Table Of Contents
Causes Of Drain Clogs And Blockages
Knowing the cause of a problem is effective for tackling the situation.
Kitchen Sink Drain Clog
The things that contribute to the kitchen sink getting clogged include:
1. Oil, Fat and Grease Deposits
Oil, fat and grease is one of the most common causes of kitchen sink blockage. Oils and fats (usually dissolved in warm liquid) goes down rapidly into the drain when they’re in a liquid state. When the fat gets cold and becomes thick, it then coats the interior of the pipe. These deposits gradually build up in the pipe till it slows down the drain or completely blocks the drain.
2. Food and Vegetable Particles
Food and vegetable particles like potato peels, seeds, fragments of bone, and eggshells can get lodged into the P-trap beneath the sink as the P-traps are curved. The food particles get trapped in there leading to a drain blockage.
Bathroom Sink Drain Clog
Factors contributing to bathroom blocked drains are:
1. Soap Residues
Greasy soap scum and residue can form a layer of coat around the interior of the pipe causing it to clog. In worse cases, the soap residue build-up can damage or weaken the pipes.
2. Chunks of Hair
This is one of the main reasons a bathroom sink clogs. Hair gets flushed down the drain easily, and over time it accumulates inside the pipe and causes the drain to clog.
3. Wipes, Diapers and Feminine Products
Generally, only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed down a toilet, but oftentimes we find ourselves flushing used wipes, pads, diapers (very unsuitable) down the toilet drain. Tampons are very tricky; they look small and appear suitable to flush down the drain but usually get 10 times bigger in size after absorbing fluids. All these things are too thick and stocky to flush. Flushing them down the drain can result in a blocked toilet.
4. Accumulation of Much Toilet Paper
Tissue paper is suitable to be flushed down the drain, but when in excess, and not properly dissolved can cause the drain to clog. Fluffed tissue paper is most likely to clog the drain, it should be used in small amounts.
Signs Of A Clogged Drain
Here are common ways to tell that your drain is clogged:
- If the toilet bubbles and makes a gurgling sound
- The toilet refuses to flush
- Water drains slowly from the sink, bathtub, showers
- Unpleasant smells oozing out from the drains
- Puddles of water on floors around the sink, showers, bathtub
- Water backs up to the sink, bathtub
Ways To Clean And Unclog The Drain
You can use chemical drain cleaners that are commercially available in places such as the supermarket. The problem with these commercially available drain cleaners is that the chemicals used in its formulation can cause corrosion to the pipes and cause them not to break down quicker. DIY drain cleaner is another good option as it costs little to nothing, unlike commercially available drain cleaners that can be expensive. Let’s quickly run through a few DIY drain cleaners.
DIY And Homemade Drain Cleaners
These can be made out of things available in your kitchen/home and easy to make too. They include:
Hot Water, Baking Soda and Vinegar
Set hot water to boil. Pour the boiling water down the drain/sink. Mix a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar. Pour the above mixture into the drain/sink and allow it to sit for 5-15 minutes. Pour another cup of boiling water into the drain.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar into your drain, allow it to sit for some time, then run cold water over it, that should help clean the drain.
Salt and Baking Soda
Mix some salt and some baking soda in warm water, pour the mixture into the drain, give it some time and then run warm water over it.
Boiled Water and Salt
Add some salt to boiling water, pour the mixture down the drain. The salt will help dissolve the grease, emulsified fats and oil deposited into the pipes while the hot water helps with the flushing.
Liquid Dish Soap and Hot Water
Try a mixture of liquid dish soap and hot water. It helps to clean out the drain by flushing down minor deposits of debris in the pipe.
Other Effective Ways To Clean Your Drain
If none of the DIY/homemade drain cleaners worked, you can try other methods like:
Use of a Household Plunger
A plunger (a tool that is made of rubber suction cup, attached to a plastic or wooden stick) is something almost found in every household. A plunger works by force of suction and compression. It forces air into the drain and increases the amount of pressure when pressed continuously without breaking the seal for 20-30 sec, this pressure forces the clog down the drain. Fix your plunger directly over the drain opening, press continuously for a period of 20-30 sec, that should do the trick.
Cleaning Out the P-trap
The P-trap is the curved drainpipe beneath the sink. Place an empty pan or bucket beneath the sink to catch the water and debris that might fall out. Uncork the p-trap from the drainpipe and get rid of every debris and dirt stuck in it. Tighten the P-trap back, ensure its properly fixed, then run warm or cold water over the drain for a little while.
Ways To Keep Your Drain Clog-Free
- Avoid getting hairs, seeds, bones, and other food particles down the drain.
- Plant trees away from the drainage system to prevent tree roots in drain pipes.
- Use hair and food particle traps over the drain in your kitchen sink, bathtubs, and showers.
- Check your garbage disposal to ensure it’s in good condition, and always replace it when it’s old and worn out.
- Don’t overload your garbage disposal, load items little at a time into it as clogged garbage disposal can lead to a clogged drain.
- Don’t put broken glass into your garbage disposal, it can damage the blades of the shredder.
- Always pour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain twice or thrice a month to keep your drain clean and prevent it from clogging.