Clogged kitchen sink

How to Avoid Clogged Drains

It should come as no surprise but no one likes a clogged drain. It's a nuisance and can be tricky for a homeowner to fix on their own. Sometimes, the problem is caused by a build-up of hair or food that gets stuck in the drain. With all these common possibilities, it seems like there's no way to avoid a clogged drain. Luckily, Quality Plumbing, Heating & Cooling has a few helpful tricks up our sleeve to provide all homeowners who find themselves in this dreaded situation.

What Shouldn't I Throw Down the Sink Drain?

Paint

This one may come as a surprise to some, but in the midst of completing a DIY-project, it may seem like a quick and simple solution to dispose of your leftover paint down the drain. But, hold it right there — here's a good reason you should turn around and throw that paint in the garbage instead. Think about it like this: whether your paint resides in a palette, cup, or paper dish, the paint typically dries once it hasn't been used for a while — and this concept applies for your drains too.

 

That said, once the paint has been poured down the drain, it will begin to stick to the inside of the drain pipe, eventually drying there, narrowing the passage for water to travel through, and ultimately causing a clog.

Grease

Ah — kitchen grease is one of the things that technicians fear most, but have seen far too often. When your stove is only a few inches away from your sink, you may be tempted to dispose of your leftover bacon grease down the drain — and, you guessed it, that can cause a clog. As mentioned earlier, the hot cooking grease will dry and solidify on your cold drain pipe in a similar manner that paint does (which isn’t a good thing).

 

Also, while on this topic, we're sure drain odors are something you want to avoid, too. So, take the safest approach by carefully pouring hot grease in an old container, let it dry, and put it in the garbage can.

Starchy Foods

Pasta, for example, won't just expand in a pot of water, but in your drain as well. The same thing applies to potato peels and other starchy products. Of course, we recommend avoiding disposing of these foods in your sink drain at all costs.

What Shouldn't Go in the Toilet?

"Flushable" Wipes

Question: are flushable wipes really flushable? Answer: "flushable" wipes do not actually break down as they claim. In fact, these wipes don't dissolve as easily as toilet paper — in turn clogging your pipes. To save your drainage system, and provide yourself with peace of mind, only flush toilet paper (trust us: it will benefit you in the long run).

Kitty Litter

Sure, it might seem that flushing kitty litter down your toilet wouldn’t be a problem. However, the truth is that the sand and clay that make up the litter itself are good at absorbing moisture. In other words, they'll solidify in your toilet and will leave you with a clog

Personal Hygiene Products

Believe it or not, feminine hygiene products do not dissolve in water — which can lead to a massive clog. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid flushing items such as q-tips and cotton balls. These products, as stated before, don't break down like toilet paper, because they can quickly clump together.

What Do I Do if My Sink is Clogged?

We know the first thing, on many homeowners’ minds, is to grab a fast-acting chemical drain cleaner — but this could also wreak havoc on your drains in the long run. Instead, reach for these DIY tools:

Dishwashing Liquid and Boiling Water

For this method, you will just need dish soap and boiling water — followed by taking these steps:

  1. First, you'll want to make sure that your sink is clear of stagnant water. You may need to use a plunger or snake for this.

  2. Once the water is drained, pour dish soap down your drain

  3. Next, carefully pour boiling water down the drain

Then voila! Your drain should be cleared.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Now, if you’d prefer to use vinegar and baking soda, instead, here’s what you’ll need to do in order to help clear your drain:

  1. First, pour a cup of vinegar, followed by a cup of baking soda down your drain.

  2. Next, wait a few hours until the two ingredients mix.

  3. After the time is up, pour boiling water down the drain with a tea kettle.

  4. Once this is complete, your drain should be clog-free!

Use a Drain Plunger

The purpose of using a drain plunger is to use force and compression to move the water forcefully up and down eventually dislodging the clog. But, one of the most important parts is utilizing the right plunger. Once you have the plunger, start plunging your drain by moving the plunge in an up-and-down motion until the water drains.

Still Having Drain Difficulties?

Sometimes, a DIY method doesn't always work effectively or your drains may need maintenance sooner, rather than later. If that lingering problem with your drain persists, or you have a clog on your hands, the Quality Plumbing, Heating & Cooling team is here to help! To schedule an appointment, or learn more about our plumbing services, contact us at (865) 622-7785.