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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Keeping Your Drains Clear & Garbage Disposal Happy

This may be something you rarely think about (or ever think about), until your drain is clogged!  There are a few simple things you can do every few months to keep your drains clear and smelling fresh, without have to resort to nasty, chemical drain cleaners.  This will also help prevent you from having to call a plumber, which saves money and time!

All you need are a few simple ingredients:

  • White vinegar (I get the big jugs of Heinz white vinegar at Costco)
  • Baking soda (I also get this at Costco.  They sell big bags of Arm & Hammer)
  • Ice
  • Citrus rinds (lemons, limes, oranges, etc.)

First, to clean your drains:

  1. Fill a large, microwave-safe liquid measuring cup with white vinegar (I use my big 4-cup Pyrex glass measuring cup)
  2. Heat in microwave for 2-3 minutes, until hot
  3. Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain of your sink
  4. Now comes the fun part (almost like a science experiment) - pour the hot vinegar into the sink.  It will fizz up like crazy.  Continue to pour vinegar until all the baking soda is dissolved and flushed down the sink.
  5. Don't use your sink for at least half an hour.  You will hear fizzing continue in the sink pipe, as the baking soda and vinegar mix go to work.
  6. Boil a tea kettle of water on the stove
  7. Pour the boiling water down the drain to flush everything out
Now your drain is all cleaned out.  Doing this on a regular basis will help to keep pipes clean and get rid of any grease or soap residue building up in the pipes.

Now, onto your disposal:

  1. Put a handful of ice cubes into your disposal (without it running!)
  2. Add some citrus rinds (you can also store citrus rinds in your freezer in a freezer bag and then take them out as needed)
  3. Turn on your disposal.  It will sound horrible as it grinds up the ice, but don't worry.  The ice is cleaning off the blades and the citrus helps to cut through grease and make the sink smell fresh.
Enjoy your clean, fresh smelling sink!