Slow Running or Clogged Drains? Keep Them Clean With These 8 Handy Tips

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when the holidays create plenty of opportunities to enjoy family, friends, and food. However, holiday fun can also result in another less pleasant scenario: clogged drains.

An Ounce of Prevention

It’s easier to prevent clogs before they start than to clear them away after they form. Here are a few simple steps you can take to keep clogs from forming:

  1. Be careful about what you allow to pour down the drain. The biggest culprits behind clogged and slow running drains are hair, soap scum, coffee grounds, and grease from cooking. In the bathroom, install a screen or drain gate cover over the drain to catch hair and excess soap, and clean it out regularly. In the kitchen, throw coffee grounds away or use them in the mulch pile and pour cooking oil or grease into a cardboard container or old can before throwing away.
  2. Use your garbage disposal as directed, …which means not putting stringy or fibrous waste — or other clog-worthy items — into it.
  3. Run hot water down the kitchen sink after each use to flush out the drain.
  4. On a regular basis, pour a cup of vinegar (which is an organic solvent) down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes before flushing with hot water.

Attacking the Clog

If the sink is already taking too long to drain or the water in the shower pools up around your ankles, you know there’s already trouble in the drain. There are a few do-it-yourself methods you can try to clear away a clog before it becomes a disaster:

  1. An inexpensive “hair snake” tool or even a wire coat hanger can be very effective in clearing bathroom sinks, and tub and shower drain. By gently inserting the tool or a coat hanger that you’ve straightened and fashioned a small hook on end, you can fish clumps of hair and other gunk out of the drain. Just remember that your mission is the pull the clog out, not push it in further!
  2. A homemade mixture of 1/3 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup vinegar can often work as well as commercial drain cleaner. Immediately pour this fizzy mixture into the clogged drain and let it sit for at least an hour or overnight, if possible. The fizzing action will help dissolve the grime that has built up in the drain. Flush with hot water. You can also try an alternative mixture of ½ cup table salt with ½ cup baking soda; pour into the drain, let sit for 10-20 minutes and then flush with boiling water.
  3. For sinks, sometimes pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain is enough to dissolve grease or soap build-up. You can do this on a regular basis to help prevent clogs.
  4. And for the worst job of all, the clogged toilet, a ¼ cup of dish detergent can help break things up. Follow with boiling water and then use a plunger.

Of course, if these DIY tips aren’t effective or you’d simply prefer to let a professional handle it, call your local plumber.

Howell Services provides quality, trusted plumbing services to the Fort Bend area. We are a family-owned company dedicated to ensuring that our employees are the most qualified in the industry, so you can be assured that all of our plumbers are fully licensed, insured, and bonded. Whether it’s an emergency or a garden-variety plumbing problem, we can help! Call us today to schedule a repair or a comprehensive plumbing inspection of your home.

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