Do not damage your pipes with these products

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(Photo: Getty Images)

ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) — We don’t usually think much about the types of soaps or detergents we use and how they might affect our plumbing. Here is a list of items you might use as part of your daily or weekly routines and how they can damage your plumbing.

What do you use to shower and bathe with?

If the answer to this question includes anything that is not water soluble, your drain pipes may be clogged. Oils and soaps that harden or build up can cause major plumbing problems. Additionally, products such as scrubs that contain sugar, salt, or even essential oils can cause drainage issues. Anything else like glitter or cocoa butter that doesn’t naturally dissolve in water can also clog the pipes. Standard bar soaps can create higher levels of scum that build up, so consider switching to body wash instead. Also try to reduce the amount you use, as this can help prevent soap scum from forming as quickly.

Are you using cleaners that are safe for your drains?

Strong chemicals can erode pipes. Keeping a clean toilet can reduce the amount of hair and debris that can end up in your drain. However, two of the most harmful bathroom cleaners are actually drain cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners. Both of these products contain chemicals so strong that they corrode metal pipes, leading to major problems such as leaks. Instead, use more natural cleaning products. An effective and safe solution is to slowly pour hot, almost boiling water down the pipe. You can also add half a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar. The natural reaction between these ingredients can sometimes lead to a clogged drain.

What do you put in your trash can?

It’s been said that you use things like orange or lemon peels in your garbage disposal to get that “fresh, clean citrus” smell in your kitchen. However, citrus peels don’t break down fast enough and can cause a buildup in your elimination. Instead, try packing chunks of ice into your trash can until it’s filled to the top of the drain. Then turn on your water and turn on your grinder. Initially, you will find that the rising water is quite dirty; but as you continue to run the elimination, you will find that it begins to drain.

How careful are you with your rinsing habits?

Rule of thumb: if it’s not toilet paper, don’t rinse it. Experts say that even if products like cleaning or baby wipes, paper towels or feminine care products say they can be flushed down the toilet, it’s best to flush them instead. Other things to be wary of when rinsing: hair, dental floss, and cotton swabs. Even some types of toilet paper cause plumbing problems because thicker paper takes longer to break down. If your toilet seems to clog quite frequently, your best bet is to change your TP to a slimmer style – or install a bidet. Also, make sure everyone in the house follows the toilet flushing rules!

Do you have a drain cover?

Believe it or not, something as simple as a drain cover can mean the difference between a plumbing disaster and working pipes. You may not realize all the small objects that slip through the sewers unnoticed. Things like bobby pins, razor blades, and especially clumps of hair can cause big problems if they get stuck in pipes. Most bathroom and sink drain openings are large enough that items such as hair clips, jewelry, or other potentially clogging objects can fit easily through them. The easiest solution is to simply purchase drain covers. There are tons of different styles available to cover any size drain and also match your favorite style. Just be sure to clean them regularly so that your tub and sink drain normally.

The bucket list for your tub, sinks, toilets and garbage disposals:

Be nice to your pipes. Stick to water-soluble detergents and soaps. Try to use harsh chemicals sparingly and try cleaning your pipes monthly with baking soda and vinegar as a preventative.

  • coffee grounds
  • Butter, oil, lard, margarine (any fat or grease)
  • egg shells
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Vegetable peels
  • Medication
  • cotton balls
  • cat litter
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Plain flour
  • Dental floss
  • Condoms

Your pipes and your pockets will thank you if you know how to respect these few rules.

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