The majority of plumbing problems in the bathroom stem from bad habits: carelessly flushing cotton balls, washing hair down the drain and reaching for the nearest bottle of drain cleaner at the first sign of trouble. These routines and others will take their toll on your plumbing eventually.
Here are common mistakes you need to quit making before it’s too late.
1. Using Bath Bombs
Fizzy bath bombs turn bath time into “me time,” allowing you to luxuriate in a bouquet of colors and aromas. While bath bombs can leave you feeling rejuvenated, their impact on your drain isn’t so pretty. While bath bombs’ ingredients — baking soda, citric acid and essential oils — are mostly harmless, these products don’t fully dissolve. Chunks will wash down your drain, contributing to the other gunk already down there.
Using bath bombs with every soak will cause a clog, so use them sparingly. Even then, it’d be wise to place the bombs in a mesh net to prevent solids from going down the drain.
2. Not Using a Drain Catcher
People with voluminous hair could shed between 150 and 200 strands in the shower. All those wet tangles will form a stubborn blockage. The solution: a shower drain catcher. It’s a simple mesh insert that traps solid matter as the water drains through it. Just remove the catcher, dump out the hair and rinse it off after each shower.
There are a variety of drain catchers on the market, from silicone plugs to more complicated strainers, but they’re all cheap and will help you save money on an expensive repair bill.
3. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners offer convenience but it comes with a cost. With frequent use, these products will erode the pipe’s interior, leading to costly leaks. Not only are they risky, but they might not even work. Those toxic and caustic chemicals are going to be completely useless against tree roots, a common clog culprit.
Opt for safe, natural alternatives to chemical drain cleaners instead. Mix your own solution with a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar. This will produce a fizzy reaction to break up mild clogs without damaging the pipe.
4. Using Drop-In Toilet Cleaners
We hate to break it to you, but you’ll have to manually scrub your toilet. That’s because toilet cleaners that you drop into the tank are highly corrosive. They’re commonly made of bleach, which will degrade the plastic and rubber mechanisms in the tank. Gaskets, washers and other parts are susceptible to corrosion. Another common problem with these products: chunks of the tablet can become lodged in the flush valve, blocking water flow.
If you insist on using an automatic toilet bowl cleaner, opt for gel cleaner that clips or clings to the side of the bowl where it freshens with each flush.
5. Hanging a Heavy Shower Caddy on the Showerhead
A shower caddy is a convenient way to store your body washes, shampoos, conditioners, facial scrubs, luffa, shaving creams and razors. Whew! That was a lot to list. All of those items are putting serious strain on your showerhead. The horizontal pipe arm between the showerhead and the wall can hold only so much. Will it snap right off? Probably not. Cracking the tile surrounding the pipe arm is more likely.
Opt for a freestanding caddy that you place in the corner of your shower stall instead.
6. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes
Don’t be deceived. Flushable wipes are far from flushable. These products don’t dissolve like toilet paper. Instead, they’ll get caught up in a bend in the drain, stopping up your plumbing. Other products that have no business being flushed include Q-tips, floss, cotton balls and tampons. Even paper towels are a no-no. If it’s not waste and good old-fashioned TP, don’t flush it.
Bottom line: Kick these bad habits to the curb to keep your bathroom’s plumbing running smoothly. If you run into any trouble, turn to the Katy drain cleaning specialists at Mercy Plumbing by calling (832) 876-9498.