How Can I Prevent Clogged Drains in My Home?

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You’ve probably tried it before – that disgusting feeling when the bathtub or kitchen sink refuses to drain and murky water starts inching back up. You start imagining the water spilling over onto your clean floors. Your heart sinks – not another clogged drain! 

While clogged drains may seem inevitable, the good news is, you can actually prevent most of them from happening. You just need to put in the routine care. After all, nobody wants to spend valuable time struggling with foul drains or chasing down nasty clogs.

Whether you’re in the kitchen prepping a meal, washing up in the bathroom, or powering through loads of laundry, we have a lot of tips to keep your drains flowing freely. Using drain covers, pouring boiling water, and using liquid soap are just some of the handy tips we will share with you. 

So stop resigning yourself to a life of clogged drains! Follow our guide to enjoy free-flowing drains for years to come.

Understanding Common Causes of Clogged Drains

You’d think something as simple as a drain wouldn’t have such a big impact on your life, but oh how those innocent looking pipes can turn against you! From the shower to the kitchen sink, all sorts of unsuspecting culprits are just waiting to slowly bind up and obstruct your drains.

Get ready to meet the main offenders:

Hair

Let’s start with one of the most prolific clog-causers – hair. Whether it’s shower strands, bathroom sink shavings, or even pet fur balls, all those little hairy strands have an impressive ability to intertwine and tangle together into solid drain-blockers over time.

Soap Scum

Let’s not overlook this next offender – that stubborn soap scum and residue that clings to tubs, tiles, and honestly, any other wet surface. That thick, sticky film has no problem cementing itself to the insides of your pipes too, gradually accumulating and narrowing drain channels until they’re completely clogged.

Food Waste

Let’s pivot to the kitchen now because those seemingly innocent food scraps and crumbs are definitely not drain-friendly. From fibrous veggie peelings to starchy grains, all that organic matter can collect and compact over time, slowly choking off water flow.

Grease and Fat

And you’d better believe that greasy pan residue or leftover cooking oils don’t just harmlessly rinse away. While they may pour smoothly when piping hot, those viscous liquids rapidly congeal and cling to pipe walls as they cool, trapping other debris and gradually building up into solid obstructions.

Small Objects

Not to sound like a broken record, but any random little household objects that accidentally get flipped down a drain quickly turn into plumbing enemies. Kids’ toys, jewelry, caps from products – anything small and hard can easily become lodged, immediately catching any passing hair or food remnants to spawn a nasty clog.

Mineral Buildup

Last but not least, let’s pay attention to a silent clog-creator – mineral buildup. Over years and years of water passing through pipes, mineral deposits like calcium and lime can slowly accumulate on pipe walls until they solidify into drain-blocker status. This one’s a real insidious, long-game type of clog situation!

The good news is that simply being aware of these common drain criminals puts you ahead of the game. Avoiding them as much as possible and implementing a few good habits is often all it takes to steer clear of disgusting backups. Stay tuned for our full rundown of blockage-preventing tips!

Preventing Clogged Drains in the Kitchen

Let’s kick things off in the kitchen, shall we? This high-traffic area is often ground zero for some serious drain clog culprits.

Proper Disposal of Cooking Grease 

We get it, rinsing away those greasy pan dribbles seems like the easy move. But pouring hot oils and fats down sinks is a surefire path to drain disaster! Let the grease cool and dispose of it properly in a dedicated grease collection container. Also, wipe out gunky pans with a paper towel before washing. Those small habits prevent major backups down the road. 

Use of Sink Strainers

All those little food bits and crumbs have a bad habit of slipping right down into pipes where they can join forces into nasty clogs. But you can neutralize those particle culprits by picking up some handy sink strainers or drain covers. These nifty mesh catchers will grab all those would-be pipe bandits before they can ever escape down the drain!

Avoid Certain Foods in the Garbage Disposal

Speaking of food remnants, let’s first talk about garbage disposals. While those nifty appliances can zap lots of scraps, there are certain food foes that are just asking for a clogged disaster. 

Ultra fibrous stringy things like celery or veggie peels? They’ll spin into super tight drain knots. Same goes for ultra starchy debris like potato peels that can congeal into obstructions. A little discretion upfront saves you from lots of hassle later!

Regular Garbage Disposal Cleaning

You know what’s definitely not doing your sink’s drain any favors? All the built-up gunk, debris, and odors currently lurking in your garbage disposal’s inner depths. Those neglected disposals can seriously gum up the works over time. 

Do yourself a favor and give it a deep clean every month or so. The internet’s full of easy methods like grinding up a tray of ice and salt to scrub things out or spinning some lemon rinds through for a citrusy reboot.

Regular Hot Water Flush

Last but definitely not least, one of the absolute best preventative measures for keeping those kitchen pipes free and clear? A nice hot water flush! 

