Effective Ways to Clear and Prevent Kitchen Clogs: Before you call a plumber and pay for a repair, try some of these easy hacks to clear out minor drain clogs. Once the drain is clear, use the rest of the ideas to keep things running smoothly going forward.
Clear clogged or slow-moving drains with a plunger. Fill the sink half full with warm water, and plunge the drain vigorously using a rubber plunger. Rinse the sink and drain clean with hot water.
Break up fat, oil, and grease buildup with dish detergent and hot water. Heat a large pot of water to a boil, then stir in a few tablespoons of natural dish detergent. Pour the near-boiling mixture down the drain, and rinse with hot water. Repeat these steps, as needed, to melt the clog.
Use soda to break down clogs without damaging pipes. The acids in regular soda (not diet) are corrosive in nature and can clear drains without damaging your pipes or your skin like standard chemical cleaners can. Pour room temperature soda down the drain, and let it sit for an hour or two. Rinse with hot water.
Never put fats like cooking oils and grease in the drain or garbage disposal. Allow fats to cool before throwing away in the garbage.
Wash away grease with salt water. Salt is abrasive and works as a natural scouring agent. Pour 1/2 cup of salt down the drain, followed by a pot of boiling water. Rinse with hot water, and repeat, if necessary. Do this once a month to keep drains clear.
Clear tough clogs with a clothes hanger. Unfold a wire hanger, and make it as straight as you can. Using pliers, bend the end of the wire to form a hook, then use the hook to fish out the clog, being careful not to push the clog down farther into the drain.
Remove hard clogs with a wet/dry vacuum. Some clogs will be too hard to break down with the methods listed previously. If you have a wet/dry vac, put the vacuum hose on the drain opening, creating the tightest seal possible. With the vacuum on the highest setting, try to suck the clog back up out of the drain.
Dispose of food waste in the garbage or compost bin, not in the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal can handle small amounts of food debris, but disposing large amounts of food may overload your drain and cause clogs that are difficult to remove. When you have a lot of food waste, such as after peeling potatoes or cutting onions, throw these scraps into the garbage or compost bin instead.
Keep drains running smoothly and smelling fresh with baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda into the drain, then rinse with hot water. Do this once per week, or as often as needed.
Use vinegar to remove dirt and grime from pipes. About once a week, pour 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain, and let it sit for 20–30 minutes. Rinse with hot water.
Deodorize your garbage disposal with leftover citrus peels. Simply run the water at about half speed, and throw in some orange or lemon peels. Turn on the disposal for about 10 seconds, then let the peels sit for 15–20 minutes to soften any buildup and get rid of smells in your disposal. Turn on the water, and drop in a few ice cubes to blast away dirt and debris. Finally, fill up the sink about halfway with water. Pull the stopper, and run the disposal to flush out the drain.
Scrub your garbage disposal with an old toothbrush. Food particles and other debris can get caught in the folds of the rubber splash guard in your garbage disposal, causing offensive odors that can permeate your kitchen. Lift the splash guard up out of the drain, and scrub with dish soap and a toothbrush to clean grease, food, and odorcausing bacteria. Make sure no one turns on the garbage disposal while you’re cleaning it!
Quickly clean your kitchen trash can with cleaning spray. If you have guests on their way and your trash can smells bad, spray the inside liberally with DIY kitchen spray or another all-purpose spray, and wipe clean with a cloth or paper towels. Spray and wipe the outside of the can, too, if necessary.
Prevent smells from forming in your trash can with baking soda and essential oils. Keep your trash can fresher longer with this homemade freshening powder. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda and 20 drops of your favorite essential oils (optional). Some classic options for the kitchen include lemon, orange, lavender, lemongrass, and eucalyptus. Combine well with a spoon, then sprinkle in the bottom of the trash can (under the trash bag).
Disinfect kitchen surfaces in seconds with hydrogen peroxide. Put a spray nozzle on a container of hydrogen peroxide or pour it into a dark glass spray bottle, and spray any wiped-down surface to kill any remaining germs. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then wipe dry with a clean cloth. Always store hydrogen peroxide in a dark container since light causes it to decompose much faster. (If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide, use vodka!)
