Plumbing Tips from an Avid DIY-er

3 Ways You're Ruining Your Kitchen Drain

Your kitchen drain is one of the areas in your home that is especially vulnerable to plumbing issues. In many instances, you can avoid major clogs by practicing good kitchen behaviors.

Useless Strainers

Any strainer in your sink is better than no strainer at all, but not all strainers are created equal. Some strainers have large holes which makes it easy for most debris to make it down the drain. When selecting a strainer, find one with fine wire mesh so even the smallest of crumbs might be caught. Another consideration is how the strainer fits in the sink. Most drains have a standard size, so it is easy to find a strainer that will fit. Unfortunately, lightweight strainers tend to move around, especially under the pressure of water. Use strainers that either have some weight to them or find ones that sit completely inside the drain. This will make it harder for them to slide around. If you are preparing raw meat in the sink, be sure to check the underside of the strainer for pieces of fat or meat so they do not eventually go down the drain.

Dirty Drains

There are some advantages to hand-washing your dishes as it relates to drain cleaning. Your drain will be exposed to hot water more often, which can loosen some debris that might be in the drain. Additionally, many people use dish soap that has properties to break-up grease on their dishes. Your dish soap can have a similar effect on your drain and reduce buildup. It is good practice to periodically clean your drain with simple household products, such as vinegar, baking soda, and hot water. This may prevent slowing of your drain and can minimize odors. If your drain is becoming slow and these household products do not help, it is best to speak with a plumber instead of using retail drain cleaners. These products may do more harm to your plumbing over time and can sometimes exacerbate the problem. The corrosive nature of drain cleaners is what can break-up clogs, but your pipes may pay a price.

Sloppy Disposal

The way you dispose of food debris will drastically affect your drains and whether you end up with clogs or something worse, like a sewage problem. You must wipe food crumbs, grease, and oil from your dishes before washing. It is good practice to save old containers, such as coffee cans, to collect grease and oil. You can also tape-down the lid before throwing away the container if you are concerned about the contents leaking out in your trash can. Whenever possible, avoid the garbage disposal. Although having a garbage disposal seems like a convenient way to dispose of food scraps, there is no way to guarantee the garbage disposal will grind-up scraps enough for them to safely make it down the drain.

Being mindful of how you care for your kitchen drain can make a considerable difference in the number of problems you experience. Most issues with your drain are best handled by a kitchen plumber to avoid making problems worse.