6 Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your Home's Plumbing

When it comes to spring cleaning, don’t leave pipes and drains off your list. Clean drains are the best way to keep clogs, odors, and other unpleasant plumbing problems at bay. If your drains and plumbing start making strange noises, or smelling bad, it’s time to clean them out. Here are six ways you can make sure your garbage disposals, sink drains, and pipes get a thorough seasonal clean.

1. Use drain-cleaning tools to clean sink drains easily

You’d be surprised at the amount of debris lurking just below the surface of your sinks’ drains. Common culprits include soap scum, hair, food and other organic matter, causing everything from total blockages to slow drainages and unpleasant odors. Fortunately, there are tools to clean sink drains with ease, and you can find them at any hardware store. These thin tools reach down the drain and catch onto any debris. Or, you can fashion your own tool by unfolding a wire hanger and turning it into a hook for a DIY solution.

  • Drain snakes
  • Plumbing snakes
  • Zip-it tools

You can stay ahead of any slow-forming blockages by using a drain-cleaning tool frequently. This could be monthly, or weekly if you find that your drains become slow or clogged often.

2. Use safe drain cleaners and not harsh chemicals

Remember to use safe drain cleaners and not harsh chemicals. Liquid drain cleaner can eat away at your pipes, along with whatever is clogging them, causing bigger problems down the road. Instead of picking up a harsh liquid drain cleaner, choose an enzyme-based cleaner, which uses good bacteria cultures and concentrated enzymes to naturally eat away at organic matter. While enzyme-based cleaners often need to sit overnight to work, they’re much safer than conventional drain cleaners on your plumbing system.

3. Know what to keep out of your drain

Reduce your chance of encountering a problem like a clog or a slow drain by knowing what to keep out of your drain. Though commonly thought to be safe, it’s best to keep these items and substances out of  your drains:

  • Fats
  • Grease
  • Oil
  • Flour
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Nail polish remover
  • Paint or paint thinner

Avoid drain cloggers like fats and grease that solidify at room temperature, causing your drains to slow down or potentially clog, as they harden and collect in your pipes. Other items, like oils, coat drains and build up over time, which can result in drains  flowing slower and slower as more oil accumulates. Paint products and nail polish remover damage pipes with their chemical properties, while flour and coffee grounds expand and can form a sludgy, messy blockage in your drain system.

4. Clean your garbage disposal

With the amount of food waste that works its way through a garbage disposal, it’s no surprise that some less-than-pleasant odors can creep up from time to time. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep your garbage disposal from stinking up your kitchen and dining area.

Clean out built-up food waste

Remove any built-up debris from the blades by running cold water down the drain. Then, dump one to two cups of ice cubes down and turn on the disposal. The ice cubes’ friction will release buildup from the blades and help breakup debris. And the ice cubes will also sharpen the blades to keep them in good condition.

Clean the underside of your disposal’s splash guard

That black rubber piece you see when looking directly down your drain is prone to accumulating stinky food waste. To clean it, use a clean cloth or an old toothbrush. Turn the splash guard inside out and scrub away whatever grime you see, then rinse it with hot water.

Remove odors naturally

You can also deodorize your garbage disposal with items you probably already have around the house, like citrus or baking soda and vinegar.


To counter foul smells and neutralize bad odors, take some fresh lemon, lime, or orange peels and toss them down the disposal when it’s on. You should immediately notice a pleasant citrus smell left behind.

Baking soda and vinegar

The fizzy chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar can kill odor-causing bacteria and dissolve tough stuck-on food scraps. Pour ¼ cup of baking soda down the disposal and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, follow up with one cup of vinegar. Cover the sink opening so the bubbles don’t escape. After the mixture fizzles for a few minutes, turn on the water and run the disposal to clear out any leftover food waste. This will help clean the walls of the pipes  and can help prevent problems from occurring later on.

5. Flush your lines with water

If you aren’t dealing with a clog, you can clean your plumbing lines by flushing them with water. Start by putting a bit of enzyme-based drain cleaner into the water before turning on the tap or flushing the toilet. But, if you have a clog, this is not recommended. The more water you put in the line, the more it will backup. If you have any clogs, they will need to be taken care of before you flush your lines.

6. Look for professional drain cleaning options

Some clogs aren’t easy to clear, and others can be signs of severe damage to your sewer line. Having a professional inspect your sewer line can save you a lot of stress. There are a variety of professional drain cleaning options available from Chas Roberts, so you can choose a method that fits your needs.


Bio-clean is a safe, natural, and easy way to keep your drains clean. Using the power of bacteria and enzymes, bio-clean breaks down waste and organic matter in your plumbing system.

Video drain inspection

Take the guesswork, and dirty work, out of finding plumbing problems. A video drain inspection can help identify blockages, clogs, and other problems that keep your drains from being clean and running efficiently.

Hydro Jetting

Like it sounds, hydro jetting utilizes a high-pressure powerful water stream to remove buildup and clogs inside pipes. Through flushing out pipes, hydro jetting also effectively removes any limescale, grease, or other debris that have built up in your pipes’ walls over time and gets everything flowing correctly.

When home remedies don’t get the job done, it’s time to call in Chas Roberts

While a plumbing spring cleaning can reduce the chances of clogs and damage to your pipes, even the best cleaning efforts may not keep all potential problems at bay. When plumbing issues pop up, contact the pros at Chas Roberts. With more than 75 years of experience, our expert plumbers offer a variety of drain-cleaning solutions. Contact us to learn more.