Of all the issues one might encounter in their home, a clogged-up drain is among the most annoying. It’s a slow-developing problem that can eventually make showering, using your sink, or washing your dishes an unpleasant experience. 

So what’s the deal? Why isn’t your drain… draining? Let’s take a look at the main culprits and what you can do to remedy the situation.  

Kitchen Sink 

No drain in your home takes more abuse than the kitchen sink drain. Many might assume you can throw anything and everything down the garbage disposal. But even though they are capable of grinding up a variety of food items, you can’t put everything down your kitchen drain. 

One of the leading causes of clogged kitchen drains is the result of pouring unsuitable things down the drain. Avoid sending any of the following items down your drain

  • Meat
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Grease and oil 
  • Gum
  • Starchy foods like rice or pasta
  • Fruit peels and pits
  • Fruit stickers 
  • Paint
  • Paper towels 
  • Food wrappers

Food items not included in the list above shouldn’t damage your garbage disposal or drain. But keep in mind that you should only grind no more than one cup of food waste at a time

Aside from issues with your garbage disposal, a slow draining kitchen sink might also be due to an obstruction in the P-trap. This is the elbow-shaped pipe under your sink. Over time, food particles, dirt, and bacteria will build up in this pipe and could potentially cause a blockage. 

How to Fix the Issue 

There are a handful of ways to fix a kitchen sink that isn’t draining properly. Here are some of the best solutions: 

  • Try hitting the garbage disposal. Sometimes this will help the clog slid down the drain. If the garbage disposal doesn’t work right away, try hitting the reset button. 
  • Pour half a gallon of boiling water down the drain to dissolve any organic matter stuck against the pipe walls. DON’T use this method if your pipes are made from PVC material. The hot water can warp the pipe joint and create a leak. 
  • Fill the sink halfway with warm water and plunge. This is another way to loosen a block so it can properly move through your pipes. 
  • Use the baking soda method. First, remove any standing water with a cup. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain to one cup vinegar. Cover with a pot lid for 15 minutes and pour hot water down the drain. 
  • If all of the above fails, it may be time to roll up your selves and clean out the p-trap. Call your trusted local plumber if you aren’t too keen on doing it yourself. 

Bathroom Sink 

Every once in a while you may notice a slow draining bathroom sink. As hair, skin flakes, toothpaste, and dirt combine with soap scum, they form a gooey substance that will build on the pipe walls over time. This sticky material may also get caught on the stopper or pivot rod of a bathroom drain. 

This gunk will start to grow bacteria as time goes on. If you pull your stopper up and notice a black, slimy material, don’t be alarmed. This is the bacteria feeding off the organic gunk stuck in your drain. Simply soak it in antibacterial soap to mitigate the issue. 

Similar to a kitchen sink, the issue may also be the result of a clogged p-trap. 

How to Fix the Issue 

Get your bathroom drain in working order again with these methods: 

  • First things first, remove and clean the stopper. Soak in antibacterial soap if it’s grimy. Sometimes the solution to a slow draining bathroom drain is a simple matter of untangling the hair from the stopper and cleaning it. 
  • Boiling water can do wonders here too. Pour half a gallon of boiling water down the drain to dissolve the stuck-on organic matter.
  • Plunging can help force clogs further down pass through your drain pipes. Remove the stopper, fill the sink halfway with warm water, and try to plunge.
  • Sometimes the best way to remove a clog is to pull it up the drain. Use a snake to break down a clog so it may pass through easier or come up with the snake. 
  • If the above doesn’t do the trick, you’ll likely need to clean out the p-trap. 

Bathtub and Shower Drains 

Bathtub and shower drains take on almost as much abuse as a kitchen sink. Every time you bathe, hair, skin flakes, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and exfoliating materials will travel down the drain. If you or any of your household members spend a lot of time outside, heaps of sand and dirt may also get sent down the drain. 

Eventually, all of these materials will collect on the sides of the piping. This sudsy, bacteria-ridden gunk can build up and cause a clog as time goes on. High mineral water can also aggravate the situation. 

How to Fix the Issue 

There are a few ways that you may remedy a slow draining bath or shower drain: 

  • Try the hot water method. Pour half a gallon of boiling water down the drain in order to dissolve the organic matter and flush down clumps of hair.
  • Plunge it. Fill your tub with water until it’s enough to cover the base of the plunger. Plunge until you feel the clog give way. 
  • Snakes are usually the best solution for a shower clog since they usually involve hair obstruction. Place the snake down the drain and fill your tub a quarter full with hot water. Try to pull up the clog or loosen it so it can drain properly.  

Get Some Backup 

Can’t seem to get your drain to work? It might be time to call in some backup. If you’re in the Thorton, Colorado area, To the T Plumbing and Heating is here for any and all of your plumbing woes. Give us a ring if you can’t seem to get your drain to drain!

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