Cleaning Your Bathroom Drains Without Chemicals
I don’t know where you live but since winter hit here it’s either been bitter cold or snowing. If it does “warm up,” it’s just enough to do some major melting and then plunge into the deep freeze causing everything to turn icy. When the weather isn’t nice, I tackle projects inside the house.
Today’s Project: Drains
When Do You Tackle Your Drains?
How often do you clean your bathroom drains? Do you wait until they are clogged or the sink takes 5 minutes to drain? Then what do you do?
Drain Cleaning Options
What ’til it Clogs and…
Call a plumber
I just checked Homeadvisor.com and they write, “The cost of a plumber ranges from $160 to $430 for a typical job with the average cost per hour ranging from $45 to $150.” I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my money.
Use dangerous chemicals and hope
But these are…
You could plunge and hope…
What if we just kept them clean in the first place and we didn’t need to do any of this?
Regular maintenance will prevent most clogs
Keep hair and debris out
The first thing we want to do is prevent hair and debris from getting into the drains in the first place. Most bathroom sinks have a pop-up drain plug. Some tubs have them too. If they don’t, your first defense is to put a screen over the drain to catch hair and debris. I use these drain screens:
If you have a pop-up plug in the bath or shower, I’ve used this hair catcher before.
Wipe out the Sink after each use
This sounds time-consuming, but I’ve done it for years and years and it only takes 30 seconds to a minute. For years I just had a cleaning rag or old towel ready to dry out the sink every time I used it. I still had to wash the sink weekly and scrub it regularly. But then last year I was introduced to the Norwex EnviroCloth.* Now when I dry the sink it grabs the bacteria into the cloth and polishes it clean. I almost never have to “clean” the sink anymore. Honest. Occasionally I might spritz it with a cleaner I mix using essential oils that kill bacteria and wipe it with the Envirocloth, but no more scrubbing the sink!! It’s always clean and polished.
Wipe down the tub/shower after each use
Just like I don’t have to clean the sink, I don’t have to clean the tub anymore because I wipe it down after each use – before even getting out of the shower. Yes, this takes a few minutes – about 3-5 minutes. But you aren’t using any chemicals and the tub/shower is sparkling clean every day. It’s also really just wiping it dry. If you have tough soap scum, it may take a couple swipes, or by using the Norwex Bathroom Mitt, that’s pretty easy, too. Usually, I just squeegee with a squeegee from the dollar store, then polish dry with the Envirocloth. But if I have scum, then I use the Norwex Bathroom Mitt.*
Snake the drains with a sink drain 2 times a year
This is not hard and the snakes are about $2 each. I have one in each bathroom and one hanging next to the laundry tub. I will walk you through it. And, yes, it’s still necessary. Even after all that I do, I still get hair and gunk mostly in the bathroom sink. The first time I did the bathroom sink I nearly choked when all the gunk came out. The bathtub has a screen and most the hair and debris gets caught in that. I check the tub drain weekly, just visually. The sink drains I only snake about 2 times a year. Let me show you how.
How to Snake a Drain
1. Buy your snake(s)
I bought my snakes from a local hardware store for about $2 each. They are little different than the picture above. But these have a good rating on Amazon and they are just about $2 each. My snakes are about 5 years old. They last a long time if you clean them off after use. Some people throw them away, but that’s just wasteful unless you are using them in a gross clogged sink. Then you decide. Here’s what mine look like:
Notice the teeth on the snake. I see there are ones for sale without teeth. Get a snake with teeth. It will grab all that hair and pull it out. The one from Amazon has teeth all the way up. Mine only has them on the first 4 inches.
2. Insert into the Drain
Now insert it into the drain, twisting as you insert.
Keep twisting and pushing down into the drain until nearly the entire snake is in there – or until it won’t go any farther. It will go in, just wiggle, twist, wiggle some more if it doesn’t just slip right down in.
3. Pull it Out
Now pull it out. You may have to wiggle it and twist some. Pull gently, but firmly, pulling it all the way out. Sometimes I have to push it back in a little, twist and pull again. It all depends on how much is on the snake. When the snake is out, there should be hair and debris on it.
I didn’t think all the hair was out. I could hear the hair ripping as I pulled, so I cleaned it off, ran some water, and tried it again. Success!!
This time I didn’t hear any tearing of hair and the snake came out more easily. So I knew I probably got it all. To be sure, I snaked again from each segment of the pop-up plug. No more hair. I was done.
The first time I did my drains, this is what came out:
Notice the tale coming out of the drain. It took several times of getting big clumps like this out before the drain was clear. When I got it all out and saw how much there was, I was surprised that my sink had been draining at all! Oh, and I have to mention that I had been using an enzyme product monthly that was supposed to prevent this. AND because my sink was running really slowly, I had already tried an industrial strength drain cleaner. What a waste of money and exposing myself and the environment to those toxic chemicals!
5. Clean up
After washing my hands I cupped my hands, filled them with water and rinsed any splatter down the drain. Then I wiped it dry. I used the Norwex EnviroCloth knowing the Bac-Lock technology would pull all the bacteria into the cloth and neutralize them in there. For more information about the Norwex EnviroCloth and the Bac-Lock technology, click here.
So, that’s it. The first time will be the worst. But after that, it should only take 5 minutes every 6 months. EASY-PEASY!!
When you’re done with this, you can add a new skill to your list of skills.
*NOTE: if the links for the Norwex products do not work, please use the contact form below to place an order directly with me.