair with a fine-tooth comb before you get in the shower or bath. The comb will remove loose hairs so they don't slide down the drain. You can also bathe pets outdoors instead of in the bathtub.
6. Avoid Sticky Foods
Your kitchen sink's drain isn't meant to tolerate sticky foods. Cooking oil and grease, for instance, will adhere to the insides of the drains and catch other debris. Over time, it will build into a clog for which you need professional assistance. Find another way to dispose of sticky foods.
Protecting your drains from clogs will not just increase the lifespan of your sink, shower, bathtub, and other plumbing fixtures. You'll also save money and stress because you won't need help with expensive repairs.