If you’ve had a blocked drain, you’ll know they cause a mess, can result in costly callouts, and let’s not go into detail on the unpleasant odours!
The good news is that with regular maintenance, these can all be avoided – prevention is the best solution. This article will cover the main causes of blocked drains and the steps you can take to keep your drains in ship-shape.
Common causes of blocked drains and what you can do
1. Cooking grease and fat
Cooking oil, fat, and grease is a key culprit of blocked drains – they’re sticky and once they cool, solidify in drains, eventually blocking the flow of water.
What can you do?
- Avoid pouring cooking oils down the sink, instead, once finished with allow to cool, then pour into a container like an empty jar or pot. Leave to set, then scoop into the bin.
- Before washing your pans, wipe as much of the excess oils/grease from them as possible using paper towel. Then put the used paper towel in the bin.
Build-up of hair in drains leads to slow-draining water in your baths, showers, and sinks.
What can you do?
- Brush your hair before showering to help reduce the amount of hair going down the drain.
- Wear a shower cap or tie hair up if you’re not washing it.
- Put a drain protector/hair catcher in the drain – this will capture the hair so it can easily be removed and prevent it from entering the drains.
3. Build-up of lime soap/soap scum
Soap scum is the residue resulting from the fatty acids in soap combining with minerals in your water – this forms a film/scum that accumulates in your pipes and can restrict the drainage of water.
What can you do?
- Drain protector can help prevent soap scum going down the drain.
- Hot water usually does the trick – boil some water, allow to cool slightly before slowly pouring down the drain in 2 stages, allowing 5 minutes between stages. Note: do not put boiling water down drains with PVC piping – this can cause damage.
- Baking soda, white vinegar, and water remedy:
Step 1: Pour hot water down your drain first.
Step 2: Next pour ½ cup of baking soda down your drain
Step 3: Now pour ½ cup of white vinegar and allow to foam.
Step 4: Leave for 5-10 minutes and then pour hot water down again to flush the drain.
4. Food Waste
Bits of food washed down the sink can build-up in the pipes and cause blockages – these food bits can also get caught in your pipes and lead to nasty odours.
- Make sure to scape the food off dishes into the bin before washing them in the sink or adding to the dishwasher.
- Add a sink strainer to your kitchen sink – this is removable and captures food and other matter before its washed down the drain.
Top tips to keep your drains in good condition
The simplest way to avoid drainage problems and those unpleasant odours is to prevent them. Here are some maintenance tips and the frequency we recommend you do them to keep your drains clean.
Once a week pour hot water down your drains in 2 stages – ½ ,wait 5 minutes, pour the second ½.
(Boiling water is not recommended for PVC/plastic pipes)
Remove hair from the drain when you see it – trust us, it’s much easier (less unpleasant) removing it as soon as possible.
If you can, avoid harsh chemical cleaners and drain un-blockers – these are damaging for the environment and can damage pipework. Once a month clean your drains with a natural/eco-friendly drain cleaner.
When to call a professional
If your drainage problems persist and DIY methods prove ineffective for your blockage, or your blockage is severe, it’s time to call a professional.
If you live in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Kingston Upon Thames or London areas and need a plumber, why not book a job via Clik2Fix – our on-demand service that gets you and engineer where you need them, when you need them most.