Don’t Forget Your Drain During Spring Cleaning
Spring is just around the corner! That means it’s time to get out the mop and broom, but what about drain cleaning? Here are several ways to ensure all drains in your home are in tip-top shape this spring.
Why Should Spring Cleaning Involve Drains
The drains in your home — kitchen, bathroom, and mudroom, for example — go through a lot throughout the year. Since spring cleaning encompasses a good scrub of other parts of the home, don’t forget about these common drains. They, and your nose, will thank you for months to come!
Even if you aren’t regularly cooking five-course meals, the kitchen sink drain loves consistent TLC. One way to prevent clogs and odors is to pour a cup of distilled white vinegar down the drain once a week. Let the vinegar sit for 30 minutes, then rinse with two quarts of almost boiling water.
If you have a stinky kitchen drain, let baking soda handle the smells! Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by two quarts of hot water. The two work together to clean the drain and attached pipe while neutralizing odors.
Spring is a great time to deep clean your garbage disposal. After the holidays and a winter’s worth of comfort food, odds are it needs attention. While most food that enters the disposal seemingly disappears after the blades run, particles collect in internal spaces and leave smells as they decay.
Spring Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal in 5 Steps
It’s recommended to use natural cleaning ingredients to clean this appliance. Many common chemical cleaners can corrode the internal metal parts over time, shortening their functional lifespan.
- Unplug the disposal from the power source: Unplug the cord from the outlet under the sink or turn off the circuit in the breaker box.
- Remove & clean the splash guard: Also called the baffle or gasket, the splash guard has crevices and grooves that trap food particles and grease. After removing from the drain, use a scrubbing brush and dish detergent to clean the inside and out thoroughly.
- Take out visible food debris: Use a flashlight to look into the disposal for food debris. Use pliers or tongs to remove the pieces, as the blades are still sharp.
- Pour in a baking soda and vinegar solution: Start by pouring ½ cup of baking soda into the disposal and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Then add one cup of vinegar and let the mixture sit for three minutes. Rinse with hot tap water or boiled water from a pot or kettle.
- Grind ice and salt to loosen buildup: Reinstall the splash guard, then reconnect the power source. Pour two cups of ice into the disposal, then one cup of salt. Run cold water from the tap, turn on the disposal, and let it run until the ice is ground up.
Bathroom Sink Drains
A case could be made for a bathroom sink drain being most used in a home. Think about the daily routines in your home. Face wash, hand soap, makeup, skin care products, and toothpaste flow down. It’s no surprise the drain slows down.
How to Clean a Bathroom Sink Drain in 5 Steps
But it’s easy to clean out a bathroom sink drain.
- Remove easy-to-reach clogs or debris: Use your fingers or a tool, such as a wire hanger, to remove the debris. Run the faucet for up to 10 seconds.
- Mix up a DIY cleaning solution: You’ll want to mix a vinegar-centric solution. In a non-metal bottle or container, mix ½ cup of distilled white vinegar and ½ cup of water. Then, slowly add a dash of baking soda to the solution.
- Pour the DIY solution down the drain and wait one hour: The solution needs this time to work through the drain and clog or debris.
- Flush the drain with boiling water: Boiling water flushes away the solution, along with any remaining debris.
- Use a drain snake for stubborn clogs: You can find a drain snake at most hardware stores. Follow the instructions when using it to minimize potential damage to the drain and plumbing.
Bathtub & Shower Drains
For many, a hot shower or bath after a long day is a welcome reprieve. But the relaxation can come to a halt if you find yourself standing ankle-deep in tepid water or breathing in unsavory aromas emanating from the drain.
Clogged shower drains are commonly caused by excessive soap scum — think skin care products — and long hair. When these build up over time, they begin to mold in the drain and pipes, causing foul odors. If you have multiple people in the home with long hair, clean the drains every other week. Otherwise, a monthly cleanout of your bathtub or shower drains should suffice.
Most people don’t realize how narrow their home’s plumbing pipes are leading away from the toilet. That is, until they flush too much toilet paper, the most common reason for a toilet clog. Other common causes include:
- Feminine hygiene products;
- Human or pet hair;
- Toilet bowl fresheners;
- Trash; and
Prevention is the best way to keep your toilet’s plumbing healthy. Homeowners can maintain the system weekly with apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Pour the two into the drain and allow them to foam before flushing. This combination generally clears out minor clogs, if there are any.
Tips to Keep Your Drains Clear Year-Round
Avoiding clogs, or the situations to create one, is one of the best ways to keep your drains flowing year-round. Here are a few more tips to help:
- Check drains monthly: An ounce of prevention each month is the best way to stay clog-free. If you do find a clogged drain, clear it as soon as possible to avoid a future hassle.
- Strongly limit putting food products & trash down drains: Bones, cooking grease, fibrous foods, food wrappers, and paper products should always go in the trash.