Use a gentle cleanser on soft stone surfaces. Acids can harm soft stone materials like marble and granite countertops, giving them a dull appearance also known as etching. Avoid using white vinegar, lemon, or other acidic materials on or near these surfaces, and instead use this gentle DIY cleanser to clean and disinfect. Fill a spray bottle with warm water, and add 1 tablespoon of gentle, nonabrasive dish soap. Be sure the dish soap does not contain lemon or other acid ingredients. Shake gently to mix. Spray the counter with the solution, wipe with a wet dishcloth, and dry with a soft, absorbent towel.
Use baking soda to gently scrub scuffs and scratches from laminate countertops. Pots, pans, and other cookware can leave superficial marks on laminate counters that won’t wipe off even with spray cleaner. When this happens, scrub them away
with baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda on the mark, and use a wet rag to scrub the stain without scratching the surface.
Pick up dust and crumbs inside cabinets with your vacuum. Use your vacuum’s hose attachments to reach into all the corners inside your cabinets, then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Make your own all-natural DIY disinfecting wipes. Keep these wipes on your counter to quickly clean, disinfect, and degrease kitchen surfaces.
11/2 cups water
1/2 cup vodka
3 tablespoons liquid Castile soap or Sal Suds
30 drops lemon essential oil
30 drops tea tree oil
Washcloths or other soft fabric squares
1-quart glass Mason jar (widemouthed jars work best for easy access)
- Mix the ingredients in a Mason jar or other glass container with a lid. Screw the lid on tight, and shake well to combine.
- Add as many washcloths as you can fit into the container. You should be able to fit at least 6 regular-sized washcloths. Old cut-up towels and T-shirts also work well. Replace the lid, and shake again to wet the cloths.
- To use, remove a cloth, wring out the excess cleaning liquid back into the container, and wipe surfaces clean. When the washcloths get dirty, launder with other cleaning towels, and reuse.
Wash and dry walls from top to bottom to prevent streaks. To clean grease splatters and more from walls, spray liberally with an all-natural, all-purpose cleaner (do a spot test first to ensure paint color doesn’t fade). Quickly wipe walls horizontally from top to bottom with a damp microfiber cloth to eliminate streaks from the dripping cleaner, then follow up with a dry cloth to remove any remaining streaks and prevent water damage.
Make wood shine with coconut oil. Using a clean cloth or paper towels, apply a dab of coconut oil onto wood cabinets and tables to make them shine. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then buff with a clean, dry cloth. Bonus: the lauric acid content in coconut oil also kills germs.
Disinfect sponges to make them last longer. Fill a bowl with cold water, add 3 tablespoons of salt, and stir to dissolve. Add the sponge, and let it soak overnight. You can also microwave sponges for 2 minutes to kill germs. Just make sure the sponge is wet and does not contain steel or other metals. For an eco-friendlier option, buy sponges that are machine washable, and just pop them in the washing machine every week or two.
Use cabinet liners to protect cabinets and make them easier to clean. Line your cabinets with removable liners (not the adhesive kind), and you won’t have to deep clean your cupboards as often, if at all. Liners are so much easier to clean. Simply remove them, and wash in warm, soapy water. Allow them to dry completely before putting back in the cabinets.
Make laminate and ceramic floors sparkle and shine for just a few cents. Mop floors with a mixture of 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 gallon of water. Add 10–15 drops of essential oil for fragrance, if desired. For tough dirt and stains, pretreat with DIY kitchen spray before mopping as usual.
Clean scuff marks from vinyl floors with a tennis ball. Rub scuff marks with a clean tennis ball to remove them instantly.
Deep clean light fixtures in the dishwasher. Place glass light covers in the dishwasher to wash away grease and dust easily.
Scrub built-on gunk from cabinets with oil and baking soda. Form a paste with 1 part coconut oil and 2 parts baking soda to remove grease and grime from cabinets and make them shine in one step! Apply the paste with a sponge, cloth, or toothbrush. Scrub, then wipe clean with a damp microfiber cloth, followed by a clean, dry cloth.
Use bread to pick up glass shards. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have something to clean up broken glass, press a piece of bread on the broken glass. The bread will grab the glass and help protect your hands.
Avoid germs by letting sponges dry between uses. Wet sponges are a breeding ground for bacteria. Always wring them out after use, and store them at the back of your sink or in a sponge holder to dry.
Protect recipe cards with natural hair spray. Save money on recipe card holders by lightly spraying recipe cards with hair spray to set the ink and prevent food stains. Now you can gently wipe away food messes with ease.
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