Simple Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Drain Fresh and Clean

Food residue, grease and oils can slowly build up in your kitchen drain over time. Kitchen drains have a tendency to hold the smell of past meals and dirty dish water long after you are done cleaning up. Garbage disposals are a great way to clean up and cut down on trash, but they contribute even more to the build up of all sorts of residue that can make your drains smell rotten and in turn give your kitchen a rotten smell. Even if you do not have a garbage disposal and you are just using your sink to drain the dirty dishwater, it is still a good idea to clean out the drain to keep it and your kitchen smelling fresh. Additionally, if you do not clean out the food, grease and oil residue, your drains can clog up, causing even more of a headache than just a stinky kitchen.

You will need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Lemons or Lemon Juice, Orange Peels
  • Salt
  • Cream of Tartar (optional)
  • Boiling Water

To start out with a simple bit of advice, you can cut down on the amount of oil that you pour down the drain by omitting the oil from your pot of water to boil pasta. It does not really help keep the pasta from sticking together, but it does keep the sauce from sticking to your noodles. So cut out the oil and help keep your drain clear.

When I drain my pasta, I always pour the boiling water on the side with the garbage disposal. This will help to clean out the disposal and release any build up in it and the immediate drain.

It is a good idea to clean out the kitchen drain at least once a week. Our pipes are over 63 years old and much smaller than pipes in the houses built today, so I need to clean out my drain more than once a week to keep food build-up from clogging up my drains. I clean both the garbage disposal drain as well as the drain on the side I use to wash dishes. I also buy the large bag of baking soda available at the warehouse club that I belong to.

There are a few different mixtures you can use to cut the grease and food residue from becoming a problem in your drain. They use all natural ingredients and are a great way to Go Green and save money at the same time!

  • Pour 1 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of salt into your drain and follow them up with 1 cup of vinegar. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes and chase it all down with several cups of boiling water.
  • Pour ½ cup of baking soda, ½ cup of salt and 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar in the drain and chase it down with 1 cup of boiling water. After about 30 minutes, pour another several cups of boiling water down the drain.
  • A paste of baking soda, salt and water will also clean your sink beautifully! I scrub my sink with the paste and rinse it out with vinegar.

I like the smell of citrus in my kitchen, so I follow up both techniques with lemons. A half a lemon is usually enough, but if you want a stronger scent, or your lemon is small, go ahead and use the whole thing. I use a half a lemon, cut in half so I have 2 lemon quarters that I toss in the garbage disposal and turn on. When I don’t have real lemons, about a half a cup or so of lemon juice slowly poured into the garbage disposal while it is running, with no water, is another way to freshen up the disposal and the kitchen. I also like to save the orange peels for the disposal. I will wait until after the kitchen is clean, or the morning to grind them up in the disposal and it gives my kitchen a quick burst of citrus aroma. The citric acid also helps to clean the garbage disposal and drain.

These are both great techniques for keeping your kitchen drain clear, but if you find yourself with a clogged up drain, you can use either one of them to help unclog it. If your sink is draining very slowly, wait until the water has all gone down and then try either one of these mixes. If you can’t get the water to go down the drain at all, you will have to scoop out as much of the water as you can so that you can get the mixtures into the drain. Keep repeating your mixture of choice until the drain is clear. You may have to alternate plunging with pouring the mixture down the drain.

If you use either of these mixtures regularly, your kitchen drains will remain clean and fresh.

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