Your drain has seen it all, probably. If you’re a Texas cuisine aficionado, bacon and grease might be an everyday ingredient in your kitchen and, at the end of the day, it ends up in your drain. Whether it’s in your kitchen, your bathroom, or your laundry room, it’s time to give it a fresh new start the right way. Pick up your cleaning supplies and let’s clean your drain so it does the job properly.
Clean your drain with the baking soda + vinegar trick
If you’ve spent more than 10 minutes googling cleaning tricks, you’ll probably have read by now about the magical combination: baking soda and vinegar. Although effective, you need to do this the right way to maximize your success at cleaning.
When you mix vinegar and baking soda, it creates an acid-base reaction. This means that they neutralize each other and release carbon dioxide, salt, and water.
While vinegar is the ultimate all-purpose cleaner, what you want to do here is remove all the grease and fat buildup and this mix just won’t cut it.
The trick is to add hot water. If possible, boiling hot (Just make sure you don’t get burned!), before and after adding your vinegar + baking soda mix. Hot water will help soften your fat and grease buildup, thus making your solution more effective.
The right order is to begin by adding hot water through the drain. This will prepare the ground, so to speak. Add two spoons of baking soda and then pour enough vinegar over it. You can try straight vinegar or mix it out with hot water. This will trigger the reaction and help clean and sanitize your drain.
Caustic soda: the heavy artillery
If you’ve tried everything else to no avail, you can use sodium hydroxide, commonly known as caustic soda or lye. To clean your drain out, pour some boiling water, then lye. Let sit for 5 minutes and then add more boiling water. Let plenty hot water run as much as possible.
Remember to leave it as a last resort because it needs to be handled with extreme care. It’s also not the best idea because you need to use boiling hot water or it may go solid inside your drain, and once it’s solid it will be extremely hard to remove.
Always make sure to use rubber gloves and safety glasses, as well as old clothes that cover your arms. Lye can be very dangerous especially if it gets in contact with your eyes so think it twice before using it.
Keeping your drain clean
After working hard to clean your drain, the smartest move is to avoid clogging it again. Avoid anything that can cause this, such as fat and oil. This includes lard, cooking oil, shortening, butter, and margarine. It’s best to through them away when they’re solid, directly into your trash can.
If it’s your bathroom’s or laundry room’s drain, avoid greasy soap and install a hair catcher so it won’t clog it. Fortunately, your vinegar and baking soda trick will also work with clogged hair.
Drain strainers are a must for both your kitchen and your shower, and even your laundry room if you use it often. They are lifesavers.
An old myth is that coffee grounds help to keep your drain clean. Not only this is false, but it’s actually the other way around: coffee grounds will clump together and clog your drain just like fat or grease does.
You probably won’t be able to keep your drain spotless. Don’t worry, they won’t break or clog overnight. Try to keep an eye on it because if you don’t debris will start accumulating and it won’t be nice.
Every two or three months, try to take a mental note of how long it takes water to go down the drain. If you see that it stands too long before slowly going down, or if you sense an unpleasant odor coming out of it, then it’s time to clean that up!