Add drain clearing to the list of “real world” problems I could have gone without adding to my skills list. But in the true spirit of the blog, there’s no more yelling for Daddy to come fix things I don’t want to have to deal with.
“Snaking” the Bathtub Drain
Let me begin this post with a plea to all renters out there. Before you move out, please please please, snake the bathtub drain. I know it’s gross, but nothing is more gross than someone else cleaning YOUR hair from their drain a year later.
This weekend, I went to take a shower, turned on the water and within a minute had an inch of standing water in the bottom of the tub. Fail. I turned the water off and let it slowly drain out and then sat down in the tub twisting, pushing, pulling, and frantically jerking at the bathtub stopper for a good 5 minutes before deciding that this was a job for YouTube. So please. Let me enlighten you on how to remove a push-down drain stopper because I was clueless. I wouldn’t want this lack of know-how to be your excuse for not taking care of a problem.
Step 1: Push down the stopper to close it. This is necessary for Step 3, so don’t ignore this seemingly unimportant step like I did the first time.
Step 2: Twist off the little stopper nob in a counter-clockwise direction and set aside.
Step 3: You should have exposed a kind of brassy-ish fixture coming out of the stopper (if you forgot step one, that inner piece would be down inside the drain still). Twist that also in a counter-clockwise direction. If you’re like me, the person before you screwed it on so tightly that this step will require you to insert a flat-head screwdriver and put some muscle into it. This will remove the entire stopper – yay!
Now the gross part… SNAKE THE DRAIN. This term usually involves a rather scary slinky-like tool that you feed down the drain and then crank back up along with the God-knows-how-long accumulation of gunk and hair from your drain. I did not have one of these handy tools, so I used a wooden skewer and kind of plucked at the clog pulling it out pieces at a time until I finally managed to get ahold of something connected to the main clog and pulled the whole thing out in one go. Phew. This step involves much gagging. Sorry. That’s life. Wooden skewers may break easy using them this way, but one of the things I love about using them is that I can throw them away after. With a drain snake, you’ve got to clean it after and something about that just makes this whole ordeal much more unbearable.
Anywho, once you’ve cleared the clog (run a little water down the drain just to make sure), screw the stopper back down into place and twist the little nob back on and you’re good to go. Now would be a good time to pour a little Drano (did you know it’s NOT spelled Draino??) down there for good measure, but once again, I didn’t have any. I’m severely lacking in my household emergency preparedness… I don’t even own a plunger.
Cleaning the Kitchen Disposal
Does you’re kitchen disposal sound like it’s been nomming on some silverware recently? Because mine was starting to the other day. Sometimes things fall in our sink drain when we’re not even looking. Things I’ve plucked out of my disposal in the past couple of months: measuring spoons, plastic reusable ice cubes, and a glowstick connector. Yes… even things that shouldn’t be in the kitchen in the first place. I wish I could explain that one. I sound like such a crazy clubber having to admit to that one.
Easiest way to fix this problem is to first CUT POWER (I never do, but if someone loses a few fingers because they didn’t, I don’t want it to be because I didn’t tell you so) and then using a flashlight or your iPhone as a guide, dig around in there with a set of barbeque tongs. NEVER stick your hand down there. Even if you think it was be so much easier. It’s not worth it. Tongs work just as well I assure you.
Sometimes you think that even a little plastic piece would get ground up, but nope, even that can break your disposal, so take the 2 seconds to pull something out rather than just keep hoping eventually whatever is down there will get broken up. Even if it’s a popcorn kernel. Disposals aren’t cheap, but they can last a long time if you take care of them properly.
Which brings me to my next point – things you probably never knew you should never put down the disposal:
- dry rice or pasta
- egg shells
- stringy vegetables or tough peels (e.g. lettuce, celery, potato skin, asparagus)
There are several misconceptions about what you can put down the drain, so always err on the side of caution. It’ll save you a chunk of change having to replace one.