If you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve got standing water in your kitchen or bathroom sink, you’ll likely need a plumber to remedy the situation. Clearing clogged drains is something best left to the professionals, but there are some things you can do to prevent the blockage in the first place.
What Causes a Clogged Drain?
The best way to prevent a clogged drain is to understand what creates it in the first place. Some common reasons for blockages include:
- Flushing things meant for the garbage:
Unfortunately, the kitchen sink or bathroom toilet are often used to dispose of items that are meant for the garbage. If the item won’t dissolve in water quickly, it will likely clog your drain and require clearing. Items such as feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, hair, cotton swabs, vegetable peels, pasta or even children’s toys. There are plenty of items that regularly get flushed but SHOULD NEVER have gone down the drain in the first place. Drain cleaning is often required for cooks who pour kitchen grease down the sink. Grease should be disposed of differently.
- Coffee Grounds:
Coffee grounds combine with other items to create a cement-like substance creating clogged drains. Do your best to clean your french press of grounds before rinsing it out. Then, compost your grounds, don’t pour them down the drain.
- Poor Plumbing:
Plumbing principles are pretty straight forward yet any home handyman can take a try at installation of modifications to save a few dollars. Proper venting may not have been set up, or the drain angle is too shallow. Just about any episode of Holmes on Homes shows examples of plumbing issues the previous owner introduced. It’s always best to have the professional plumber install and service the plumbing.
Tree roots will find the smallest crack in sewer line connections and cause a clogged drain more often than you might imagine. If you suspect tree roots may be a problem for your clogged drain, call us and we’ll have our plumber do a diagnostic and advise.
How to Prevent a Clogged Drain
Just as a smart homeowner will install a water softener to protect their plumbing and extend it’s life, they also want to take a few simple steps to prevent their drains from clogging in the first place. Taking preventative measures will save you money, decrease the chances of needing an emergency plumber and provide a worry free environment for your family.
- Use a sink strainer – A clogged kitchen sink can easily be prevented by using a sink strainer. They’re available for all sizes of drains and will be your first line of defense to prevent the clogged drain. With less items entering the pipe in the first place, there’s less chance of needing a drain cleaning
- Perform Regular Garburator Maintenance – If you’re getting an unpleasant odor or it’s not running as efficiently as you’d like, it could be that your garbage disposer is plugged with food debris. Use the baking soda and vinegar recipe further down this page as a remedy.
- Use a Hair Trap – Your bathroom tub drain clogged up and you’ve got standing water. Odds are pretty good that human or pet hair is the source of the problem. A simple hair trap screen used over the drain, prevents the hair from creating the clog. Clear the trap after each shower and you will keep well ahead of any problems
- Vinegar Flush – A vinegar flush once a month can be useful for cleaning your pipes and keeping them clean.
How to Fix Clogged Drains with Baking Soda and VinegarIf you’ve taken the care to prevent the clog but water still won’t drain, it may be time to break out the baking soda and vinegar.
It really does work and it’s actually quite cost effective way for homeowners or tenants to save money on plumbers.
This homemade DIY recipe will work for removing garbage disposal odors as well.
- Baking Soda
- Hot Water
Recipe & Instructions
- First: Pour a pot of boiling hot water down the drain.
- Second: Put a 1/2 cup of baking soda into the clogged drain.
- Third: Let Everything sit. Let the first two steps take effect by letting the drain sit for 5 minutes. This is important.
- Fourth: While you’re waiting, ready a drain plug to put into or over the drain opening. You’ll use it in the next step.
- Fourth: Mix 1 Cup Vinegar with 1 Cup boiling hot water, and pour down the drain. When the vinegar and baking soda meet, there will be a chemical reaction that begins to create a lot of bubbles and foam. You’ll want to lock this reaction in by plugging the opening of the drain. By covering the opening, the effect will be maximized in the clogged drain and not have the energy released to the sink. While covered, boil more water.
- Fifth: Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Finally: Flush one final time, with more hot water.
Modification for Garbage Disposal Smells: The same recipe for clearing a clogged drain can be used for freshening up your garburator too. Use half as much baking soda, and no need to cover the drain. the baking soda will neutralize any odors while the same chemical reaction will clean the blades and machinery.
How This Method of Clearing Clogged Drains Works
Baking soda and the hot water should have cleaned up any debris in the pipe and then the chemical reaction that occurs when the vinegar is introduced should shake the rest around enough to finally clear the blockage and allow proper drainage to resume.
This homemade recipe for clearing drains is best on new plumbing and when used in a regular manor along with the tips above to prevent the clog in the first place
Baking soda and vinegar for clogged drains is easy, affordable and won’t damage your pipes.
With a little extra elbow grease, a plunger, and the recipe above, you may be able to get yourself out of a jam before calling us for the heavy lifting work.