There's no shortage of ways for a drain to become blocked, but most blocked drains originate from either the bathroom or the kitchen. With the bathroom, it's because of all the hair and soap that gets washed down shower, bath and sink plugholes. In the kitchen, it's various types of food that are to blame.
By far the worst kitchen offender for blocking drains is grease and fat. It might go into the sink as a liquid, but it soon congeals and becomes sticky and solid in the pipe, where other food gets caught up in it. To keep your kitchen sink flowing freely, follow these suggestions for safely dealing with fat.
Recognise all the sources of grease
If you've been deep-frying food in your kitchen, it's pretty obvious that there's going to be a lot of cooking oil left over, so you don't want to be pouring it down the sink.
It's not always so obvious, however, which is how people manage to end up with fat-clogged drains. Even small amounts can easily build up, so be careful when you're rinsing plates and pans that have had meat and other greasy foods on them. Try to pay attention when you're putting dishes in the sink for washing, and safely tip away as much oil as possible first.
Use a large bottle with a funnel
There are numerous ways to get rid of grease without pouring it down the sink, but one of the easiest is to save plastic bottles and get yourself a funnel. When you have oil to dispose of, pour it into the bottle and seal it. It can just be put into the normal bin when it's full.
If you do this, make sure you let the oil cool fully first, or you can melt the plastic and cause an unpleasant, possibly dangerous mess.
Deal with any accidents quickly
There are times when you might slip up and accidentally pour some oil in the sink, but you can limit the chance of it building up if you act fast.
When it happens, just pour a good amount of boiling water down the plughole as soon as you can. It will keep the oil in a liquid form and help wash it down properly.
Get a grease trap for your sink
If you find yourself repeatedly using the sink for oil and fat, it's worth getting a grease trap for your sink. It will filter out any fatty substances and help keep the pipes clear.
However, grease traps do need regular maintenance and they can be expensive, so it's usually best to just get into good habits if you can.