Unclogging household drains is a time-consuming inconvenience which can be easily be prevented. Clogged drains cause fouls odors and can potentially create bothersome sewer backups as well. For many homeowners, the only solution for a clogged drain is to use harmful chemicals or call a plumbing expert to fix the problem. And while the former choice can have environmental concerns, the latter can be a pricey one. Knowing how to keep drain pipes clean can save you time and money.
Instead, consider a few ways to maintain clog-free drains with some natural and green cleaning solutions. Here are five ways to keep drain pipes clean without the use of unsafe chemical-based cleaners.
The Top 5 Drain Clog Prevention Tips
1. Hot water rinse
One of the easiest and best ways to keep drains clear and free from clogging is to run hot water after every use. This is highly recommended since hot water assists oils present in food products to run down the drain instead of build up inside the pipe surfaces.
If the sink is not prone to frequent clogging or developing musty odors, then hot water may be enough to keep the drain clean and fresh naturally. With sinks that come with stoppers, it is also recommended to use the stopper once a week and fill the sink all the way with water. Release stopper and let the force of the water flush the connecting pipes clean. Where sinks do not have stoppers, the same cleaning effect can be achieved by pouring boiling water down the drain once a week to dissolve grease or scum buildup in the pipes.
2. Baking soda rinse
Where water alone is not enough to keep pipes clean, other cleaning agents may be added to complete the job. This can be particularly true in the case of older pipes or if they are connected to the local sewage plant.
Baking soda acts not only works as a cleaning agent but also helps absorb bad odors, preventing foul smells from building up in the pipes. It is a non-toxic, environmentally friendly household product that can be used to maintain clog free drains.
In instances where sinks begin to drain slowly or start to emit an odor, use half a cup of baking soda poured down the pipe followed by hot water.
3. Vinegar rinse
Yet another way to keep your pipes clog-free is to use a vinegar rinse to prevent gunk and soap build up in drains. Like baking soda, vinegar is also an effective cleaner. It has acetic acid, an efficient organic solvent and very potent in removing buildup in pipes.
For an effective vinegar rinse to keep drain pipes clean, pour one cup of vinegar down the drain and let sit for about half an hour. Then chase the vinegar down with boiling water to clean the drain. For tougher clogs, combine baking soda and vinegar using a half cup of baking soda with a half cup of distilled vinegar. Follow this by pouring several cups of boiling water which will assist the vinegar disinfect and the baking powder scour buildup in pipes.
4. Mesh screen
Because some drains are more likely to clog than others, it is recommended to use mesh screens over all drains. This can be effective when trying to stop the kitchen drain from getting clogged or prevent the bathroom sink from clogging.
While the mesh screen will capture any food particles in the kitchen sink, it will also trap hair and other gunk in bathroom drains. It is important to empty the screen frequently for maximum efficiency. The use of mesh screens is probably one of the cheapest and simplest ways of maintaining clog-free drains.
5. Enzyme treatment
Commercial enzyme treatments are helpful for maintaining and cleaning drains without causing damage to pipes. To use, run water until it is hot since enzymes work better in a warm environment. Mix up the treatment with water and pour into the drain, preferably at nighttime. Let sit overnight for enzymes to work and chase with boiling water the following morning.