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Keeping Your System Clog-Free

One of the single best ways to prevent slow or clogged drains is by being careful about what you put into them.

Cooking grease, coffee grounds, hair, and soap scum are four of a drain's biggest enemies. Great caution should be taken to avoid introducing any of these into a drain:

  • Save cooking grease in an old coffee can or cardboard milk container.
  • Throw coffee grounds away in the garbage or add them to your mulch pile.
  • Avoid the majority of problems with hair and soap scum with a screen or drain-grate covering (and protecting) the drain's opening. Stop by your local plumbing supply store to study the choices that relate to your particular fixture. Take a picture of the drain system along to better explain your needs. Most filters and screens can be simply laid in place.

Regular cleaning also has its merits. To keep sink drains in your home running freely -- and absent of odor -- try these methods:

  • Run hot water through the sink after each use.
  • Throw a handful of baking soda into the drain and follow it with hot water.
  • Pour 1 cup of vinegar and let it sit for 1/2 hour. Then chase it down with very hot water.

For sinks with garbage disposals, you can also try this trick:

  • Fill an ice-cube tray half full with vinegar and top it off with clear water.

Vinegar alone won't freeze well. Be sure to mark the tray clearly-you wouldn't want an unsuspecting family member to end up with a mouthful of vinegar.

  • Turn the disposal on and then throw in the cubes.

Vinegar is a mild acid that cleans the disposal and the drain while the ice literally chills and scrapes grease off its walls. If you don't like the smell of vinegar, you can chase the cubes with one sliced lemon. Your disposal and your kitchen will smell great.