Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing concerns for homeowners, but also one of the most preventable! With just a little mindfulness about what’s going into your sink or tub, you can avoid annoying sluggish drains or more serious clogs. The four biggest culprits of a clog- cooking grease, coffee grounds, hair, and soap scum- are all easy to avoid, just so long as you take the time to find ways to ensure they’re not going down your drain. Here are some tips for protecting your drain from clogging, so that you can keep your water- and your household- running without a hitch.
Cut the Grease
Cooking grease is a particularly formidable enemy of a sink drain and a chief cause of a clog. If you’ve ever heard the expression, “they get along like oil and water,” to describe two people who don’t get along with one another at all, you can understand why. Oil, or in this case, cooking grease, does not mix with water, which means that running water down a drain doesn’t help to flush out an oil-based substance. Grease buildup in your drain pipe over time can form one heck of a clog.
What to Do: One simple solution to prevent a clogged kitchen sink drain is to pour all your cooking grease into a container, like an empty can, and then dispose of it properly once it’s full. The same container can be stored in the freezer and used multiple times to collect grease. This way you can be sure none of it is ending up down the drain!
You may not know this, but coffee grounds should not be tossed down the sink drain. We get why this may come as a shock! Individually speaking, coffee grounds are so small, it’s hard to believe that they can clog your drain. However, tossing coffee grounds down the sink drain every day creates a buildup that, over time, can lead to a serious clog.
What To Do: Simply dump your coffee grounds into the trash can, mulch pile, or compost heap, and go about your morning. This way you’ll be absolutely sure that no coffee grounds are lurking in your drain pipe.
Avoid a Hairy Situation
Look, we’re human, and we all have hair on at least some parts of our bodies. Because of this, bathing and showering will always cause some hair to fall down our bathtub and shower drains. Those with longer hair may experience more frequent drain clogs due to the volume of hair that goes down their drains with every shower.
What to Do: One relatively inexpensive solution to prevent hair from going down the drain and forming a sizeable clog is a device called a drain gate. Available in hardware stores and online retailers, drain gates trap hair as it tries to make its way down the drain. Note: you’ll need to clean out the drain gate regularly to keep everything in working order, so this solution may not work so well for those who are squeamish about hair- even their own!
Say Goodbye to Scum
Soap scum, like hair, is an inevitable part of bathing and showering. It’s easy not to think about where soap goes once we’ve washed and let the suds go down the drain. However, soap scum combined with hair or even on its own creates a perfect storm for a tub or shower drain clog, since, like cooking grease, soap scum can’t be easily flushed away like water due to the oils present in its composition.
What To Do: Try running extra-hot water down the drain after each use. Some homeowners swear by adding baking soda to the drain before pouring hot water down, and others recommend pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain, letting it sit for 30 minutes, and then flushing with very hot water.
Knowing how clogs form, what forms them, and how you can prevent them from occurring in the first place can go a long way toward keeping your plumbing in perfect working order. For clogs that go beyond the ordinary, your Boulder plumber is just a phone call away!