Kitchen Mishaps

We had a little set-back in the kitchen the other day – a clogged drain. What a nuisance, particularly for my husband who took it upon himself to clean it (thank you, Doug). Hot water didn’t work and the sink started backing up with more water. He put a bucket under the drain pipe and opened it up to clear the clog. Just going to say, it was not a pleasant sight. After he put it back together again, the drain ran smoothly. Yea for my handyman.

This experience got me to thinking on ways to avoid this issue again. Here are some ideas for sink maintenance and clog prevention in the kitchen and bathroom.

Avoid the problem in the first place

1) Make sure grease and oil don’t go down the drain. Wipe out any grease or fats from your pans before cleaning them in the sink.

2) Use a strainer to stop bits of food and debris from going down the drain. This goes for bathroom drains, too, catching hair and soap before they go down the drain. Clean the strainer regularly.

3) Don’t put anything fibrous down the disposal. Things like banana and citrus fruit peels, celery, potato peels are examples of food that the disposal can’t handle. My Plumber said to avoid egg shells and coffee grounds, too.                       

4) Always run water while using the disposal.

When clogs happen, avoid harsh chemicals and products.

1)  Pour boiling hot water down the drain. A few pots may break down the clog. If you have pvc pipes, this is not a good strategy. The pipes are plastic and the boiling hot water may cause the connections to loosen.

2) Baking soda and vinegar can work as effective solvents. Pour ½ cup baking soda down the drain. If you have a double sink, plug one of the drains. Then put ½ cup of vinegar down over the baking soda. There will be bubbles, like your school volcano experiment. Cover the drain and let sit for ½ hour to dissolve the clog. Run hot water to rinse and hopefully this will clear the clog.

3) Remove the pea trap in the drain. This is a more complicated process and certainly doable by someone who’s handy around the house. Turn off the water, place a bucket under the drain, and unscrew the pipe. The drain should be clear and the backed up water in the sink will clear into the bucket. Clear the plug, wash the pipe thoroughly and put the drain back together. It’s a good idea to run hot water through the pipes again to clear any remaining residue.

If these steps haven’t worked, more options are to use a plunger made for sinks, a plumber’s snake or call a plumber.

Prevention and regular maintenance are the best tactics to take, and what we’ll be doing in the future!

Susie Landsem
Aging in Place by Design
Susie is a consultant for Aging in Place. Contact her if you have questions about adding safety and comfort solutions to your home.