How to Keep All of the Drains in your House Clean
A lot of people value neatness and cleanliness when it comes to their home. They will spend their weekends wiping down countertops, vacuuming dirt from their carpets and mopping their tile floors. They will tackle every single surface in the house, and they won’t stop working until it sparkles.
There is one spot that even the most enthusiastic cleaner will forget to include on their to-do list. They will scrub the toilet, sponge the sinks and clear grime from bathtubs, but they won’t think about their drains.
Sometimes people treat their toilets like trash cans, tossing garbage into the basin and flushing it away. While the toilet is treated as instant garbage disposal, the kitchen sink drain is used as a replacement for a compost bin. People pour an endless list of food items down the drain, without realizing that it’s damaging the plumbing and setting up a big clog.
One of the food products that should never go near any sink drain is cooking grease. Cooking grease seems like it’s appropriate for the sink because it’s a liquid, but it slowly solidifies as it cools and sticks to the insides of pipes.
When you’re done cooking with grease, you should carefully pour the hot liquid into a jar and set it aside until it cools. When it has hardened, use it for other cooking purposes or dispose of it by tossing it into the compost and wiping the jar clean with a strip of paper towel.
Other products made from oil or animal fats should never make it into the bottom of the sink basin, including:
- •Salad dressing
Emptying grease and fats down the drain create build-up along your pipes and make for clogs that are hard to get rid of on your own. Another important reason to break this habit is that these specific ingredients collect in the municipal plumbing system and form something called a sewer fatberg — this is a massive accumulation of fats and non-biodegradable products like baby wipes that sits in the sewer and obstructs flow.
Other items shouldn’t go down the drain because they are designed to expand in liquid. Starchy ingredients like rice and pasta will cling to the pipes when they are wet and sticky. Considering how you cook a lot of rice or pasta at once, you can quickly build up a pipe clog after cooking a single meal.
Along with fats and starches, here is a list of things to never put down the sink if you want to keep your drain clean and clear of any obstructions:
- •Coffee grounds
- •Vegetable peels
- •Fruit Rinds
- •Animal Bones
To avoid unwanted items getting down the drain, use a screen or drain basket to catch food scraps from rinsed dishes. When you decide to scrub your sink or wipe down your faucet, you should think about performing some quick maintenance on the drain as well.
Boil a kettle of water and then pour the contents down the empty sink to let it rinse away any potential build-up. This is a quick chore that could help you avoid a nasty clog or a slow draining sink.
If your kitchen sink has a bad clog and a plunger won’t clear it, you should call a plumber. Don’t pour a harsh store-bought liquid cleaner down the drain, because it emits harmful fumes and it can damage your pipes.
These liquid cleaners don’t always work since they are not designed to handle every type of substance. As professional plumbers, we can identify the cause of the clog and the best way to remove it. We can also do a drain maintenance program where we use the best drain cleaner for kitchen sinks on a monthly basis to stop slow draining and foul odours.
A clean toilet drain doesn’t necessarily mean that the porcelain is sparkling — it means that the plumbing is completely free of any clogs or obstructions. The main way to accomplish a clear drain is to avoid flushing the wrong things down the toilet. Many items cause difficult clogs that can’t be moved with the help of patience or a plunger.
One bad habit that can backfire is flushing sanitary napkins, liners or tampons down the drain. The reason why menstrual products are labelled as things to never flush down the toilet is that they are purposely designed to expand when they get soaked in liquid.
The products will swell when they are dropped into the toilet water, raising their chances of snagging or catching on the insides of pipes as they travel down the plumbing system. Since cotton doesn’t break down easily in water, they can get stuck and collect other passing items to create a troubling blockage.
Another habit that you should try to break is tossing wipes down the toilet. All wipes should be put into the trash can, whether they are made for makeup removal, hand washing, diaper changing or personal cleaning.
Despite the packaging claims of being flushable, they are not fit for the plumbing system and can cause an expensive clog if you’re not careful. Like menstrual products, they can snag on the sides of pipes and collect other items since they do not break down easily in water.
The common practice of putting flushable wipes down the toilet instead of into the garbage can cause waste treatment plant problems like sewer obstruction and destroyed equipment. If these products can harm a municipal treatment system, imagine what they can do your home plumbing.
Even if you aren’t putting them down the toilet, other residents could be unwittingly causing plumbing trouble. If you feel like the toilet isn’t running as well as it should, talk to everyone else in the household about their flushing habits. This is an important conversation to have with young children, who are already notorious for throwing inappropriate objects like toys down the drain.
Here is a longer list of things you should never flush down the toilet if you want to keep your plumbing system running smoothly and you want to avoid an unnecessary expense:
- •Paper towel
- •Dental floss
- •Cotton swabs
- •Kitty litter
Ideally, you should only send three things down the toilet drain: water, human waste and toilet paper. While toilet paper in large amounts can cause a clog, it is designed to break down while immersed in water. If the toilet gets clogged by toilet paper often, you can take it as a sign that you should reduce the amount of paper you use.
A water-conserving low-flush toilet might also be a reason behind frequent toilet paper clogs. In this case, you can deal with the struggle by having a plunger nearby or by replacing the fixture with a dual-flush toilet.
Keeping the drain clear of these objects will guarantee that you avoid difficult clogs, long-lasting odours and unsightly overflows. If you happen to have a clog that doesn’t come loose with the help of a plunger, you should call a plumber to clear it.
Ignoring a serious toilet clog is not an option, especially when your household only has one bathroom. Feel free to call us at any time of day to deal with your toilet drain — our 24-hour plumbing services are available so that homeowners can get their plumbing working again, even if it’s an inconvenient time.
Bathtubs and Showers
Loose hair is one of the top causes for clogs with your shower or bathtub drain because it sticks to the sides of the pipe and gathers more fallen hair like a nest. Hair protein is surprisingly strong and it doesn’t break down in water, so you can have a blockage that’s been growing in your shower drain for years.
Since the shower is the space where you wash and comb your hair, loose strands falling to the floor are unavoidable. What you can do is put a hair catcher over the drain to stop the strands from going down with the water.
If water isn’t going down the drain or it’s going down at a crawl, you should call the drain cleaning experts in Toronto because conventional liquid drain cleaners are not designed to break down hair. You also don’t want to put harsh chemicals in a spot where you bathe. With the help of a drain snake, they will clear out the hair blockage and get the drain running perfectly.
It’s possible for your drains to act up even after you have treated them properly. The reason behind the slow drains, strong odours and blockages could have nothing to do with your actions. It could be from invading tree roots, cracking pipes, sewer back-up, rodent infestations or other circumstances that are not directly in your control.
If you’re baffled by the problems with your drains, you can say goodbye to your plumbing issues today after you call a professional to run diagnostics at your house and figure out what’s going on.
The ultimate sign that you have clean drains is that you don’t notice them at all. When you wash the dishes in the sink, you don’t smell any strange or pungent odours. When you take a shower, the water doesn’t collect on the bottom around your feet. As long as you keep the wrong things out of your drains, they should run smoothly.
Available at your inconvenience. At no extra cost.
Because drain issues never seem to arise during business hours, Sewer Squad offers 24/7 emergency service with no overtime charge. Flooded basement on New Year's Day? We’re there. Just call our emergency number and we’ll be at your door, fast.