Clogs are a common occurrence in every household, but not all clogs are created equal. Different drains are susceptible to different types of blockages and build ups, each requiring a specific treatment. Don’t pour your money down the drain with dangerous chemicals that could damage your pipes. Instead, learn how to prevent clogs before they happen.

Shower and Tub

It’s no secret that your hair and skin cells naturally shed. During one shower, you can lose thousands of strands of hair and millions of dead skin cells that are carried down the drain. Buildup of soap scum, usually not an immediate problem, can accumulate over time and assist in trapping the hair and skin to the walls of your pipes. To prevent these hairy clogs, you can periodically remove the drain stopper for a routine cleaning and have your pipes cleaned by a professional. Other perpetrators of clogged shower drains are small objects not easily carried by water, so be cautious of razor heads and shampoo caps.

Kitchen Sink

Kitchen sinks are treated as a catch all for food particles, grease, and detergent. When these icky elements combine, they form a gunky clog that is difficult to remove without professional help. You can prevent grease from solidifying in your sink by draining it into old coffee cans or other sealed containers to be thrown away in the trash. Food particles like coffee grounds and eggshells get heavy when mixed with water, so either use them in your garden as compost, or throw them in the trash. Other bad foods for kitchen drains are starches like pasta, rice, and potatoes. When they mix with water they form a paste-like substance that clings to the sides of the drain. If you are doing all you can to prevent buildups and still getting clogs, consider having a professional inspect your pipes to be sure they were properly installed.

Bathroom Sink

Bathroom sinks don’t have as efficient drain stoppers as your shower, so they are generally more easily clogged. The most common causes of clogs here are from toothpaste build up, soap scum, and hair. Try not to let hair go down the bathroom sink by cleaning visible strands from the sink and disposing them into the trash. If you lean over the sink while brushing your hair in the morning, consider covering the drain with a small towel.

Toilet

Toilet clogs are typically caused by flushing down items that do not dissolve or break apart in water. People commonly flush cotton-tipped swabs, dental floss, or pre-moistened wipes — all of which should go in the trash instead. Stick to the mantra: if it doesn’t break apart, don’t flush it!