With many of us stuck at home, social distancing, the temptation is to just sit in front of the television and feel sorry for ourselves. Unfortunately, this could be a mistake. The more time you and your family are at home, the more your plumbing system will be critical.
Luckily, there are lots of DIY cleaning tasks you can do now to ensure you continue to have fully operational plumbing. Here we’ll explore some simple and productive tasks you can do while you’re stuck at home without a need for specialist tools.
Drain clogs don’t happen all at once. The grime and gunk that causes a clog accumulates inside your drains and pipes over time. But, clearing this gunk early could help you to prevent a future clog. It is good practice to clean our your tub, shower, and sink drains periodically, even if they don’t appear clogged. You’re even likely to have the necessary ingredients in your home already.
Firstly, pour one half cup of baking soda into the drain. Follow this with one half cup of white vinegar. Allow this mixture to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll notice it fizzing, but don’t worry this is a normal chemical reaction. Towards the end of this time, boil some hot water. Pour a cup of hot water into the drain. This will flush away the gunk that the baking soda and vinegar combo has broken down.
A trap is a curved pipe that you’ll see under every sink. It connects your drain pipe to your sewer pipe. The traps tend to take their name from the shape of the curve of the pipe. So, you may have a “u trap”, “p trap” or “s trap” under your sink.
Regardless of the shape of the trap, it is designed to allow some water to be retained when you flush water down the drain. This creates an air seal to prevent sewer gases from rising back through the drain, creating a bad smell in your home.
Unfortunately, the traps can often retain other things that have been inadvertently put down the drain. So, it is a good idea to periodically clean your traps to ensure the water flow is not compromised.
Fortunately, traps are quite easy to remove and clean. The first step is to find your sink trap. Look for a curved PVC or metal pipe that is connected with two slip nuts. Place a bucket under the trap and put on some rubber gloves. Loosen the slip nuts by hand or using a wrench to detach the trap. Pour the contents of the trap into the bucket. You can then check that there is nothing caught in the trap. If you have children, you may be surprised to find small toys or other items lingering there. You may even find lost items of jewelry that you thought were long gone.
You can then scrub out the trap to clear any accumulated soap scum or debris. Once you’ve done this, re-tighten the slip nuts to replace the trap. Then run your faucet to ensure that the water drains away properly, and there are no drips under the sink.
For many of us, a nice hot shower is the only way to start the day. But, it may not be your imagination that your shower just isn’t as satisfying as it used to be. The likely cause of the problem is your showerhead. Gunk, scale, and other debris can accumulate inside the nozzles of your showerhead and slow the water flow. This is a particular problem if your home has hard water. Fortunately, cleaning a showerhead is an easy and quick chore.
Firstly, try using an old toothbrush and a cleaning solution. Dip the brush and scrub the nozzles. If this doesn’t work, put one half cup of baking soda, one half cup of white vinegar, and one cup of hot water into a plastic bag. Put the showerhead into the bag and tie it on, so the nozzles are fully submerged. Leave it for at least an hour and then allow water to flow through the showerhead to rinse any remaining residue.
De Mold Your Shower Grout:
Mold spores can be everywhere, and the ideal conditions for mold are dark, humid environments. This means that mold can be particularly problematic in bathrooms, especially in showers. Tile grout is the perfect place for mold to establish itself, and it can quickly get out of hand to spread to other areas of your bathroom.
Mold can be detrimental to your health, so it is crucial to tackle this issue before it turns into a major problem. Before you get started cleaning, you’ll need to ensure your bathroom is properly ventilated. If possible, open the door and window and turn on your overhead fan. You can use various cleaning solutions, but white vinegar is particularly friendly without being toxic. Put the vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it directly on the areas you’re cleaning. Allow the vinegar to sit for a few minutes and then use a coarse scrub brush to scrub the mold. An old toothbrush is an ideal size to accomplish this. After cleaning, rinse the surface well. You could even take this opportunity to replace any worn out grout with caulk after you finish cleaning.
We rely on our plumbing systems to maintain the comfort and hygiene in our homes. While the prospect of cleaning is not the most appealing task, these types of DIY tasks are well worth the effort. You may even eliminate a costly and time consuming problem occurring later on. So, while you’re social distancing, it is an ideal time to get a headstart on your DIY plumbing cleaning.
Just remember, that if you do run into any issues, you can rely on help from a professional plumber
. If you feel your plumbing issues are beyond your DIY skills, your local plumber can help provide an effective solution to any problem.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.