Thankfully, a blocked drain isn’t something that happens every day. But when it does happen, it’s usually right before guests are due to arrive, or when you’re running late for work. The timing is always at the worst possible moment.
Prevention, of course, is always better than cure. If you’re able to keep on top of some regular maintenance, you’re less likely to suffer a blockage. Some tips to keep your drains free-flowing are:
- Remove hair from the drain after every shower or bath. Don’t try to poke it down the drain as the build-up of hair in the pipe can cause a blockage down the track. Simply run your fingers (or use your toes in the shower) over the drain plug to gather the hair into a ball, and then bin it. Don’t forget to remove any hair from the bathroom sink as well.
- In the kitchen, avoid pouring oil down the sink and scraping food scraps down the drain. The oil can solidify and food scraps can build-up and cause a blockage.
- If you have children, teach them not to play with toys and other objects around the drains and toilet. Keep these areas clear from toys; it’s not fun fishing out a hot wheels car from around the kid’s number twos.
- Never flush sanitary products down the toilet, they’re not designed to go down the drain. Instead, place them in a disposable bag and place them in your outside bin.
- Regularly flush your drains using our method below (option 1). Doing this every few months can help keep dislodge any small particles so a larger blockage is avoided.
If you do happen to have a blockage, there are a few simple options you can try to clear a blocked drain, without having to resort to harmful chemicals, using ingredients you probably already have in the kitchen.
- Pour boiling water (from the kettle) down the drain.
- Add ½ cup of bicarb soda to the drain and let this sit for around 5 minutes.
- Then add 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of boiling water from your kettle down the drain.
- If you have a plug, pop the plug in as it will help keep the reaction between the vinegar and bicarb in the pipe and not in the sink.
- Let this sit for around 10 minutes or so to let it do its work.
- Finally, pour a full kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush it.
I find this method works on most standard types of blocked drains, plus the bicarb and vinegar is a great natural deodoriser and will get rid of any smells that are in the pipe as well. Bonus.
If the above method doesn’t work, then try using a plunger to help dislodge any material that is in the drain. Simply place the plunger over the drain to create a seal, then pump it up and down a few times. You may need to do this a few times. The pressure created by the plunger may be enough to dislodge the blockage.
Create yourself a hook using a wire coat hanger, stretched out with the hook at the end. Place this into your drain and use the hook to try and pull out what is blocking the drain. Don’t push the material further down the drain.
Once you have removed as much of the gunk as possible, flush the drain with the option 1 method above using vinegar and bicarb soda.
If it is a large blockage in your sink, then you might be able to remove the S bend under the sink and clean it out.
If none of the above methods work, then it’s quite possible that the drain is blocked further down the pipe somewhere underground. In this case, you should probably call in the professionals and have your plumber unblock the drain. The causes can vary but most common is tree roots have worked their way into your pipes over time.
And if your kid’s hot wheels car does happen to fall into the toilet, a handy pair of toilet-tongs never goes astray. A disused old pair of bbq tongs works perfectly.
|Spring Cleaning Guide
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