Dealing with a clogged drain can be incredibly frustrating. From plunging to snaking, the whole process gets messy -- and time-consuming! A far better approach is to do all you can to prevent your drains from clogging in the first place. With these three preventative care tips, you'll be doing exactly that.
1. Pour some vinegar and baking soda down the drain.
About once a month, pour a generous handful of baking soda down the drain, then follow it up with a bottle of vinegar. As the mixture foams up, it will loosen the beginnings of grime accumulation from the drain walls. This way, the grime will never get extensive enough to actually form a clog. Let the mixture sit for a few hours, or even overnight, before you turn on the hot water to rinse it away.
2. Use a drain basket.
Drain baskets are little devices made from either plastic or metal. They have little holes in them so the water drains through, but other items, like hair and food scraps, get caught in the basket. Often, you can find them at the dollar store or discount store for a dollar or less. You can empty the basket daily to keep the sink clean; you'll be amazed how many little particles would have otherwise gone down the drain. Put a sink basket in each drain in your home -- even those which you don't think any particles will get washed down.
3. Plunge when the drain gets slow.
If you notice that a drain is slowing down a little bit, tackle it with the plunger now rather than waiting for it to clog completely. The plunging will loosen anything that's clinging to the side of the drain so it can't keep grabbing onto other items and making the clog worse. Make sure you use a plunger with a bowl-shaped head; the type that flares out at the base is actually designed for a toilet! Always use straight "up-and-down" motions to plunge. (If you turn the plunger to the side at all, you'll break the seal between the drain opening and plunger head, rendering the plunging effort ineffective.)
If your drain does clog completely, remember to call a licensed plumbing services company rather than relying on chemical drain cleaners. These cleaners may seem convenient, but they can cause damage to your pipes, making matters worse in the long run.