Tue 12th October 2021
As autumn approaches many homeowners are looking to prepare their homes for the approaching winter and holiday season.
Cleaning and other maintenance jobs are vital to ensure our property is protected from the elements and to make sure our home is in great condition.
Along with your other seasonal maintenance checks, it’s important that drains are properly cleared from blockages such as leaves and other debris that can build up.
So, if you are wondering how to keep your drain pipes clean, here’s the definitive answer!
There are many simple home remedies for keeping inside and outside drains free from debris, including plungers, baking soda, vinegar, hot water, plughole sieves and regular brushing. For more serious blockages in outside drains and sewers, it’s best to hire a professional drain blockage service.
OK, so that’s the short answer. Read on for more help, starting with a brief list of how to keep your drain pipes clean.
How to keep your drain pipes clean: methods
- Reduce food and other particles entering the pipes.
- Regularly run hot water through the drainage pipes
- Pour baking soda or other cleaning products into the drain
- Ensure strainers are covering your kitchen sink plugholes
- Pour an occasional 1ltr of vinegar into outsider drains
- Avoid emptying coffee leaves into the plughole
- Ensure food, grease, and other matter goes into a bin
- Hire a professional for occasional thorough cleaning services
That’s some regular practices and easy tasks you can do to help keep your drains clean and unblocked. So let’s head into some further details…
Why drains need to be kept clean
Drains and sewers serve a very important function in daily life and they help to keep our homes sanitary and hygienic.
Therefore, proper checks and balances need to be done timely in order to avoid any long term damage to your system and keep your home and family healthy.
So let’s dive straight in with some of the most common methods:
Dispose of the clogged waste
Clogged waste is one of the biggest factors causing drainage problems so it’s important that it is regularly removed or disposed of separately.
Substances such as hair and shampoo soap scum can easily block bathroom drainage.
For this reason, they should be cleaned immediately after taking a shower or bath to reduce build-up.
Bathroom drain unclogging products are available and wire brushes can be used to remove tangled hair, soap scum and other debris.
Kitchen drains can often become blocked because of grease or food particles that are present while washing kitchenware items.
To prevent this, thoroughly remove any food from plates and ensure that any food remnants are thoroughly disposed of before putting the crockery in the dishwasher.
They can easily be stored in a clean bottle or can and disposed of separately.
Use hot water for cleansing
Hot water can be very effective at removing unwanted grease and other debris from drains. Hot water when used in the blocked pipes helps to ease down grease and clear any obstructions.
Run extremely hot water down the drain to soften, and then add washing up liquid.
If the clogged substances still haven’t loosened, use a kitchen plunger. Follow this up with both hot water and washing up liquid down the pipes repeatedly until any blockage is fully removed.
Many effective chemicals like acids and cleaners, can help to break down leftover matter.
It’s worth knowing that many of these substances need care when handling and used according to the instructions on the label. Don’t forget to wear adequate protective clothing.
Excessive usage can cause damages to the skin, eyes and lungs, so it may be worth hiring a professional home maintenance company.
Regularly brushing drainage pipes and sewers is the best practice to keep your home’s drains free from debris.
Clearing debris, efficiently, not only helps to maintain drainage systems but also improves durability.
This will help keep them in good working order and reduce ongoing damage.
There are many household remedies you could try.
- Baking soda: By adding baking soda regularly on and around sinks and tubs and then running hot water over it into the drain, removes the clogged grease and solid elements from the pipes. It also helps to absorb any bad odours.
- Vinegar is a very active organic compound useful for keeping drains clean and fresh. It contains 5 to 8 per cent acetic acid. Pour a cup of vinegar into the drain and rinse. This removes the fatty acids and other greasy content in both bathroom and kitchen drains. Baking soda can be doubly effective when used with vinegar. Add some baking soda to the drain followed by a few millilitres of vinegar and hot water.
