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Preventing blocked drains

Soda crystals being poured down a drain

Could you be inadvertently helping make a Fatberg?

A 130 tonne, 250m long fatberg has been blocking a London sewer. Fatbergs are caused by a combination of fats and debris that has made its way to the sewers, usually from peoples' homes.

The problem is caused because people are putting too much oil and sink down the drain as well as inappropriate items such as nappies and cleaning wipes. Problems are exacerbated in areas with old narrow sewers. 

 

Anyone that's had a drain blockage at home will testify to how troublesome they can be, so imagine trying to sort that monster!

So here are some tips to help prevent drain blockages in the home. Soda Crystals will help shift most fat-based obstructions in your drains, but we always advise that prevention is better than cure. The alternative can be costly if it results in a plumber call out. Given the recent concern over 'acid attacks', it may be that very caustic products like caustic soda could be banned or have sales restrictions.

Top tips for preventing drain blockages

  1. Only discard toilet paper down the toilet - never nappies, sanitary products, baby or cleaning wipes.
  2. Scrape all left over food off plates and put it in the bin
  3. Consider using traps/strainers, both in the kitchen sink but also in showers and baths if members of the household have long hair
  4. After using cooking oil, wait for it to solidify and then scrape it into a container or bin bag
  5. If the oil is vegetable based and doesn't solidify, sprinkle Soda Crystals in the pan/tray all over the oil. Within a minute you will be able to scrape away the crystals and absorbed oil into the bin
  6. Every week, put some Soda Crystals down the drains, both in the kitchen AND bathroom sinks as well as the shower and bath. You'll be surprised how much oil comes off the body and hair
  7. Don't neglect exterior drains. If you have exposed downpipes, make sure you use a grate and clear it of debris, such as fallen leaves - a particular problem in autumn.

How to use Soda Crystals down the drain

We are often asked the best method for 'treating' drains and how much to use. There is no hard and fast recipe because there are just too many variables. The principle though is simple. If fat or oil goes down the drain, it solidifies as it cools and sticks to drain walls. This fat can trap debris making the problem worse. Hot water melts fat, but Soda Crystals are a mild alkali and highly effective at dissolving oil and grease. You can make up a solution of Soda Crystals in very hot water and pour it down drains, but as with many cleaning tasks, the longer a product can dwell, the more effective it will be, so this is our standard weekly regime for a family:

  1. Pour a kettle full of boiling water down the drain, leaving about a mugful in the kettle
  2. Immediately pour a mugful of Soda Crystals down the drain, so that some remain just above the plug hole
  3. Pour the remaining water onto the crystals. Hopefully all the crystals will have soaked up water, but not fully drained away
  4. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes before running the hot water for a couple of minutes so that any dissolved grease is washed away to the main sewer. The small amounts of grease used in such a domestic setting will be more than comfortably handled by the sewer system. 

Soda Crystals are bio-degradable and even suitable for use with septic tank systems as they have no phosphates, enzymes or bleach to affect the natural micro-organism levels.

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