I get called on a lot of clogged drain calls. Things wind up in drains for a variety of reasons, depending on the location of the drain. We’re going to talk about some of these and why they happen. It's easier to prevent clogs if you know the more common causes.
The bathroom sink
This is the primary site for shaving. Shaving cream, hair and soap is the trifecta of sink clogs. I always tell my customers to periodically pour a couple of kettles of boiling water down the bathroom sink every four to six months if they’ve had a problem in the past. Also, people with cats will frequently lose things like toothpaste caps, hairpins, and cotton swabs in their sinks. Cats don’t think they’re being naughty. They think you’ve left them a golf game at the sink.
The shower or tub
The bathtub and shower drain take some powerful abuse at the hands of various soaps, lotions, and hair. Any of these on their own are a good base for a clog, but they get combined in the process of regular routines and it’s almost inevitable that a problem will eventually occur. Our hard water here in the Phoenix area doesn’t help, either, because it makes it difficult for some products to dissolve.
What you can do: keep a mesh screen over the drain and be diligent about keeping it hair-free. Watch for tiny slivers of soap which are clog instigators. Other culprits? The covers for razor blades and toys. I can almost always guarantee I'll find one or two of those in a clogged tub drain.
Waste paper, ladies personal products, and baby wipes are the players here. Sometimes, a toothbrush or kid’s toy will be the problem. If everyone gets in the habit of keeping the lid closed, and doesn’t put any products in it that aren’t toilet paper, it will lead a clog-free existence.
The kitchen sink
A few weeks ago, we had fun talking about some of the things which will clog a garbage disposal.
But even without the garbage disposal, kitchen sinks host things like grease and food debris which eventually can create a clog. Once again, we are advocates of screens and regular cleaning. Also, please don’t put grease down your kitchen sink. Rice, potatoes, coffee grounds and fibrous peelings also cause clogs, even in garbage disposals.
Other things which cause clogs: pop tabs milk caps and beer bottle caps. Potting soil from houseplants. Popsicle sticks. Toothpicks.
Sometimes, a homeowner will have repeated clogs or slow drains. Eventually, it becomes obvious that the problem is not the family’s habits, but the drain itself. There is a possibility that the drain vent pipe is clogged, but once in awhile, a drain system will have a clog further down the line, tree roots, or a crushed pipe, or has been improperly graded.
Hopefully, these have given you some ideas about drain kindness and some of these suggestions might save you some money down the road. But, if the inevitable happens, I’m always ready to come out and help!