How Often Should You Clean Kitchen Drains?
Are you trying to figure out how often you should clean kitchen drains? If yes, our guide right here covers the key things to know.
Whether in the bathroom or kitchen, all homes have fixtures with drains that need attention. If you’re not convinced, all you need to do is look at a cross-section of a dirty drain. You’ll see all kinds of grime, dirt, and residue built-up inside.
Kitchen drains are unique because they collect food debris and an assortment of grease, fat, and oil (FOG). Over time, if you don’t clean kitchen drains, they develop a foul odor. They’re also susceptible to clogs.
Knowing how to keep drains clean means the difference between a smoothly run kitchen and one where it’s nearly impossible to prepare meals and clean up afterward.
Curious about the best schedule for cleaning drains? You’re in the right place! Read on to understand how to care for this simple yet essential part of your kitchen plumbing.
Kitchen Drain Components
Before talking about how often drains need cleaning, it’s helpful to know what happens when something (preferably water) goes down the drain in your kitchen sink. There’s more to the kitchen drain system than meets the eye.
If you could DIY, here is how you would assemble the components of your drain:
- Strainer Body
- Gasket and Washer
- Drain Tailpiece
- Threaded Coupling
The strainer, also called the drain basket, is the drain’s first defense against large food particles and foreign objects. The P-trap defends you from the noxious odor of sewer gases. P-traps always hold water, which blocks sewer gas from coming up through the drainpipe and into your home.
Once you pour water down the drain, it goes through the tailpiece, the P-trap, and then to the drainpipe, which leads to your main drain. From there, the water goes to either your septic tank or municipal water system.
Do You Have a Weekly Drain Routine?
When you consider what goes down a kitchen drain every day, a weekly routine for cleaning drains makes sense. One of the biggest concerns is the FOG we mentioned earlier. FOG—fats, oils, and grease—is a by-product of cooking.
When it’s poured down the drain instead of thrown in the garbage, FOG will eventually lead to clogs and sewer backups.
Flushing the kitchen drain every week helps keep this greasy mess from clinging to the pipes. To get the best results, boil 3 cups of water and slowly pour it down the drown. A small amount of dish soap added to the hot water works great to break down the grease.
Wait five minutes for the hot water to work and then pour three cups of cold water in the drain. This causes fats and grease to clump up and also helps remove any debris left after the hot water treatment. Finish the treatment off with another round of boiling water.
Tip: Newer homes usually have PVC pipes. Be careful not to heat the water any higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid damaging the pipes.
Monthly Drain Cleaning
Along with your weekly routine, you should also clean drains monthly. The monthly cleaning isn’t designed to get rid of clogs. Instead, it’s a proactive move to prevent clogs from developing in the first place.
Most plumbers caution homeowners to stay away from chemical drain cleaners as they can damage plumbing. An alternative is to use an enzymatic cleaner. These cleaners eat and digest organic materials such as food waste.
Enzyme drain cleaners don’t work well on clogs, but they can help keep liquids flowing smoothly in the pipes.
Unlike harsh chemical drain cleaners, they aren’t as likely to cause damage to plumbing. That said, if you choose enzymatic cleaners, you’ll still need to keep them away from your eyes and skin.
Your Annual Deep Drain Clean
If you don’t make time to clean drains weekly or monthly, you should, at a minimum, get your pipes cleaned once a year. Slow drains and nasty smells coming from the sink will remind you it’s time to schedule annual cleaning.
Even if you don’t notice anything unpleasant going on in the kitchen sink, you may have a clog forming somewhere in the plumbing lines.
An annual cleaning keeps drains in good condition. Furthermore, when you include it as part of your plumbing maintenance program, it gives your plumber a chance to inspect all drains in your home and help you prevent future problems.
What’s different about annual maintenance?
Weekly and monthly drain cleaning are not DIY tasks. The annual cleaning is more complex and should be done by a qualified professional.
How Do Plumbers Clean Kitchen Drains?
Plumbers don’t play around with vinegar and baking soda (a common DIY drain cleaner). They get to the root of a dirty drain using one of these two cleaning methods:
- Drain Snaking
- Hydro Jetting
To snake a drain, the plumber uses an auger to barrel through debris in the pipes. They’ll either break it all up and flush it down the line, or pull the gunk back through the pipe.
Hydro jetting uses high pressure and water to break up trapped debris in the drain. It’s not something a homeowner should ever do themselves. Plumbers use a video camera first to make sure your pipes can handle the pressure.
Which method works better to clean a kitchen drain?
Both plumbing snakes and hydro jets can clear out clogs, but one not only forces a clog out but cleans the pipes. Hydro jetting also gets rid of the grease and debris, making it an effective drain cleaner.
We Clean Kitchen Drains
Now that you know how to clean kitchen drains, you can set up a schedule that works for you. Weekly and monthly drain cleaning don’t take much time or effort, but it’s an essential task if you want to prevent clogs and odors.
For annual cleaning and maintenance, let a qualified plumber do the job. Contact the team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing today and schedule your yearly drain service. We’re also here to take care of any other plumbing repair, installation, or maintenance you need.v