Once a week, after you’ve shuffled those dinner dishes into the dishwasher, make it a habit to send a generous glug of boiling hot water down each drain. That thermal shock helps dislodge anything trying to take up residence while sanitizing at the same time. Just be cautious of exposed plumbing fittings that could be damaged by the extreme temps.

Preventing Clogged Drains in the Bathroom

Alright, let’s move on to the bathroom! This ultra humid environment is a haven for some seriously stubborn drain offenders.

Hair Management

As mentioned – hair is public enemy #1 for shower and sink drains. All those little strands have an impressive knack for intertwining into mega hairy obstructions over time. 

But you can prevent this by installing some mesh hair catchers in your tubs and sink drains. These nifty little strainers will literally catch those pesky locks before they can ever escape down the pipes and cause havoc. 

Pro tip: giving your mane a good brush before showering helps dislodge even more shed strands!

Soap and Shampoo Residue

Okay, let’s talk about that stubborn soap scum and shampoo residue that loves coating basically every wet surface. This residue can also stick to the insides of your pipes, steadily building up over time until – you guessed it – full-on clogs. 

Using liquid body washes and shampoos can cut down on the amount of gunky residue. But you should still regularly brush tubs, sinks, and surfaces – that built-up goop inevitably gets rinsed away straight into drains.

Avoid Flushing Inappropriate Items

Raising your eyebrows at us for this one? Hey, you’d be surprised at what people attempt to send swirling down their toilets! 

While it may seem convenient, flushing feminine hygiene products is a terrible idea. The same goes for those toilet-clogging “flushable” wipes – it’s better to throw them in the trash! Those non-dissolving items are basically just waiting to bind up and clog pipes. Do your drains a favor and reconsider that flush!

Preventing Clogged Drains in the Laundry Room

Alright, let’s shift our focus to the laundry room! This hard-working utility space has its own unique set of drain saboteurs to watch out for.

Lint Lockdown

Lint is the worst enemy of laundry room drains. All those tiny fuzzy fibers have an impressive ability to steadily accumulate over time, binding together into clumps. Your first line of defense? Using a lint trap or filter in your washing machine and religiously cleaning it out between cycles. Those handy little catchers will grab all the fuzzy culprits before they go down the drain.

While we’re on the topic of lint, be mindful of where you’re dumping that lint trap too! Avoid just chucking those fuzzy loads straight into the utility sink – that’s a surefire path to a serious backup. Either bag it up or invest in a lint disposal with a sealed drain pipe to whisk it all away safely.

Detergent Overload

Attention all you laundry soap enthusiasts – using too much detergent could be actively working against your pristine pipes! Excess suds and concentrated detergent residues have no problem accumulating and sticking to the slimy insides of drain pipes over time. The result? A sudsy sludge that keeps on building until – bam – you’ve got a full clog situation on your hands. 

Always measure detergent properly and never overindulge.

Errant Object Patrol

Last but not least, make a habit of checking pockets, shaking out clothes, and doing a quick visual scan before sending loads through the washing machine’s drain system. 

Tiny loose items like stray coins, hair ties, or even kids’ playthings have an impressive knack for slipping through into pipes where they can quickly catch on debris and spawn a nasty clog. Just a few seconds of due diligence avoids major headaches later!

See? Keeping the drains in each room of your house clog-free is totally manageable with some simple habit adjustments. 

DIY Drain Maintenance Tips

Now that we’ve covered some excellent practices for preventing clogs in each room, let’s discuss some general routine maintenance steps you can do to avoid nasty backups before they happen. These DIY methods are cheap and easy but will help to keep your drains flowing smoothly. Some diligence upfront will steer you away from big headaches later on.

Regular Hot Water Flushing

As already mentioned, one easy technique is to periodically flush your drains with boiling hot water. You can do this whether you are in the kitchen or shower room.

Just pour boiling water down the drain! That blast of heat can help dissolve and break up the gunky buildup that is causing the blockage. Just be a little cautious if you have any exposed pipes nearby that could potentially get damaged by those extreme temperatures.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

If plain boiling water doesn’t work, you can also try using baking soda and vinegar. First, pour some baking soda down the drain, followed by white distilled vinegar. The chemical reaction between the two will fizz and help break down sticky buildup. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes before flushing with more hot water.

Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar

Another homemade solution is mixing baking soda with cream of tartar and hot water to create a fizzy drain cleaning mixture. The abrasive cream of tartar helps scour away buildup when combined with the foaming action of the baking soda.

Enzyme Drain Cleaners

Consider keeping some eco-friendly, enzyme-based drain cleaners on hand. These use natural microbes to break down hair, soap scum, and organic matter clogging the pipes. They’re a good alternative to harsh chemical cleaners.

