You guys. I don’t normally write about things like plumbing, but when I learned that in the plumbing industry, Black Friday is known as Brown Friday because it is the single busiest day of the year for plumbers, I had to share this with you. I mean…
It makes sense if you think about it. We have company that’s using our toilets, showers, and sinks more than normal. We’re cooking all kinds of stuff that we’re jamming into the garbage disposal. And nothing will ruin your holiday like a having to stop your celebration to call and plumber (except maybe the bill you’ll get right before Christmas).
3 Plumbing Tips to Keep the Fun Flowing (And Nothing Overflowing)
Let’s avoid this at all costs. Who’s with me? I’m sharing some simple things we can all do to be prepared – some things to have on hand, and what to do if disaster does strike your pipes this holiday season.
How to Unclog a Drain
We had a clogged drain in the kitchen recently and I’m not even going to tell you what a hot mess we had here. We did end up having to call a plumber, who found the clog in a pipe in the basement, but fortunately he was able to plunge it out without cutting the pipe. All of this at 9pm on a school night, of course.
Our plumber told us to stop putting things like pasta and rice down the drain. They swell up and can cause clogs. Noted.
How to Clear a Clogged Drain
If you do get a clog, try this trick: Concoct a mixture of 1/3 cup of baking soda and 1/3 cut of vinegar. You remember from science class that this will start to fizz. Immediately pour it down the drain and that fizzing action will help to break down the gunk, hair, and grime. GAG. Let it sit for at least an hour, or overnight if you can, and then flush it with really hot water.
To prevent future clogs in the kitchen, use a sink strainer to trap food and debris from going down the sink. Especially important to remember during holiday cooking: grease and oils do NOT go down the drain. Allow them to cool off and then pour them into a grease holder. Most grease will solidify after cooling and then it’s really easy to dump into the trash can.
How to Unclog the Toilet
A clogged toilet = nightmare situation. But, it happens, and it’s good to be prepared and know what to do. That also means knowing what NOT to do, which is to keep flushing the toilet. Just STOP. If you keep flushing, it’s going to overflow and then you have an even bigger mess to deal with.
Make sure you have a plunger near every toilet. No one wants to come out of the bathroom and ask for it, so just leave it there in case it’s needed. If you are the one plunging, here’s the technique: Make sure you have a good connection between the plunger and the toilet and then pretty forcefully start plunging. The idea is that you will push the blockage through.
How to Plunge a Toilet
Be quick and repetitive with your plunging motion and if you see the water start going down, that could spell SUCCESS in clearing the clog! Make sure that it does actually drain before you go ahead and flush. And here’s an important tip: Do NOT pour a chemical drain cleaner down your toilet. If you do that and then start plunging, it could splash up onto your skin and cause some serious chemical burns. Bad idea.
Keep your toilet clean by mixing 1 cup of baking soda with 15 drops of tea tree essential oil and 15 drops of lemon essential oil. Put that mixture in the bowl and let it sit for about 30 minutes before scrubbing with a brush bowl and then flushing. Isn’t that so much better (and cheaper?!) than harsh chemical toilet bowl cleaners? Love this idea.
How to Clean the Garbage Disposal
When my sister graduated high school, my family had a big party at our house and one of us in the kitchen (I honestly don’t remember who did this) put the ends of some celery we chopped down the garbage disposal. BAD IDEA. Celery is stringy and got all wrapped around the blades and created a total mess. So there’s one tip: no celery, and I mentioned above that you don’t want to put grease down your sink drains either.
Unclogging the Garbage Disposal
If your garbage disposal is clogged up, try this to clean it: Pour a half cup of baking soda into your disposal, followed by a cup of vinegar, adding it slowly to let the mixture fizz. Important note: If you have a double sink, make sure you plug the opposite side while you’re doing this.
While the mixture is fizzing, turn on the teapot, or just use a pasta pot and bring some water to a boil. Very carefully, pour the boiling water down the drain to rinse away the debris that all that fizzing loosened up.
Next, fill the drain with 2 cups of ice, and if you have it, add 1 cup of coarse rock or sea salt. Run the cold water and the disposal. Voila! That should clear the garbage disposal.
If your disposal doesn’t exactly smell fresh, bring out the essential oils. Add 10 drops of tea tree essential oil and lemon essential oil down the drain while the disposal is on. Repeat that weekly to keep odors at bay.
Still Need Plumbing Help? Call Mr. Rooter
There are some great tips here, and you know what I love? They’re easy, and they’re CHEAP. A box of baking soda is so inexpensive and it’s like the magic pill for plumbing issues. Add it, along with vinegar, to your shopping list for the holidays and you will be in good shape to handle the plumbing problems that come your way.
And if you meet a clog you can’t clear, Mr. Rooter Plumbing is available to rescue you. You can get more plumbing tips from them on their website, and if you need a plumber, go here to find your local Mr. Rooter, or just call the 24/7 emergency number in the upper right corner for immediate help. Sometimes you just need a pro to handle it!
Fingers crossed the only thing overflowing in your house this holiday season is joy!