You probably take the use of the drains in your home for granted; most of us do. The kitchen sink is the most important of these, but your bathroom drains, in lavatories, tubs and showers, are not to be ignored. Keeping all of them clear, clean and free of debris is an important part of your household plumbing maintenance. Indeed, such preventive maintenance is an easy way to avoid a great many major and expensive plumbing repairs.
The key: don’t let anything go down any drain except liquids—and of those, don’t let any liquid go down the drain that could later solidify and cause a clog: grease, for instance, or some kinds of oil-based lotions and some kinds of foods: sauces made from flour, perhaps. A particularly destructive substance in kitchen drains is coffee grounds; as they swell up when submerged in water for any length of time, they will almost invariably end up causing blockages and other problems with pipes.
The easiest way to prevent stuff from going down your kitchen drain is to install a screen or strainer, available for a couple of bucks at your home repair or hardware store. Make sure the screen is fine enough to keep out most food particles and empty it regularly. Also regularly clean out your pop-up stopper so that the water going through it doesn’t carry particles with it.
You can also help keep things moving, and prevent unpleasant odors, by occasionally running plain hot water down the drain; dissolving some baking soda in that hot water occasionally is a non-toxic way to keep drains clean. Don’t forget to do this in the bathrooms as well.