What You Can do to Prevent Your Drains From Clogging

If you’ve ever taken a shower in ankle-high tub water or had to brush your teeth over an overflowing sink, you know that a clogged drain is no joke. But the truth of the matter is that it’s just a fact of life. Chances are at some point, in some way, you’ve encountered or will encounter a clogged drain that will turn your daily routine into the daily equivalent of stubbing your toe: painful. Luckily you don’t have to take a clogged drain lying down; there are quite a few things that you can do to prevent your drains from clogging, and some of them might even surprise you. 

Why Your Drain is Clogged 

Shower drain

Before we delve into prevention, it’s a good idea to start with the causes of clogged drains. After all, prevention always starts with understanding the cause! So what exactly causes a drain to clog? There are quite a few things, and frankly, a lot of them are…unsavory:

  • Hair– This one is extremely common and also extremely likely to make you queasy. Over time a knotty build-up of hair (both human and animal) can cause clogged drains everywhere from the shower to the bathroom sink. Mix in a backlog of hair with soap and dirt and you can quickly end up with a drain problem.  
  • Food- Even if you’re a careful plate clearer, every now and then it’s easy for a stray noodle to slip its way off of your plate and right down your drain. Even something as small and simple as some coffee grounds or some grains of rice can become a problem in the long-term. If you have a garbage disposal you might think that you’re totally safe, but we have bad news: you aren’t. Try to keep food from ending up in the sink as much as possible, or else run the risk of a clogged kitchen sink. Especially beware of oil or grease going down your sink drain! 
  • Water- This may seem totally counterintuitive, but even water can over time lead to drains clogging. Why? If you live in an area with hard” water, or water that is super-rich in calcium and magnesium, the mineral build-up can cause drains to clog. Most public water systems in our region are not known to have this “hard” water, but if you get your water from a domestic well, it is quite common, as this United States Geological Survey map shows:  

    Source: https://prd-wret.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets/palladium/production/s3fs-public/styles/full_width/public/thumbnails/image/webFig10_MapSitesHARD.png

    If you use a domestic well and live in the capital region, try installing a water softener to keep your drains running smoothly.


  • Other Objects- There are a few other things that, when going down a drain, can quickly cause major clogging issues. Including: 
    • Dental floss
    • Diaper wipes 
    • Feminine hygiene products
    • Cat litter
    • Cotton swabs, and if you have young children;
    • Small objects such as toys

Even if you don’t think you are having any of these problems, you may one day wake up and find that one of the drains in your home is clogged. So what can you do to prevent this from happening? 

Preventing Drains From Clogging 

Drain stopper

Keeping the above causes in mind, there are a number of things that you can do to keep your drains from clogging

  • Always use a drain strainer when washing your dishes.
  • Pour hot water down your drain on a weekly basis to clear out any potential oil, grease, or dirt buildup.
  • If you don’t use a drain stopper in your tub, use one! If you do, make sure to regularly clean it to ensure any hair, soap, or dirt is cleared out. 
  • Consider putting drain screens on all of your drains. These can be easily found at most hardware stores and can work wonders for your drains. 

How to Unclog a Drain 

Sink plunger

Even if you do your best to prevent your drains from clogging, there’s a good chance that at some point you will encounter a clog. If you do encounter a clog, there are some pretty straightforward solutions that you can try to get your drain unclogged and functioning properly: 

  • Use a plunger on your drain and see if you can suction whatever is causing the drain blockage loose. 
  • Try pouring boiling hot saltwater down your drain. If that doesn’t work, try pouring a mix of baking soda and vinegar down your clogged drain, and shortly after follow up with hot water. 

If these tactics don’t work, you can try using a plumber’s snake or, if it is a sink clog, you can try to clean your P-trap, but we would not recommend it unless you are experienced with plumbing. Instead, we would recommend that you contact the professionals at Appolo for any of your cleaning, repair, or replacement plumbing needs.

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