When my then-girlfriend and I first started dating, she was fascinated by the field I worked in. She lived in a large, run-down Victorian home with four other college-aged roommates. The home's old plumbing was constantly backing up. On one of our earliest dates, she bragged to me that she had appointed herself to the position of "house plumber." She took it upon herself to clear all the house's clogs, relying upon endless bottles of Draino, a tiny plastic snake that came with one of the aforementioned bottles of liquid destruction, and occasionally, the plunger. I was forced to dash my girlfriend's pride that night, because even though she was clearing clogs, she was creating a potential nightmare for herself, her roommates, and their landlord. I was glad I was around to end her relationship with Draino. She has gone on to clog our own home's bathroom sink with coconut oil, during the "oil-pulling" fad of a few years ago, but for the most part, she now follows proper "drain etiquette."
Here are some basic tips for preventing clogs and pipe damage, as well as some how-tos for handling minor clogs yourself.
1. Never use Draino
Draino, and other similar products available at your grocery store, can harm pipes and even worsen a clog. We recommend trying baking soda and vinegar if you believe your pipes are clogged. It is much safer and gentler.
2. Use Dawn Dish Soap
Dawn is the only brand of dish soap we use in our household. Kitchen sinks tend to take quite a beating, from oil to all kinds of food particles. Dawn is highly effective at cleaning dishes, and also does a bit of preventative maintenance on your pipes. If small things are starting to build up, Dawn will help clear it away.
3. Your Garbage Disposal Is Not a Trash Can
It seems to be able to handle all those big things you're throwing down it, but your garbage disposal was not intended to handle massive food scraps. Throw those in your compost bin. Only use your garbage disposal after you've scraped your plate.
4. Exercise Caution When Handling a Clog
If you can handle a clog yourself, we encourage you to do so. Beware, however, that using excessive force for long periods of time can result in further damage to your pipes. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that sewer systems do contain a multitude of unpleasant, potentially health hazardous waste products. When working to remove a clog, it is likely you will come in contact with those materials. Be prepared, and be safe. We always use appropriate protective gear and the proper cleaning products to ensure our own safety, and we always advise that our customers do the same.
5. Don't Flush Things You Shouldn't
Sanitary napkins and tampons should never be flushed. Both are designed to be super absorbant, and when flushed through a water system, have the potential to expand and cause an array of clogs and problems. We also do not recommend flushing any type of wipe, including ones that are labeled as "flushable."
If your drains do clog, don't worry! It happens to everyone at some point in time. Don't hesitate to give us a call- we'll be happy to come out and get your pipes flowing again.