Keeping Drains in Tip-Top Condition

Posted on December 18, 2019.

Tips for Unblocking Drains

Got a blocked drain?

Drains can become blocked in commercial kitchen and washroom facilities, and calling out professionals to unblock them is an expense which can be avoided.

In kitchen areas, it is grease, oil and fat which tend to cause blockages, even when poured down a drain as liquid. When they cool, they solidify and build up into what you may know as ‘fatbergs’. Fatbergs then build in size when other drain contents stick to them. 

In washroom areas, items such as baby wipes and sanitary products get flushed and these do not breakdown, therefore risking a blockage. 

Blockages can cause sewage and dirty water backing up into your property, with the resulting bad smells, flooding and generally unpleasant situation. 

The restaurant industry tends to bear the brunt of the blocked drain problem, so what can be done to prevent a blocked drain?


Prevention is better than cure

For commercial premises, waste cooking oil actually has to be removed by an authorised collector, and failure to comply can result in prosecution

But what about greasy plates and pans? 

This advice is useful for any individual or small business. You may not need to go as far as a food filter or grease trap but the first basic steps may be all that is required to keep the drains from blocking.

  1. Before washing plates and pans, scrape as much grease and residue off into a bin first and use a paper towel to wipe them too.
  2. Ensure you have a sink strainer to collect food residue which can then be placed into the bin after washing up.
  3. Consider a food filter. This is plumbed in below the sink, and collects residue that may have bypassed the sink strainer. 
  4. Think about installing a grease trap. This separates the oil, fat and grease from the water and diverts it into a tank which then needs emptying and the contents disposing of with an approved waste carrier.

How Can I Prevent Bathroom Blockages?

Simple steps can prevent a build up from washrooms. 

  1. Do not flush anything like nappies, wipes or sanitary products down the toilet, only toilet paper. Even paper hand towels should not be flushed. Here at Loorolls, we do now stock Papernet Dissolve tech flushable hand towels, which may alleviate the problem caused, particularly in establishments like schools and care homes. 
  2. To keep bathroom waste out of sight, use a lidded bin.
  3. Consider a plughole filter to trap things like hair and other proteins.
  4. Think about placing signs around the washrooms to remind staff and customers to use the waste bins provided.

DIY tips for unblocking drains

Despite taking all the measures above, you may still find from time to time that unpleasant odours build up, and waste water emptying slows down, highlighting the need to take steps to unblock a drain.

There are some natural and chemical ways to try and unblock a drain before needing to call in the experts. Always follow any health and safety advice such as wearing gloves or other personal protective equipment. Here are a few tips we found which may help:

  • Baking Soda and Vinegar – a really useful and safe home remedy which has multiple purposes. Equal parts baking soda and vinegar will fizz together and hopefully do the trick down the sink. Leave it for at least one hour or overnight, and flush through with hot water. You could do this on a regular basis i.e. once a month, to keep sink drains in good shape.
  • Use a Plunger – an age-old way to manually unblock drains, plungers can be effective if you’re willing to give it a try and be persistent. 
  • The drain snake – another manual tool that can be used to unblock a drain, it too is low tech and easy to use. Basically a metal wire with a spiral at the end, but you can get drain snakes of different shapes and sizes depending on which drain you want to unclog.
  • Clearing the sink trap – you can easily remove the trap under the sink and empty any contents which may be causing a blockage and unpleasant smells from here. Using gloves and ensuring an empty bucket is underneath, loosen the nuts at either end and rinse out afterward. 
  • Biological drain unblockers – may prevent the need for chemical cleaners, biological drain cleaners use enzymes to tackle blockages, and may help grease traps work better and reduce their emptying frequency. They may not be as potent as chemical unblockers however. 
  • Chemical drain unblockers – always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Chemical drain unblockers are readily available and can be bought in bulk sizes for commercial properties. They may be required if a natural remedy is not sufficient, or manual methods fail. 

So there we have it, our tips for preventing and unblocking drains, whether it be in the home or a commercial premises there are ideas and products for everyone to consider. 

Here at Loorolls, we pride ourselves to being a leading stockist of janitorial & cleaning products, feel free to browse our range of products online or call us on 0151 342 2111 to create a trade account and enjoy bulk discounts.

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