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Clean Drain in 5 Steps

Your kitchen and bathroom sinks swallow a lot of things. Sadly, some of that stuff doesn’t always go down well. Even top-of-the-line, well-installed plumbing requires cleaning from time to time.  A clean drain reduces stress from having backed up water in your sink or tub. It also prevents build-up of damaging residue in your pipes. Depending on what type of things normally go down your drains, you may need to clean and unclog them more often. But, don’t panic! Whether your drain is clogged or just needs freshening, we’re here to help with this handy list of 5 steps to a clean drain.

Supplies

If your drain is clogged, you’ll find these tools handy:

 Plunger

Bucket or large bowl

Rubber gloves

Safety goggles

Pipe wrench

Hand auger

Small plastic barbed drain-cleaning tool

For cleaning the drain, you’ll need:

White vinegar

Baking soda

Hot water

Biological or environmentally-friendly drain cleaner

Steps to unclog your drain

1.      Always start with your plunger

Yep, you can use a plunger in your sink. Just be sure it’s not the one you use in the toilet! Fill the clogged sink with enough water to cover the drain and the bottom of the sink. Press the plunger tightly over the drain. Once you have a secure seal, pump the plunger several times to dislodge the clog. If you have a double-sided sink or your sink has an overflow hole, plugging the extra drain or overflow opening will help create more pressure in the pipe as you pump the plunger.

2.     Try the small plastic barbed drain-cleaning tool

If the plunger doesn’t work, the next thing to use is one of these nifty drain-cleaning tools. You can find these handy little gadgets in hardware stores and in the hardware departments of places like Walmart and Target. They are inexpensive and very effective on clogs close to the drain, above the P-trap. Simply remove the drain plug and slide the tool into the drain as far as it will go. When you pull it out, the backward angled barbs pull out hair and other debris that has balled up in your pipe. Steps for unclogging the tub drain are a little different.

At this point, there are a couple more DIY things you can try.

If you are not comfortable using more invasive plumbing tools, now’s the time to call in the professional plumbers.

 

3.      The hand auger

Also known as a plumber’s snake, the hand auger drills a hole through the debris creating the clog in the pipe. This loosens the clog enough that it breaks apart and washes down when you flush the drain with hot water. If you’re not familiar with how to use a hand auger, we like the explanation and photos on this site: Family Handyman

Once your drain is unclogged and water is flowing smoothly again, you can finish up by cleaning and freshening the drain. We recommend the following methods for keeping your drain clean and helping prevent the build-up of residue that could lead to another clog.

4.      White vinegar, baking soda, & hot water

The next step is to pour about ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow the baking soda with white vinegar. Remember those school science volcanoes that erupted? Yep—that was the reaction between the vinegar and baking soda. Place a cover over your drain and let the reaction continue for about 15 minutes. Finish by pouring boiling water down the drain as a final rinse. (Note: Some people prefer to use biological or enzymatic, environmentally friendly commercial drain cleaners for this step. These are good choices also and won’t damage your septic system like chemical, corrosive cleaners. Just be sure to follow package directions.)

5.      Clean the disposal

The final step to a clean drain is one most people don’t even think about the disposal as a something that needs to be cleaned. Disposals can be the source of pretty stinky odors, however. Food debris that doesn’t drain properly can lurk around the sides of the disposal floor where it decays. Cleaning your disposal is inexpensive and easy. Here are a couple of our favorite ways to keep the disposal clean and fresh-smelling. DIY fresh disposal and How Bob Vila cleans a disposal.

Choose your favorite method and get that disposal scrubbed!

 

Well, there you have it. Five Steps to a Clean Drain.

Hopefully, you were able to clear the clogs yourself and end up with a beautiful clean drain. If not, remember that using too much force can cause permanent damage to a pipe and lead to much greater expense.

Whether you’re fighting a stubborn clog or just don’t have the time to deal with it yourself, we can help! Give us a call today!

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What Should You Keep Under Your Bathroom Sink?

