Drain Care Calendar: How Often Should Drains Be Cleaned?

10 July 2024


Proper maintenance of your home’s drainage system is crucial for preventing clogs, backups, and costly repairs. Drains play a vital role in the efficient removal of wastewater from your home, whether it’s from sinks, showers, toilets, or appliances like washing machines and dishwashers.

Neglecting drain cleaning can lead to slow drainage, foul odors, and even major plumbing issues. In this comprehensive guide, we explain the importance of regular drain cleaning, the various methods and tools available, and how often drains should be cleaned to keep your plumbing system in top condition.

How Often Should Drains Be Cleaned?

The frequency of drain cleaning depends on several factors, including the usage patterns of your drains, the presence of any underlying plumbing issues, and the effectiveness of preventative measures. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Regular Maintenance: It’s recommended to clean drains on a regular basis as part of routine home maintenance. For most households, this may involve cleaning drains every week or every few months to prevent buildup from accumulating.
  • Monthly Basis: For households with heavy usage or prone to frequent clogs, such as those with large families or pet owners, cleaning drains on a monthly basis may be necessary to maintain optimal drainage.
  • Annual Maintenance: Even if you haven’t experienced any issues with your drains, scheduling an annual professional drain cleaning service can help prevent major clogs and prolong the lifespan of your plumbing system.
  • As Needed: If you notice signs of a clog or poor drainage, such as water backing up in sinks or toilets, foul odors emanating from drains, or gurgling noises coming from pipes, it’s important to address the issue promptly with drain cleaning.
  • Preventative Measures: Implementing preventative measures, such as using drain catchers to trap hair and food particles, avoiding pouring grease down the drain, and periodically flushing drains with boiling water or baking soda and vinegar, can help reduce the frequency of cleanings.

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Cleaning Frequency According to the Type of Drain

Cleaning frequency can vary greatly depending on the type of drain and its usage. Here’s a guideline on how often you should clean different types of drains to maintain optimal functionality and prevent clogs:

  • Kitchen Drains: Due to the accumulation of grease, food particles, and soap residue, kitchen sink drains should be cleaned at least once a month. Regular use of a natural drain cleaner or hot water can help maintain clear pipes.
  • Bathroom and Shower Drains: These drains gather hair, soap scum, and toothpaste residue. They should be cleaned every one to two months. A good practice is to use a drain cover to catch hair and reduce the amount of debris entering the pipes.
  • Bathtubs: Similar to bathroom sinks, bathtubs should be cleaned every one to two months, or more frequently if they are used heavily. Regular cleaning and flushing with boiling water can help dissolve any potential blockages.
  • Toilets: While toilets generally require less frequent deep cleaning of the internal pipes due to the nature of their use, it’s advisable to use a mild cleaner regularly, about once every two months, to prevent mineral build-up and maintain hygiene.
  • Floor Drains (in basements, garages, etc.): These drains are prone to collecting dust, debris, and in some cases, oil. Cleaning them every three to six months is advisable to prevent major clogs and sewage backup.
  • Outdoor Drains: Exposed to environmental elements and possibly garden debris, outdoor drains should be checked and cleaned at least twice a year, typically before and after heavy rainfall seasons to prevent blockages that can lead to water damage.

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your drains remain clean, functional, and free from odors. Regular maintenance also prevents the need for costly repairs due to severe clogs or damaged pipes.

5 Signs Your Drains Need To Be Cleaned

Recognizing the signs that your drains need cleaning is crucial for maintaining the functionality of your plumbing system and preventing potentially costly issues. Here are several indicators that it’s time to clean your drains:

  • Slow Drainage: One of the most common signs that your drains need cleaning is slow drainage. If you notice that water is taking longer than usual to drain from sinks, showers, or tubs, it could indicate a buildup of debris or a partial blockage in the pipes.
  • Foul Odors: Unpleasant odors emanating from drains are often a sign of accumulated debris, grease, or food particles that have begun to decompose in the pipes. These odors may become more noticeable when running water or after periods of inactivity.
  • Gurgling Noises: Gurgling or bubbling noises coming from drains when water is draining can indicate that air is trapped in the pipes due to a blockage. This may occur when water is unable to flow freely through the pipes, causing air pockets to form and escape through the drain.
  • Water Backing Up: If water backs up into sinks, showers, or toilets when using other fixtures in the house, it suggests a blockage further down the drainage system. This backup occurs because water is unable to pass through the clogged pipe and instead flows back into the nearest drain.
  • Multiple Clogged Fixtures: If multiple fixtures in your home are experiencing drainage problems simultaneously, such as both the kitchen sink and bathroom drain, it could indicate a more serious issue with the main sewer line. In such cases, professional intervention may be necessary to address the problem effectively.

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DIY Methods For Cleaning Drains

If, after an initial inspection you think you only have a minor drain issue that doesn’t require a plumbing company, you may be able to clean your drains on your own. If the following methods don’t work, calling a licensed plumber should be your next course of action.

Boiling Water

Boiling water is a straightforward and environmentally friendly method for clearing minor drain clogs. By pouring boiling water down the drain, you harness the power of heat to dissolve and dislodge accumulated grease, soap scum, and other debris. This method is particularly effective for kitchen sinks where grease buildup is common.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

A mixture of baking soda and a cup of vinegar offers a natural and chemical-free approach to drain cleaning. When combined, these two ingredients create a foaming reaction that helps to break down and dislodge debris from the walls of the pipes. Baking soda acts as a mild abrasive, while vinegar provides acidic properties that aid in dissolving organic matter and neutralizing odors.


Plunging is a tried-and-true method for clearing minor drain clogs and blockages. Using a plunger creates a seal around the drain opening, allowing you to generate enough pressure to dislodge the obstruction and restore proper flow. There are different types of plungers available, including cup plungers and flange plungers, each designed for specific drain types and shapes.

Professional Services For Cleaning Drains

Whether you’ve got clogged drains in your bathroom sink or blocked drain lines are stopping your entire water supply, plumbing professionals offer comprehensive solutions for your drain maintenance issues.

Hydro Jetting

Hydro Jetting is a powerful and efficient method for clearing stubborn clogs and buildup from drain pipes. This technique utilizes high-pressure water jets to blast away debris, grease, tree roots, and mineral deposits from the inside of the pipes. Hydro Jetting is highly effective for restoring the full diameter of the pipe and improving water flow.

Drain Snaking

Drain snaking, also known as drain augering, is a method of drain cleaning that involves using a flexible tool called a drain snake to physically break apart and remove blockages from drains. The drain snake is inserted into the drain and manipulated to catch and pull out debris, including hair, grease, and food particles.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners are a potent solution for dissolving stubborn clogs and buildup in drain pipes. These professional-grade cleaners contain powerful ingredients that break down organic matter, grease, soap scum, and other debris. However, chemical drain cleaners should be used with caution due to their harsh nature and potential to damage pipes and fixtures. Only professional plumbers can use these intense cleaners.

Professional Drain Cleaning Services in Montreal

At Plomberie Pro Drain, we offer comprehensive drain cleaning services tailored to meet the specific needs of residents throughout Montreal. Our skilled technicians utilize state-of-the-art equipment, including hydro jetting and drain snaking, to effectively clear stubborn clogs and buildup from your pipes. Trust Plomberie Pro Drain for prompt, reliable, and affordable solutions to all your drain cleaning needs!

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