Weekend Projects

The Best Time to Unclog a Drain is Before it Happens — Here Are 3 Preventative Tips to Try Right Now

published Jul 16, 2021
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someone using dishwasher tablets in sink

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Funny story: When I was visiting my sister in Boston for her grad school graduation, her kitchen sink got clogged. I don’t remember how, but I do remember walking home from the store with my mother and sister after getting a plunger to unclog it. (That’s when I learned that a plunger with no flange is for sinks, not toilets.) I had my then one-year-old son with me and he wanted to walk rather than sit in his stroller on the return to my sister’s apartment. So my mom strapped that plunger into the stroller. It was a sight.

But yeah, we were preparing for my sister’s graduation party and it was not a good time for a clogged sink. But I guess there’s never a good time for a clogged drain, is there?

The best “way” to unclog a drain is to prevent it from clogging in the first place — which isn’t helpful advice when you’re staring a clogged drain in the face. So let’s do some preventive maintenance now, this weekend, to put that age old ounce-of-prevention advice to good use.

Credit: Lana Kenney

This Weekend: Do some preventative drain maintenance.

There are a few things you can do to help keep your drains from clogging.

  • Catch hair before it goes down the drain. One of the best ways to prevent clogs is to catch hair before it goes down the drain. This drain protector does just that and at less than $13, is far, far cheaper than a plumber. Order one or a few of these for shower or sink drains that tend to have a lot of hair slip into them.
  • Clear out existing hair before it becomes a problem. While you’re waiting for those drain protectors to arrive, deal with the hair that’s already in your drains. You can do this manually or with some special tools.
  • Cut through accumulated grease. Another major cause of clogged drains is grease build up. To address this issue, squirt a few drops of dish soap into the kitchen sink drain, wait 30 seconds for the soap to move into the drain, and then turn on the hot water. The soap and hot water will help cut through accumulated grease.

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