This article will outline what you should and shouldn’t store in your bathroom space, and some tips on how to maximize your tiny spaces. Do store toiletries, towels, showering products, hair tools, toilet paper, and a first aid kit in your bathroom space.

Tip: Put the first aid kit in a bottom droor, because your upper droors will be hot property for everyday things and in the event of an emergency, you’ll be able to tell guests “the first aid kit is in the bottom droor on the left” and they will be able to easily find it without much clutter to go through.

You can make all your typical bathroom supplies convenient and easy to access by using the following organizational tips.

Get Unconventional

Organizing your bathroom’s under-sink cabinet is going to take some creativity. You will be using items for things they weren’t created to do, but they sure make your morning ready routine easier for the whole family. First, you might want to get one medium sized, open container or basket that you can keep toilet paper in. Any cleaning products you use in your bathroom can be organized on a “lazy susan”, you know, those rotating “plates” that are usually found in kitchens. You can use a tension rod to maximize space by hanging your spray bottles from it, high in the back of the cabinet. This will also keep potentially harmful chemicals away from children. For little beauty things that are homeless, purchase a clear storage solution that has droors. Most homes have women, and once a month, they’ll need easy access to their sanitary products. Small and medium-sized shower caddies are great for pads, tampons, and other occasionally used items. Don’t forget the cabinet door! If your cabinets are not stuffed to the brim, you can utilize the inside of the door for things you want the easiest access to. Some people screw round PVC pipe to the inside, just big enough for their hot hair tools and their cords. You can also use adhesive 3M hooks to hang small plastic organizers for smaller items like nail polish and manicure tools.

What Shouldn’t You Store In The Bathroom?

Jewelry

Jewelry, whether costume or more expensively made, can tarnish pretty badly when exposed to constant moisture and oxygen. The process of tarnishing is called oxidization and causes the material to look duller, corrode completely, or attract dirt and show signs of wear. Jewelry should not be kept in the bathroom but instead in a closet or designated chest.

Reading Material

Paper will warp when exposed to moisture and it doesn’t look visually appealing if its not well-organized. Prepare for any reading material to be ruined if kept in the bathroom or keep it in a covered container for protection.

Medication

Prescription medications, and even over-the-counter medications, can be expensive and they can be compromised with exposure to elements such as moisture. They should always be kept in a cool, dry place.

Essential Oils

Like medications, essential oils need to be kept in a cool, dry place as well. Exposure to sunlight and moisture can change the chemical makeup of the oil itself, possibly changing its effectiveness or even becoming harmful to you. This is why essential oil manufacturers put the product in dark blue or brown glass bottles, to maintain the integrity of the product. If you love essential oils, take care of them by keeping them in a cool and dry protected place.

Non-Water Proof Electronics

As you know, electricity and water can be an extremely dangerous combination. Don’t keep any electronic hazards near the bathtub or sources of water. If the item is not made for use in a bathroom, keep it stored in another room. Use best practices when using music playing devices and check out the latest water-proof technologies!

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Stop Using Drop In Toilet Tabs

You know the tabs, the toilet tabs. Some are made of bleach and others, with blue dyed cleaning products. Visually they appear to be cleaning without your effort, but they are quite dangerous and threaten the integrity of your toilet’s inner workings. Not only are they dangerous to your home’s plumbing, but they aren’t effective at cleaning either. Your plumber would be happy to know you’ve quit using these nuisance products.

Dangers of Toilet Tabs

If these products could be more controlled, they might be helpful, but they are too concentrated with corrosive chemicals and stay in what place, corroding your flapper, tubing, and any other rubber pieces involved in the mechanics of a toilet. Because of this causing misshapen toilet flappers, these tablet products contribute to water loss as well. The blue dyed chemical cleaning toilet tablets are only responsible for disguising iron deposits and ugly marks inside your toilet, not actually sanitizing. The product also gunks up the toilet’s jets underneath the rim and will prevent the toilet from flushing toilet properly over time.

