Top 6 Tips for Cleaning Your Drains WITHOUT Damaging Them
When drains become clogged, they can cause overflow, create foul smells and drain more slowly. We are going to show you some of the best things you can do to keep your drains free from clogs and to deal with blockages when they occur.
You should clean your drains about once a week. That doesn’t mean getting down and dirty in the grain, but you can simply pour some hot water down there to clear out any blockages that might be apparent. Even if you don’t see the water draining slowly or see anything blocking your pipes, it’s still a good idea to send some hot water through the plumbing to clear potential blockages. This prevents build-up and makes it less likely that you will have a blockage later. Make sure the water is boiling hot, so it will have the best chance of getting rid of things stuck in your pipes. Margerie who manages Diamond Cleaning Services admits “this simple cleaning technique can remove grease, food particles and even large blockages by dissolving them quickly and effectively”.
If you are cleaning a bathroom sink drain or a shower drain, then you may find hair clogging it up. You don’t want to try to wash it down, since that can simply move the blockage deeper into the pipe and make it harder to deal with. You want to physically pull the hair back out, if possible.
Start by pulling out any hair that is hanging on the drain cover. This may be connected to more hair deep down, and you can get rid of a lot of blockage this way. If you know there is more hair deeper in the pipe, then you can use a drain snake to pull it out. This is a thin piece of metal that can be bent to move through the pipes effectively. Be sure it has some sort of hook on the end that you stick in the drain so that it can hook hair masses and pull them back out.
If you are cleaning the drain in the kitchen, then most of what you will be getting out of the drain is food. If hot water isn’t enough to get rid of the blockage, then you may have to use a drain cleaner. This can break down pieces of food even better than hot water can, but you want to ensure you are using a safe drain cleaner. Some of them are corrosive and will damage your pipes. Others release pungent chemicals that are unpleasant or even dangerous to be around. Be sure the kitchen is properly ventilated before you use a drain cleaner.
In some cases, you can use a drain snake to pull the food out, or you can use it to break down the food deep in the pipe and make it easier to wash away.
Cleaning the Outlet
Your drain may let water out somewhere outdoors, and you ought to know where that outlet is. Check it every week or so to ensure that it is not blocked and that you don’t need to clear it out. Be sure to keep debris away from the opening of the outlet and maintain it so that it will work properly to get rid of the content of your sink.
You can clear the area around the outlet of dirt, brush and other things that could block it up. If you are having trouble getting rid of blockages on the inside of your home, then you may want to to try from the outlet end, checking to see if anything is in there that you can remove from that end. Use a drain snake to pull items from the outlet without damaging the pipes.
Dealing with Tough Blockages
There will be some blockages that a drain snake won’t be able to handle and drain cleaner may not be strong enough to deal with. In these cases, you may have to use more extreme measures.
It may take some serious force to get rid of whatever is blocking your drains. In those cases, you can try bringing the garden hose inside your home and attaching it to the faucet or running it through the window. Then spray it down the drain at full blast to dislodge any blockages. Do not use a pressure washer hose, as that can create enough force to damage your pipes, and it is not safe to use inside the house.
You can use a garden hose from the outlet end of the pipe as well to get rid of any blockages that may be hiding there.
Another method that may work is to use boiling water and drain cleaner repeatedly. Pour whichever one you want down the drain and let it set for 10 or 15 minutes. This gives it time to work on the blockage and hopefully dissolve some of it. Then pour more hot water or drain cleaner down the pipe to whittle away at the blockage further. You may have to do this several times to clear out your pipes.
Don’t Do This!!!!
Finally, we want to leave you with some words of warning. We already mentioned not using a pressure washer, but you also want to be careful about using a toilet plunger. That’s a tool that can be very useful for clearing out blockages in your drains, but you should not use it if you poured drain cleaner down your pipes. It can cause the chemicals to shoot back out the end you are working on and spray your skin or eyes.
Also, be careful about running too much water down your drain when there is a serious blockage. You can cause overflow and make it harder to attack the blockage directly. Try only a little water at a time, and the hotter the water is, the more effective it will be.
We hope these tips help you out and make it easier for you to keep your drains free and clear of blockages.