When water is not draining as it should, you likely have a clog in your pipes. A clogged drain will behave by the water draining slower than normal or not being able to send water down the pipeline. A clog can occur in the kitchen or bathroom sink, the bathtub or shower, and even the toilet. Keeping drains from clogging prioritizes keeping your pipes clear, clean, and running efficiently.
Here are eleven tips on how to keep drains from clogging in the future:
1. Use your garbage disposal right
You can’t put any food down the drain for homes with the garbage disposal. Certain foods can cause trouble, including banana peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, and potato skins. These will stick together and won’t grind well in the disposal. Foods that are thick and sticky, similarly, are problematic.
2. Use a drain strainer in your kitchen
Your kitchen sink deals with many food debris you’re rinsing off plates, bowls, and more. All the debris would normally get sent down the drain where, in certain cases, it can clog. A kitchen sink drain strainer is all you need to catch all of that and prevent these tiny pieces of food from travelling down.
3. Pour hot water down your kitchen drain
Once a week, try to get into the habit of pouring down your kitchen sink and drain a kettle of hot water. This will help melt away any fat or grease collected in your pipes. If you have old pipes and know that your sink is prone to clogs, pouring hot water down as a precaution can resolve some of this clogging before they occur.
4. Check the p-trap
The P-trap is the U-shaped drain pipe under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. This can be unfastened and cleared. This is where a lot of clogs can gather and will collect debris.
A plumbing snake or plunger may be able to clear and push this area clean without removing it from the pipe. Removing the P-trap can provide insight into what’s causing clogs if you know about plumbing. Otherwise, you can ask a plumber to do a professional inspection.
5. Use a drain snake to remove hair
In the bathtub, the most common clogged drain culprit is long hair. If someone in your home maintains long hair and you don’t have a cap over the drain, all that hair will be sent down the drain.
If you have an existing clog, clear it by feeding a drain snake in and out. To ensure the hair clog doesn’t happen again, use a stainless steel shower drain catcher or a screen as an alternative to your shower or tub stopper.
6. Do not pour grease or oil down the drain
Some have the habit of getting rid of hot grease or hot oil by pouring it down the drain. What happens is that these substances harden and cover the inside of the pipe, narrowing it and creating easy spots where clogs can happen. Instead, let any grease or oil cool and pour it out inside a trash bag.
7. Avoid emptying coffee grounds into the sink
Coffee grounds may seem harmless however they can get caught in the drain trap underneath the kitchen sink. They can easily cause a difficult-to-remove clog if too many coffee grounds are caught in this space.
Always empty coffee grounds into the garbage and not the sink. This applies to anything similar to coffee grounds, such as dirt rinsed off from plants or other items.
8. Watch what you flush in your toilet
Your toilet is only designed to handle toilet paper and human waste. Any dense, stringy, and bulky materials that might be struggling to disintegrate in water can easily cause a clog. Dental floss, feminine hygiene products, condoms, and even paper towels can clog toilets.
9. Do not flush ‘flushable’ wipes or products
It’s fairly common among plumbers that flushable wipes aren’t so flushable. They do not disintegrate quickly enough to get down the pipe. They often clump together, creating a clog in a toilet without doing much. It is best to never flush a flushable wipe. Keep these out of your toilet and in your trash can.
10. Have a clog remover ready
Your drain may eventually clog, and there won’t be much you can do. A plunger can work in some instances. A drain snake can dislodge what you need to be gone in others. A clog remover’s a last resort.
It doesn’t hurt to have a clog remover in your cupboard but recognize there’s a lot more you can do when you have a clogged drain before reaching for it.
11. Update your plumbing
Older homes may have disintegrating plumbing systems and drain that no longer work. Homeowners tired of experiencing routine drain clogs may want to reach out to a plumber and have their plumbing assessed. An update on older plumbing can do a lot of good and will hopefully remove the design issues that could be causing your drains to clog so often.