Use plug hole sieves
To keep sinks and baths free from clogged debris, try using a sieve.
These simple kitchen and bathroom helpers can save a lot of effort by removing hairs, coffee beans, grains and other solid food particles from the sewer openings.
Install a strainer on the kitchen and bathroom drain mouths.
It traps all the solid waste from entering drains and makes the removal of food and other debris easier and more effective.
You might be surprised to learn that there are laws regulating home drainage and who is responsible for keeping them clean.
Read on to find out more.
Drainage laws in the United Kingdom
If you are based in the UK, then you are bound to abide by some rules and regulations for taking care of your drainage system.
According to experts, in general terms, the homeowner is usually responsible for drains inside the boundaries of your property.
Any lateral drains which are usually outside of your property boundary are the responsibility of the sewage company.
Although most sewers are now publicly owned, there are still some that are private.
If your home uses a privately owned drain, then you might be responsible for its maintenance.
OK, so now we know some of the important rules, let’s find out some of the most common substances that block drains.
What are the types of substances likely to block drains?
You might recognise some of the waste mass below that most commonly blocks drain pipes.
They are generally categorized into three groups.
- White sludge-like matter: This is calcified hard water that is created from soap and shampoo. This type of soap and shampoo “gunk” can eventually obstruct the sewer. It forms a thin coating in the drain pipes and can increase daily if not removed.
- Black gunky deposits: This is a tar-like substance that is formed by decomposed hairs, soaps and dead skin cells that drain off while bathing. This type of coagulation can cause very tough blockages.
- Oil and grease: This usually builds up in kitchen drains from food remains. This sort of drainage can cause minor obstructions and can simply be avoided by using general household remedies and regular cleaning.
How to keep your drain pipes clean: Easy method
With family life busier than ever it can be tricky to find the time for regular home maintenance. So the easiest way to maintain a clean sewage system is to hire a professional.
The best home maintenance companies in the U.K. and beyond, offer monthly subscription plans to help with drainage cleaning and a wealth of other home maintenance issues.
Most offer 24/7 assistance, with just a phone call.
Is using a soak-away legal in the UK?
Excess rainwater can cause problems in sewers and other drains.
However, using a soak-away for drainage is quite complicated and subject to laws and regulations.
In general, using a soak-away for drainage is not legal and violations can cause heavy penalties.
For rainwater, soak away it is allowed but strictly regulated.
It should be at least 5 meters from the property and 2.5 meters from the fence and should be sufficiently managed so that it cannot disturb the natural water levels.
So now you’ve seen some of the legalities surrounding soak-aways, you might be wondering how professionals deal with more serious blockages in drains and sewers.
Tools required for opening a blocked sewer
Drain opening and sewage inspection is quite a technical task and special tools are required.
- Plungers: Some lightweight plungers that are used normally for drainage problems inside the home can remove small daily blockages, but for a severe case, consult professionals
- Cameras: These are commonly used to detect leaks and blockages in drains. These are manually entered into the pipes and the inside view is seen on a screen where the problem can then be detected and assessed.
- Hydro-jets: These powerful jets are used for the worst blockages. Plumbers and other professional drain cleaning companies, use these to project a powerful water stream into the drain to open up the coagulation.
- Hair snake: This is a specialized tool normally made of plastic that opens up the coagulations caused by lingered bunches of discarded hair.
How often a drain inspection should be done
An inspection service can be provided by the best plumbing and household management companies in their subscription packages.
A thorough drain inspection by a professional should be carried out at least once a year to avoid any onerous blockages or leaks.
And to finish…
We hope our article has helped you to understand a little more easily how to keep drains clean, hygienic and ready for the change in seasons, home remedies and some of the legalities surrounding keeping drains and sewers in good working order.
Here at Homeforce, our 10 years of experience mean that your drains are in the hands of experts.
So whether you need an emergency repair, plumbing, boiler or a complete home emergency cover, find out more.