The Safe, All-Natural Alternative

A safe alternative that automates your bathroom cleaning is to use distilled white vinegar. Pour 1 cup inside the back toilet tank, half designated to the overflow, the small rubber pipe that stands up in the middle of the tank. This piece is responsible for sending water through the aforementioned under-rim jets. The natural acids inside distilled white vinegar will gently dissolve the same lime, iron, and other deposits and ugly marks that you were only disguising with the harmful competitors. Using distilled white vinegar not only cleanses your toilet bowl with little effort of yours, it gently cleanses the mechanics of the toilet, making it run optimally. The best practice is to use distilled white vinegar in the toilet tank once monthly.

Other Uses for White Distilled Vinegar

White distilled vinegar has hundreds of applications in the home because of its miraculous natural cleaning ability. A common way to further automate your bathroom cleaning is to spray down your faucet and shower fixtures with the vinegar mixture and then rubber band a sandwich bag of vinegar to it. Leave it for hours and it will clean and polish your metal fixtures. When mixed with baking soda, it fizzes and provides a little bit more abrasion for tough to clean debris. It also cleans wine stains with ease within the stain’s first 24 hours. Any material responds well; including cotton and cotton polyester.

Automated Bathroom Cleaning

Cleaning an undermaintained bathroom is hard work and unavoidable hands-and-knees scrubbing; tubs, tile and grout, floors, and toilets, mirrors, countertops, and sinks. With these suggestions, you can start implementing bathroom cleaning maintenance that will minimize the deep cleaning you’ll need to do occasionally. All of these suggestions are keeping in mind professional housekeeping and plumbing advice, and opt for the safest and most natural but effective cleaning methods.

All Natural Monthly Drain Cleaning

Marthastewart.com offers this all natural drain cleaning method to keep your drains from draining slowly over time as build up occurs. Remove your sink’s stopper and as best you can, pour ½ cup baking soda into the drain, followed by ½ cup of white distilled vinegar. The mixture will foam and dissolve fatty acids and gunk. Let the mixture work its magic for 5 minutes, and then pour boiling water down the drain to force out the mixture and the unclogged material. Do this every month or two to maintain your pipes naturally!

Clear Shower Clogs and Shine Metal Fixtures

You’ll quickly realize that white vinegar is a miracle. This trick is one you may have already heard of! Pour some white vinegar into sandwich bags, spray some onto your metal shower and sink fixtures, and rubber band the bag over them as well. Let them sit for a few hours and they will deep clean your faucet and shower head for you! The vinegar will shine the metal gently, and actually loosen any mineral deposits and grime that has clogged the openings of your showerhead.

The Truth About Toilet Tablets

Professional plumbers say the only use for the fun, blue toilet tablets is for toilets in drug testing facilities (so that testees don’t dilate their urine with the water). Not only the blue tablets, but other tablet products put into your toilet and tank are known to quickly corrode your toilet’s important mechanisms and are made of a lot of harmful chemicals. Vinegar to the rescue! You can pour vinegar into your tank, and into the small tube part inside the back of the tank to put it to work cleaning not only your bowl, but the inner parts of the machine that is your toilet.

Shower Cleaning Machine

Some people swear by shower cleaning machines that suction cup to the inside of your shower. You can find a Scrubbing Bubbles machine in store or online at Amazon for under 20 dollars. If the machine is not your taste or you do not have an enclosed shower it works best in, you can kind of employ the same concept by keeping shower cleaner in your tub and spraying it down the walls after every use.

Minimize Mold and Moisture

A lot of the work that your bathroom requires over time is cleaning and disinfecting mold and mildew caused by a lack of ventilation. Installing a better ventilation system in bathrooms is often the first task set forth by homeowners during a renovation. Most ventilation is just not adequate enough to prevent mold completely. The best thing you can do is amplify the exposure of light in your bathroom, increase airflow such as through a window or installing a better system, and always keeping the fan on for a full 30 minutes or longer after you’ve showered.