water flowing down drain

Drain Maintenance 101

Say Goodbye to Clogs

As plumbers, we’ve seen it all. From small clogs caused by an accidental flush of a child’s toy to massive blockages caused by years and years of misuse and build-up. It’s easy to not think about what goes down your drains, out of sight, out of mind, after all. However, improper drain usage can lead to large, problematic, and expensive plumbing problems.

No matter what you think you know about your drains, the team at Rooter & Plumbing Masters is bringing you back to the basics of drain care, use, and maintenance.

What Causes Clogs?

This may seem like an easy question to answer, but you might be surprised to learn that there are many things you might be flushing or putting down drains that are causing problems. A clog begins when items do not move smoothly down the pipe, become lodged in place, and begin collecting additional build-up on top of it.

In the Bathroom

So, what items cause clogs and shouldn’t go down the drain? Let’s start in the bathroom. The only thing that should be heading down the toilet drain, other than your business, is toilet paper. The following items should never be flushed:

  • “Flushable” wipes.
  • Feminine or Menstrual products.
  • Cotton swabs, balls, or pads.
  • Tissues.
  • Floss.

Bathtub and shower drains can also collect debris that causes clogs. Over time, large amounts of hair can create massive clumps and a slow drain. If you’re a bath person, the products you use could also be causing trouble. Bath bombs are typically made of dissolvable ingredients that don’t do harm. However, bath bombs with additives like dried flowers, glitter, and confetti should be avoided.

In the Kitchen

If you have a garbage disposal, it can be easy to assume that it can take care of all of your kitchen scraps. Many people misuse their garbage disposal and are surprised when they discover a clog.

It’s essential to remember that a garbage disposal is only meant to grind up and dispose of small scraps of certain foods, not all of your leftovers! Here are a few items you should never put down the kitchen sink:

  • Oil and grease. As it becomes cold, grease coagulates and coats the walls of your pipes. Over time, this creates a smaller opening for other food to pass through, and eventually, you’ll have a clog on your hands.
  • Pasta and rice. Once it becomes wet, the pasta and rice will inflate and not move through your pipes as smoothly.
  • Egg Shells. The membrane can become tangled up around disposal blades.
  • Animal bones. These are too tough for the blades to break up.
  • Stringy vegetables. This includes celery, asparagus, and squash.

Dealing with a Clogged Drain

Nobody wants to deal with a clogged drain for long. At the first sign of a clog, you should take care of it immediately so as to not create a larger problem. It can be tempting to grab the first drain cleaner you see on the store shelf, however, these often contain chemicals that can corrode your pipes and cause further damage.

Instead, pour a healthy amount of baking soda down the drain and allow it to sit for a few moments before adding a cup of white vinegar. Allow it to fizz and settle before pouring boiling water in to flush it all down. If this doesn’t solve your clog problem, it’s time to call the professionals!

An expert plumber will be able to locate the blockage and remove it safely and effectively.

Clog on Your Hands?

If you’re dealing with a clog you can’t clear, give Rooter & Plumbing Masters a call at (323) 902-3098!