Drain Snakes/Augers

Dealing with a really stubborn drain clog can certainly test one’s patience. When the usual tricks aren’t quite doing the job, it may be time to break out the drain snake or auger tool. The long, flexible cables of these devices allow you to manually crank them down into the drain itself. They can then latch onto and pull out all kinds of nasty obstructions.

Performing Regular Drain Inspections

In addition to active maintenance, don’t forget to regularly inspect your drains to identify potential clog sources early.

You can just use a flashlight to look for any visible debris buildup and clear out drain catchers or covers as needed.

Remember that consistent, proactive care is key to avoiding bigger problems later on. Implementing these simple maintenance techniques regularly will help keep your drains free-flowing.

When to Call in the Pros

Let’s face it, even if you’re diligently maintaining your drains, there may come a time when you encounter a clog that’s simply too stubborn to fix on your own.

We often hesitate to call for professional backup because we worry about the costs it may entail. However, knowing when to surrender and call for help may actually save you a lot of time, resources, and headaches. 

How to Spot a Serious Clog

There are certain signs that you’re dealing with more than just an ordinary clogged drain. Some telltale signs include multiple fixtures backing up, gurgling or bubbling drains, and water that drains very slowly even after attempting to clear the clog yourself.  An extremely foul, rotten odor seeping out of the drains is another dead giveaway that you’re facing a nasty, deep-seated clog.

The Limits of DIY

Now, techniques like snaking drains, using natural cleaning concoctions, and flushing with boiling water are totally your friends for routine drain maintenance. But they do have their limits in terms of how far they can reach and what they can power through. Continuing to chase a clog with DIY methods beyond that point often leads to more frustration than results.

Calling for Backup

This is the point where you’ll want to call in the pros who have the specialized tools and training for these types of emergencies. Experienced plumbers have access to some seriously heavy-duty tools such as high-powered hydro-jetting equipment that can blast through even the most stubborn clogs with high-pressure water streams. They also have rotating cable augers with cutting heads that can chew through obstructions no basic drain snake could handle.

Not only do these professional solutions pack way more punch, but they also allow the plumbers to fully inspect and diagnose what’s going on inside your pipes. They can run video camera inspections to get a crystal clear look at what type of nastiness is clogging things up and locate any cracks, bellies or other damage that could be making the situation worse.

Forcing It Can Backfire

While it’s admirable to try and tackle a clog yourself, sometimes powering through major blockages alone can actually cause more harm than good. If you end up using too much muscle, you risk pushing that clog even deeper into the system or cracking pipes. It could even lead to a bigger mess like a flooded basement or sewage backing up all over.

When the DIY methods have been exhausted, throwing in that towel and calling in professional drain cleaning is definitely a wise move.

Down the Drain: Say Goodbye to Clogs for Good

Having to deal with clogged, slow-draining pipes is one of those inevitable homeowner hassles. But don’t resign yourself to constantly fighting rancid backups or chasing down clogs. There is a lot you can do to prevent it! With some simple maintenance habits, you can keep your drains happily flowing like champs for years on end.

From being mindful of what actually goes down those pipes to performing the occasional hot water flush or drain inspection, it doesn’t take much preventative effort to avoid nasty obstructions. However, even the most diligent and DIY-savvy homeowner may eventually encounter a super stubborn clogged drain.

If you find yourself in that situation, don’t wait for things to get out of hand – call in the professionals! Drain clogs are frustrating, but with the right help, you can avoid a messier sewage nightmare.

At Steve’s Plumbing and A/C Services, we have an experienced plumbing team equipped with all the latest tools and expertise to power through any type of clog. From high-pressure hydro-jetting to video inspections, we have a solution for any type of drain obstruction. 

You don’t have to battle those drains alone! We can help you handle it quickly and efficiently. Dial (808) 563-4054 or visit us online to schedule your drain cleaning service today!

What Our Clients Say

Matt was very professional and considerate as we are in a COVID world. May not necessarily be the cheapest but you are paying for the quality, peace of mind, and quick response time to my urgent matter. I will definitely call them again for my next plumbing issue.

-Elias S.

If you have any plumbing needs this is the company to use. They said they would be there at 9:30 and by gosh, they showed up at 9:28 that not a normal thing when it comes to plumbing. Both of them were not they answered all my questions without hesitation and got the job done within 45 minutes even though they said it would take an hour and a half.

-Bob J.

Brayden and Maka worked on a major repair at our home over a time period of four days. We have high praise for both of them, their professionalism, courtesy, friendliness, and reliability. Steve’s Plumbing is lucky to have these two fine employees.

-Ulrich

Shon Bolo was very courteous. He was very informative about how Plumbing is just as important as the engine of a car. He was very respectful. Even though I wasn’t able to get everything done as expected. Shon was able to install my laundry tub to get my washer ready to drain and connected. Definitely would recommend shon bolo to friends and neighbors. Thank you very much for the wonderful job. Great service Shon!!

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