How to Keep Your Drains Clean and Clear

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No one wants to have a clogged drain in their home or business. From toilets that won’t flush to drain smells that make your property practically uninhabitable, drains that are not clean and clear lead to nothing but trouble. Think that this nuisance is unavoidable? Think again. We’re going to show you how to keep your drains clog-free in your home or local Tucson business.

Some Items Should Never Go Down the Drain

Step one on the journey to avoiding clogged or slow drains? Stop sending the wrong items down the pipes. There are certain items that are common sense, but other things that are bad for your drains might surprise you. So, what are the things you need to stop putting into your pipes to avoid needing Tucson drain cleaning services?

  • Pasta: The flour used in most types of pasta continues to swell as long as it’s in contact with water—just try leaving some noodles you have boiled in their pot overnight to see how significant this swelling can be. Additionally, pasta will coagulate and form a larger mass, creating a significant clog.
  • Rice: Just like pasta, rice can swell and coagulate inside your drains. Always toss your rice in the trash instead of the garbage disposal or sending it directly down the drain.
  • Other Starchy Foods: Potatoes, corn, onion skins, and even plain flour are all items that will stick to your pipes and contribute to clogs. Pitch them rather than rinsing them into the drain.
  • Coffee Grounds: With most coffee machines having reusable filters, people often feel the logical method of cleaning is to rinse these out in the sink. However, coffee grounds clump together and can form a pretty solid mass, blocking pipes. Instead, wipe them out over the trash can or consider using disposable filters.
  • Fruit Pits: You might assume that the garbage disposal can handle these, but it is rare for residential disposals to have sharp enough blades for the job. Toss or compost them instead— unless your disposal offers industrial strength.
  • Fruit Rinds and Skins: You’ve probably seen guides online claiming you can place these in your drains to make them smell better. Well, perhaps for a few hours, but because they won’t wash away, this life hack will leave your property smelling worse than it did before.
  • Oil, Grease, and Fat: All these substances tend to stick to pipes and build up steadily over time. Keep in mind that oils are in many foods—including mayonnaise and salad dressing, for example. So, when cleaning dishes, pots, and pans, head to the trash can first. As for oils not used for cooking—such as motor oil—take care to dispose of these properly.
  • Stickers: Unsurprisingly, stickers on fruits and vegetables can stick to your drain pipes if they get washed down the drain. When washing your produce, take care to remove the stickers first.
  • Hygienic Items: baby wipes, sanitary wipes, cotton balls, paper towels, and other hygienic products should never be flushed or otherwise sent down the drain. Not only can they get caught on other items that are sticking to your drain pipes, but in many cases they will continue to expand when wet, allowing them to create a significant clog all on their own. Even if you have a product that says it’s flushable—like wipes—it isn’t safe to flush down the drain.
  • Cat Litter: When scooping out your cat’s box, it can seem logical to flush the waste and litter you clean out. But litter—especially clumping litter—will glob together and harden, eventually creating a difficult clog.

If you’re already keeping these items out of your drains, you’re doing great. If not, it’s time to change your habits. Of course, there’s more to keeping drains clean and clear than just being mindful of what you are actively putting down them.

If you’re already keeping these items out of your drains, you’re doing great. If not, it’s time to change your habits. Of course, there’s more to keeping drains clean and clear than just being mindful of what you are actively putting down them.

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

Now that we know what should not be put down drains, is there anything else you can do to keep your drains functioning well? Absolutely. Here are a few ideas you can implement in your home or business.

  • Use drain catchers or strainers in every drain possible. This will keep most problematic items from getting into your pipes. For drains that are at risk of hair clogs, such as bathroom sinks and showers, purchase drain catchers specifically designed to keep hair out.
  • Brush your hair before getting into the shower. This will remove most of the loose strands that can cause problems. Even if you have a drain catcher, it’s a good idea to lower the risk.
  • Clean your sinks and showers with products designed to fight soap scum. Scum is not just a problem where you can see it; it can build up in your drain pipes as well.
  • Educate the other people in your household and employees at your business. Even if you’re doing everything right, it won’t mean much if other people in the building are making poor choices that contribute to clogged drain pipes.
  • Make it easy to make the right choices. Keep trash cans close to sinks so no one is tempted to pour items down the sink rather than throw them away.

Your Basic Drain Pipe Maintenance

Once you have the prevention aspect down, it’s time to work on maintenance. These simple steps should help deal with any problems that might develop despite your hard work. We suggest the following:

  • At the end of each use of your sink, tub, or shower, run hot water for a minute to help clean things out.
  • Check your drain traps once a week and clean them if they are dirty.
  • After this, fill your sink and bath at least part way with hot water and then pull out the stopper and let the water rush down through the pipes. For the shower, fill up a bucket with hot water and then pour it out.
  • Once a month, use a bacterial drain cleaner; this will clear things out without harming your pipes or creating dangerous chemical reactions.
  • If you notice smells, use a mixture of baking soda and hot water or just some plain white vinegar. Pour this into the drain and let it fight the smells.

    Please note that chemical drain cleaners should be avoided both as a maintenance step and as a repair step. These cleaners often damage the pipes as they work and can create hazardous fumes.

Still Having Drain Problems?

If you’re doing all the right things and your drain is still clogging, the issue might be more complicated than just a clogged drain. In this case, you will need a Tucson plumber. Be sure to contact Ram Plumbing and we’ll send a trained and licensed technician to your home or business to figure out the problem. Call us at (520) 747- 8089 or visit our website to learn about our monthly specials. We hope to be your choice for Tucson plumbing services.

Contact Ram Plumbing

Let our licensed plumbers take care of your plumbing in Tucson, AZ, and the surrounding areas. We provide quality solutions at any time of day, as we offer 24/7 services. Schedule an appointment by calling us or filling out our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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