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3 Top Causes and Tips For Clearing Blocked Drains

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Blocked drains. We’ve all had them. Sometimes it’s a minor problem with only the sink half full. Other times you have water streaming out of the drains, creating quite a mess. Either way, it’s a nuisance and a real irritation to homeowners.

When you’re dealing with this issue, your first instinct is to phone the plumbers who deal with blocked drains Melbourne residents often struggle with. There are however a few steps you can take to avoid the issue becoming a huge mess.

Quick and Easy Ways to Deal With Blocked Drains

To be honest, blocked drains don’t start as a huge mess. It’s a build-up of weeks or months of gunk systematically sticking to the sides of your pipes. It can be anything from foreign objects that have been dropped into the drain to hair, grease, cooking oil and food scraps that get stuck and create a blockage.

Aside from being a major inconvenience, a host of different forms of bacteria is flowing back up the drain and affecting your space. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent blockages before they get out of hand. Let’s delve in and take a look at some of the main culprits of blocked drains and what you can do to prevent them.

Grease and Cooking Oil Build-up

The problem: The number one cause of kitchen sink blockages is without a doubt grease and oil. While you might be pouring the oil and grease down the drain in its liquid form, it’s important to remember that this grease turns to fat as it cools and clings to the sides of the pipe walls.

The solution: Preventing drain blockages is much simpler than dealing with the fatty mess that washed up from a blocked drain. Simply follow these steps to keep your kitchen drain clean:

  • Don’t pour any oil, grease or liquid fat down the kitchen sink. Rather dispose of these liquids in the garbage.
  • Clean food scraps off of plates before placing them in the sink.
  • Pour boiling water down the drain every few days to loosen any grease build-up.
  • Find out about a facility that does oil recycling. Place old, or leftover oil in glass jars and drop it off at such a centre.

Hair Build-Up in Bathroom Sinks

The problem: No matter how long or short your hair is, hair falling from your body during bathing or showering together with oily soap suds is responsible for that gunky mess in your bathroom drains and sinks. Once again, one shower won’t clog your drain, it’s a build-up over time that creates the problem.

The solution: Don’t let the hair build-up get out of hand by ignoring it for weeks or months. Just because you can’t see it in your sink or drain doesn’t mean it’s not just below the surface. Do the following to prevent that soapy mess from spilling up:

  • Clean your drains and sinks as often as you clean the rest of your bathroom. Don’t wait for a blockage.
  • Use rubber gloves to avoid contact with bacteria already swirling around in the pipes.
  • Pull out as much hair and soap as you can reach. Use drain spiders or fashion a hook out of a wire coat hanger to reach in and pull out any build-up.
  • The oils in soap harden and make the matter worse, so use a mixture of boiling water, baking soda and vinegar to break down the soap. Vinegar is also a great anti-bacterial cleaning agent. Afterwards, pour some lemon juice down the drain to create a fresh citrus smell.
  • While some drain cleaners claim to dissolve hair and soap suds, it’s important to check with your plumber if these products are safe to use. Some of these cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can cause additional damage and corrosion to existing pipes.

Blocked Toilets

The problem: In recent years, plumbers have received more calls to deal with blocked toilets than ever before. The number one reason for this is nappies and baby wipes that are being disposed of in toilets.

The average person thinks that because an item flushes away and is no longer seen, there’s no problem. The reality is these items cause a problem somewhere down the pipeline which will eventually find its way back to your pipe. Wet wipes and nappies might be small but as they become immersed in the water in the drainpipe, they enlarge and block the pipes.

The solution: Educate everyone in your household that change the baby to place wipes and nappies in the outside garbage bins. If you’re in a public area, there should be bins designated for these items.

Final Thoughts

Blocked drains are truly unpleasant to deal with. The bacteria can also cause health problems in your home. Once you or your trusted plumber have unblocked the offending drain, be sure to clean and sanitise the drains and the areas where the gunk spilt over.

And remember: prevention is better than cure, so clean your drains regularly and you won’t have to deal with blockages at all!

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