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Few things in life are more frustrating than having a clogged bathroom or kitchen drain. Typically, when a drain becomes clogged, it is just before company arrives. If you find that your drain is clogged, you can first try products purchased at hardware or home improvement stores that are designed to work gently with your plumbing system. Make sure the label specifies the product is safe for PVC pipes. For safety do not ever unscrew a trap that has chemicals present. Additionally, never mix different types of chemicals, even if they appear to have the same ingredients.

If you have a clogged drain, another option is to use a good old-fashioned plunger. The plunger has long been the tool of choice and in most cases, after plunging the drain a few times the clog will clear. One note of importance is never to use a plunger if you have used chemicals to unclog the drain.

Drainage traps are designed to stop smaller objects from going down the pipes. If you have dropped something such as a ring, contact lens, or earring, remove the trap, which is known as a "P" or "S" traps seen as the curved pipe below the sink. These traps are perfect for finding lost items. To check the trap, you will need to place a bucket under the pipes below the sink to catch water that will leak from the pipe when opened. If you have tried to unclog the drain with chemicals, make sure you wear protective glasses and gloves.

Now you need to loosen the two end nuts of the couplings. Although some of these nuts can be loosened by hand, be prepared with a pipe wrench. Once the trap is loose, tilt it so the water runs into the bucket. Looking inside the trap, you should see the missing item. Before putting the trap back in place, look for any damage to the washer, and if you find any, replace it. This will help the pipe from leaking in the future. Remove any other debris such as dirt or hair, replace the trap, and then tighten the coupling nuts.

Whether talking about your bathroom or kitchen drain, the best way to avoid clogs is prevention. Some of the best ways to achieve this include:
  • Using a drain strainer as a way of trapping food particles, dirt, and hair
  • Using old coffee cans to collect food grease instead of pouring it down the drain
  • Once a week, boil a large pot of water and slowly pour it down the drain to soften dirt and melt grease that will easily wash through the pipes
  • Another option for weekly maintenance is to mix vinegar and baking soda and slowly pour it down the drain to help break down grease that builds up over time. Additionally, this will freshen up your drain and eliminate any bad odors.
  • Mix �-cup equal parts of salt and baking soda and sprinkle down the drain. Follow this mixture with six to eight cups of boiling water. Do not run any other water down the drain or use the garage disposal for kitchen drains but instead, allow this to sit overnight. The next morning, flush the drain with hot water for a few minutes.
  • If none of the above recommendations work, you can either purchase a mechanical snake from your local hardware or home improvement store or hire a plumber to come and "snake" out your drain. The mechanical snack is made of flexible metal that is carefully threaded down the drain, manually pushing any clogs down the drain. Some snakes can be rented that are designed with a crank option. These snakes used along with a garden hose with running water can help clear clogs all the way to the street. To save the high cost of a plumber's service, try these options first.
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