When you’re hard at work in the kitchen, you’ve got better things to do than worry about the drains. Unfortunately, the drains in food preparation areas can be difficult to keep clean, and when they back up it’s a nightmare: a sludge composed of old food and grease welling up into your sink could put you off your dinner! If your sink is draining slowly or not at all, the kitchen is well and truly closed: less than convenient if you’ve got mouths to feed and work to do. If that’s the case, it’s time to choose a drain clearing company: pronto! However, there are things you can do before a crisis strikes to keep your drains clean and clear. Read on for some common-sense maintenance tips you can do at home, along with organic options for green homeowners.
What to keep out
The number one problem we encounter with slow or clogged kitchen drains is leftover food waste. It’s such a common problem because almost everyone does it: for the most part we don’t even know we’re doing it! We wipe up food on the counter and rinse the sponge out… down the sink! We swill out a tin of beans to get it clean and pour the leftover bits… down the sink! We scrub out a pan full of grease, and all the remains go… you guessed it. It might not seem like much, but day by day the build-up of solid grease, crumbs and scraps of protein, not to mention the odd chicken bone, can cling together and dry out, forming a clog which swells and narrows pipes. You might not know the drain is becoming blocked until the blockage starts to rot and smell, by which time you’ll need to call a plumber.
What to do instead
To avoid rotting food building up in the pipes, be diligent about discarding waste food into the bin or the compost heap, or even down the toilet: it may seem strange, but the toilet is designed for solid waste. Also, invest in a strainer, a little metal mesh disc which you can pick up at a homewares or hardware store, or even at one of the larger supermarkets, often for around a pound. Drop it in on top of the plug hole to catch waste food, and empty it regularly.
Clean up your act
If you don’t already, clean your sink once a week by pouring boiling water and washing-up liquid down there and letting it run clear. Alternatively, an organic option you’ll probably have in the cupboard is baking soda: mix it with vinegar, and pour it down the drain before it’s finished fizzing for a good green clean. Finish up with a little lemon juice, or throw a lemon peel through the waste disposal, for a clean citrus smell. Always try to choose non-corrosive cleaners, like vinegar and citrus juices, instead of strong chemical cleaners which are very acidic and can damage pipework.
If all your work doesn’t result in a fast-draining, fresh-smelling drain, there may be something wrong which can’t be fixed with smart routine maintenance: time to call the plumber.
The author is a first-time home owner, writing a renovation diary and blogging about issues including interior decoration, DIY, home bargains and domestic disasters. She visits the Jethrough website to stay current on everything to do with drains and drainage in the London area.