Social Distancing? Spending more time at home? Worrying about plumbing cleaning is probably the last thing on your mind right now. However, the more time you spend sheltering at home and using your plumbing more, the more critical it is to keep them maintained.
Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to help ensure your plumbing stays fully-operational right now. Instead of getting caught up in the latest troubling news stories- engage in these productive ways to take your mind off of things for a little while, tackling the below ideas can be good for your pipes and your mind. Each of these cleaning and maintenance projects is easy, quick, and doesn’t require very many tools:
Most drain clogs don’t occur all at once. Instead, gunk and grime builds up inside your drain pipes over time. Clearing out that gunk early will help you prevent most future clogs. We recommend periodically cleaning out your sink, shower, and tub drains even if they don’t seem clogged. And now’s the perfect time! All you need is some white vinegar, baking soda, and hot water.
The “trap” is the curved pipe beneath every sink that connects the drainpipe to the sewer pipe. Depending on the shape of their curves, traps are sometimes called “p-traps,” “s-traps,” or “u-traps.” The curve of a trap is meant to retain some of the water you flush down the drain. This water creates an air seal that prevents sewer gases from rising back up through the drain. Unfortunately, traps frequently retain the other stuff you inadvertently flush down the drain. Luckily, traps are easy to remove and clean. First, find the trap under your sink.
Is your shower head failing to perform as well as it once did? If so, then chances are good that it’s time to clean the showerhead, eliminating scaly buildup within the fixture in order to restore the strength of its flow. It’s easy to do, and you’ll be happy that you spent a small amount of time required to complete the task. It’s not just your imagination: your shower may not be working as well as it used to. Over time, scale build-up, minerals, and other gunk may clog up your showerhead’s nozzles. This happens more frequently when your home has hard water. Cleaning your showerhead is a quick and easy way to the most out of your showers again.
There are a couple of ways to approach this. First, try dipping an old toothbrush in a cleaning solution and scrubbing the nozzles. If that doesn’t work, try throwing ½ cup of white vinegar, ½ cup of baking soda, and 1 cup of hot water (remember this?) into a plastic bag. Tie the bag around the showerhead so the nozzles are submerged. Be careful if your shower has a finish on it however as it may take it off. Finally, try taking apart the showerhead following the manufacturer’s directions. Find the filter inside the showerhead and clean it out in the sink. Scrub out the nozzles from the inside while you’re at it.
Molds Have existed for millions of years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – but that fact doesn’t make mold safe to have around. A good rule of thumb is if you see or smell mold, remove it. Mold spores are everywhere, which means mold can spread in any environment conducive to its growth. Mold grows in dark, humid environments, which means it can be a real problem in bathrooms–particularly in showers.
Before you get started, ventilate your bathroom properly. Open the door and window if possible, and turn the overhead fan on. Fortunately, there are several cleaning agents that work to remove mold from the grout between tiles. When cleaning the grout between tiles, first check to make sure the cleaning agent you use won’t cause any damage to that specific kind of tile. Some tiles should not come into contact with bleach or abrasive agents like baking soda. Wear non-porous gloves to protect your skin, and don’t forget safety glasses to protect your eyes from splash-back while cleaning.
Regular chlorine bleach works well to remove mold from white grout. Avoid bleach if you have colored grout, since it can cause fading, and never mix bleach with other cleaners. Wear a mask along with your other protective gear to keep from inhaling the bleach. Work in small sections and scrub the bleach directly onto the moldy grout using a stiff bristle toothbrush. Let the bleach sit for at least 30 minutes (keep the exhaust fan running), then rinse with warm water. Repeat as needed.
Put a cleaning solution such as white vinegar (again!) into a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly into the spaces you want to clean. Scrub the mold out using a coarse scrub brush. An old toothbrush may work well to reach between tiles. If you have caulk, you could replace any worn-out grout after cleaning.
Or you may want to try Baking soda as it is a stellar lifting agent. To make a paste that you can spread over mold to lift it, stir together 1/2 cup of baking soda and several teaspoons of water. Adjust the combination until you have an easily spreadable consistency. Apply the baking soda paste directly over the moldy grout, let sit for 10 minutes, then scrub the mold away with a bristle brush. Rinse with water, and repeat as needed.
Tip: If there’s mold on the caulk that seals around your tub, faucet, sink, or toilet, the safest thing to do is remove the caulking. Sterilize the area with bleach or distilled white vinegar and dry it thoroughly before replacing the caulk. Opt for a mildew-resistant caulk to inhibit the growth of future mold.
If you have the time and energy for it, committing to a little plumbing cleaning is never a waste. Preventative Cleaning, while you have the extra time, will make the time pass and you smile at the results. Social distancing is the perfect time to get a headstart on all annual cleaning, and plumbing cleaning is no exception!
Remember, However, in the event that you don’t have the time or energy to do any plumbing maintenance, Auger Pros Plumbing is here to help. We are open for business and ready to help with any plumbing problem, no matter how small. Whether you need your plumbing repaired or replaced, Give us a call! And Stay Healthy!