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Blocked drains: prevention and cure

Drain care is like flossing your teeth – you feel great once you’ve done it and the results are visible. A neglected drain has a distinctive smell, like halitosis, and is a breeding ground for bacteria in both sink and tub. When you begin to think about all the items that are casually tossed in the kitchen, laundry and bathroom sink, as well as the bathtub, it’s frightening to comprehend how quickly bacteria can spread around the home.

How can you quickly and effectively care for your drains? These handy hints will help you prevent blocked drains, as well as deodorise and sanitise your drains.


Our drains very kindly remove all the waste water we would rather not think about, and ask for very little in return. The best thing we can ever do for our drains is not to let anything foreign into the drain. In the kitchen that means no food scraps, grease, fat and oil are tipped into the sink, in the bathroom that means that only human waste and toilet paper are flushed, certainly no sanitary items, dental floss, ‘flushable’ wipes, cosmetic cotton pads, etc., etc., in the shower or bathtub that
means no hair washes down the pipes. To make sure as little foreign matter as possible enters the drain, use these life hacks to assist:

Blocked drains prevention and cure - AdelaideKitchen:

• Use a drain strainer,
• Start a compost bin,
• Rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and
• Move the bin to a handy location


• Have a tidy bin beside the toilet for all sanitary and cosmetic waste
• Take off makeup in another room
• Collect hair on the side of the bath or shower so it doesn’t wash down the drain
• Laundry
• Place a tidy bin in the laundry to collect lint from the dryer
• Check the pockets of clothing for stray tissues and other items before they enter the wash

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, drains need extra care. Follow these tips for swift and painless train treatment and care:

Drain Cleaning Kit

For routine drain unblocking, sanitation and maintenance, assemble the following kit:
• Plunger
• Bi-carb (baking) soda
• White Vinegar
• Gloves
• Bucket/basket
Put all items in the bucket/basket for easy access when needed.


The sooner you can attend to a slow or blocked drain the easier it will be to restore optimum flow. To improve drainage speed:

1. Pour 1/2 cup of bi-carb soda down the drain.
2. Drizzle 1 cup vinegar down the drain.
3. The bi-carb soda and vinegar will react, causing fizzing and foam.
4. When you no longer hear fizzing in the drain, follow with hot tap water.
For slow-moving drains, repeat these steps.

Unblocking a drain:

Blocked drains prevention and cure - Adelaide1. Use a plunger to dislodge matter obstructing the flow.
2. Pour bi-carb and vinegar down the drain, as outlined above.
3. Follow with hot water.
WARNING: Use this method before trying commercial chemical drain treatments, as the vinegar mixture can react with other chemicals, creating dangerous fumes.
If this process doesn’t unblock the drain, see further help below.

To desodorizase drains:

1. Simply follow the bi-carb soda and vinegar method described above.
2. Follow with hot water infused with a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
3. For further reading on drain care, see our blog: How to clear a blocked drain 

Further help

If the bi-carb soda and vinegar recipe doesn’t restore your flow, it means you either have a fatty build up, or something else is obstructing the drain. The rule of thumb is to start with the natural solution, move to chemical, and finally call a plumber. For serious obstructions, a plumber may need to use a drain auger to remove tree roots. 

For essential tips on finding and hiring a local plumber in Adelaide, see our no-nonsense guide: How to find and hire a local plumber


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