Clogged drains seem like a simple problem, but anyone who has dealt with them before know that they aren’t as simple as they first appear. One solution doesn’t fix all clogs, and powerful, industrial strength cleaners might work but they run the risk of become dangerous. Natural solutions are gentler, and can often fix small clogs or prevent residue buildup, but they may not pack enough of a punch for really tough clogs.

Keep your drains clean and fresh with these tips and tricks to fix and prevent clogs:

1      The best way to prevent clogs is to never dump food or greasy residue down the drain. Also avoid disposing materials like paint and paint thinner down the drain.

2      Use strainers over drains to catch debris and keep it from building up in pipes. Strainers should be cleaned out thoroughly at least once a week.

3      A routine cleaning can prevent smelly buildups and keep pipes draining quickly. This can be as simple as pouring boiling water down a drain once a week.

4      Pouring baking soda and vinegar into a drain can break up any buildup inside of it with a safe chemical reaction which has no chance of releasing harsh fumes. Just like pouring boiling water down a drain, this can work to prevent large clogs if done on a regular basis.

5      If there is a clog, using a small plunger over the opening of the drain can work out the material that is built up in it without using harsh chemicals.

6      Unpleasant odors can result from buildup in pipes. Keep drains smelling fresh by pouring vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice down the drain and letting it stand for about half an hour before running hot water down the drain.

7      If a clog is the result of some greasy mess caught in the pipe, a hair dryer or heating pad can warm the metal and melt the grease, allowing it to move through the pipe. This trick is a temporary solution, so following up with a treatment of baking soda and vinegar will break up any remaining debris.

8      When using a garbage disposal in the kitchen sink, pouring cold water down the drain with the food material will help break up the debris.

9      Enzyme solutions are natural decloggers. They break up any debris built up in pipe and keep drains clear. Plumbing services can provide enzyme cleaners or they can be bought at stores and are safe alternatives to chemical cleaners.

10   When cleaning a clogged drain or handling chemical material, rubber gloves and protective eyewear should be worn to prevent accidents.

When prevention doesn’t work and a clog occurs, the best bet is to call in a professional. Companies like Bob Oates drain cleaning services can help fix leaks, clogs, plumbing, water heaters, frozen pipes, and more. A clogged or broken pipe can be overwhelming when one (or two, or three…) at-home solution doesn’t work. A professional can fix the problem without an accident with harmful chemicals or powerful machines.