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Mastering Drain Cleaning and Maintenance: 10 Expert Tips

Properly maintaining your home drains is crucial for a clean and healthy living environment. 

Neglecting this essential task can lead to clogs, unpleasant odours, and even expensive plumbing repairs.

In this article, we’ll provide you with 10 unique and expert tips to help you clean and maintain your home drains like a pro as well as a step-by-step guide to giving them a thorough clean.

So, let’s dive in!

Tools and items required

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty, you’ll want to ensure you’re suitably equipped for the task.

Some essentials for drain cleaning and maintenance are:

– Plunger

– Enzyme-based drain cleaner

– Protective elbow-length rubber gloves

– Bucket

– Old towels or cloths

– A stiff brush or toothbrush (an old one, you won’t be scrubbing your molars with it afterwards!)

– White vinegar

– Bicarbonate of soda

Tip 1. Adopt a preventative mindset

As the old saying goes “prevention is better than cure” and so the best way to keep your drains clean is by preventing clogs in the first place. Use drain covers or strainers to catch debris such as hair, food particles, and soap scum before they enter the drains. Regularly clean these covers to ensure they function effectively.

Tip 2. Say “no” to chemical drain cleaners

Avoid using harsh chemical drain cleaners as they can damage your pipes over time. Instead, opt for natural alternatives like a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Pour the baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar, and let the fizzing action work its magic. Finish by flushing with hot water. Speaking of which…

Tip 3. Hot water flush

Drain Cleaning and Maintenance

Once a week, give your drains a hot water flush. Boil a kettle of water and slowly pour it down each drain to dissolve any accumulated grease and flush away minor buildups. This simple step can prevent clogs and maintain the smooth flow of water.

Tip 4. Enlist the power of enzyme cleaners

Enzyme-based drain cleaners are a plumber’s secret weapon. They contain bacteria and enzymes that break down organic matter, eliminating odours and preventing clogs. Use these cleaners monthly to keep your drains clean and free from foul smells.

Tip 5. Your sink should not be an extension of your bin

Take care of your kitchen sink by being mindful of what goes down the drain. Avoid letting grease, oil, coffee grounds, eggshells and fibrous materials (such as potato peels and corn husks) go down the sink. Dispose of them properly in the food waste bin or compost bin if suitable. Being cautious with your kitchen sink can prevent blockages and maintain smooth drainage.

Tip 6. Brush your hair before you wash it

As satisfying as it may be to watch clumps of hair fly down the drain, this is a surefire way to cause a nasty clog. Always brush your hair before washing it and dispose of it in the bin NOT down the toilet.

Tip 7. Regularly clean bathroom drains

Just because it’s your papaya and passionfruit shower gel that’s going down them rather than food scraps and tomato ketchup, that doesn’t mean that bathroom drains can’t also get blocked and kick up a stink. You may not see it but, skin particles, hair and oils from your body are flushed down your bathroom drains; all of which can accumulate over time.

Prevent bathroom drain clogs by cleaning them regularly. Remove the drain covers and use a long, flexible brush to dislodge hair and debris that may have accumulated. Rinse thoroughly with hot water to wash away any remaining residue.

Tip 8. Monthly maintenance: boiling water and vinegar flush

Once a month, perform a deep cleaning of your drains using boiling water and vinegar. To do this, simply pour a pot of boiling water down the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then flush with hot water. This will help remove accumulated gunk and maintain optimal drain health.

Tip 9. Don’t wash pets in the bath

We know, it’s cute to see your four-legged companion splashing about in the bathtub but this can cause serious clogs. Fur and dirt, along with all kinds of muck that your pet may have found on their adventures, will inevitably be washed down the drain and they shed a lot more hair than we do!

Instead, give them a spa-like experience and bathe them al fresco. That doesn’t mean blasting them with a hose, you can give them the exact same pampering in a suitably sized tub filled with warm water and their favourite shampoo. Alternatively, if they’ve been a VERY good boy or girl you could always take them to a professional groomer.

Tip 10. Seek professional help when needed

Drain Maintenance tips

If you encounter persistent or recurring drain issues, it’s best to seek the assistance of a professional plumber. They have the knowledge and tools to diagnose and fix complex drain problems efficiently. Remember, early intervention can save you from more significant plumbing emergencies down the road.

A quick guide on how to clean your drains

Step 1: Gather your materials

You’ll need baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), white vinegar, boiling water, and rubber gloves for protection.

Step 2: Remove any visible debris

Before starting the cleaning process, remove any visible debris from your drain. This could include food particles, hair, or accumulated soap scum.

Step 3: Pour baking soda into the drain

Put on your gloves, then pour 60g of baking soda down the drain. Baking soda is a great cleaning agent that can help dislodge grime in your pipes.

Step 4: Add vinegar

Pour 120ml of white vinegar into the drain. The vinegar will react with the baking soda, creating a fizzing action that helps to break down the residues in the drain.

Step 5: Wait

Let the baking soda and vinegar sit in the drain for about 15-20 minutes. This gives it enough time to break down any build-up and kill bacteria.

Step 6: Rinse with boiling water

After waiting, rinse the drain with a pot of boiling water. The hot water will help to flush out the loosened grime and residues, leaving your drain clean.


And there you have it!

Knowing how to clean drains is a valuable skill that can help you keep your plumbing in good condition. By following these tips, you can prevent clogs and maintain the smooth flow of water in your home. If you find yourself dealing with persistent drainage issues, contact a professional plumber for assistance. 

Taking care of your drains now will save you time and money in the future!

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