Good Drain Cleaners

I have a couple of drain applications where I'd like to find some ongoing maintenance treatments for so thought I'd post here to see if anyone knew of any good solutions.
Application one - I have 2 bathrooms in my home with back to back sinks where the drains come together and then 90 degree down towards the sewer. This 90* turn has troubled me on more than one occasion so I'd LOVE to find the magic "place coffee grounds down that drain once a month for a lifetime of happiness" solution. :-)
Application two - I have a washing machine drain on the other end of the house (50yo house) that 'seems' to tend to close up due to the soap build up where I'm either putting acid in the drain for the trap or running an auger through there every couple of months in a home of 6. Again, the miracle cure that has worked for others wear drain buildup is concern would be greatly appreciated.
So... Does anyone know of any more environmentally/user friendly solutions for keeping drains clear? I 'hate' using commercial drain cleaners and drains can be such a hassle for homeowners at times as anyone who's had the pleasure of working on them knows... TIA
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cover wrote: ...

My best solutions so far... Hair traps on the bathroom sinks and shower/bath drains. Lint trap on the clothes washer drain. Never putting grease down the kitchen sink. Never flushing anything but toilet paper and whatever comes out of your body naturally. Don't plant trees within a couple of feet of the sewer line. Have your plumbing inspected by a professional when really bad things happen or every 50 years, whichever comes first.
Anthony
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Anthony Matonak wrote:

Good list. There is nothing magic that is good for the drains and works. If you have an ongoing problem, I suggest that it be addressed by a plumber who can advise you of how to really fix it, not trying to use magic cures. If you have continued problems, then you have a plumbing problem, not a monthly maintenance problem.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Don't plant trees within a couple of feet of the sewer line? Have you never seen the roots of a ficus or any other big tree? It is not uncommon for a ficus to send roots out two _hundred_ feet in all directions. Tree roots will find any cracked joint in a sewer line and invade or crack it open, and once an area is fertilized and waterd from a pipe crack, it can be a problem from then on unless the entire area is excavated.
Your other suggestions are right on target. Additionally, if you have problem plumbing, do not use a garbage disposal.
There could be some design problems with the OP bathroom setup. There are rarely 90 degree turns in waste lines. The sink lines should (separately) enter the vertical line so that the line drains completely except for the J trap. No sewer line should ever be flat unless it is pressurized, and major turns limited to the main 4" or larger line.
Each situation is different, but one simple method of limiting drain problems is completely filling all sinks with _hot_ water, allowing them to drain quickly, then filling them a second time and draining them five minutes later. Any grease gets loosened and liquified by the heat of the first flush, and the second flush can then usually remove normal buildup. Most drains, with the exception of the shower/tub, are never heated enough to liquify the grease that has solidified in the pipes. In good designs, the showers and tubs are at the ends of the waste lines to help with that job.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Would that it were so. The kitchen and bathroom sinks connect to a T at what would be a right angle if things were done properly, but everything is just a bit off. Makes it a real bitch to try to snake the sink line because the snake is as likely to go up the standpipe as down the waste pipe.
That's been fixed, though -- clogs over the years have caused the standpipe to rust away, enabling a clear downward shot for the snake if we shove it in through the rust hole.
I want just five minutes alone with the asshole who plumbed our house...
--
Cheers, Bev
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I assume you're using powdered laundry detergent. Stop doing that. Or, if you can't stop for some silly reason, try a suggestion someone else posted here once: A gallon of ammonia poured into the drain, followed a while later by flushing with the hottest water you can get from the tap.
For the bathroom, good luck. I have the same problem. Perhaps someone needs to stop washing hair down the drain. I minimized the problem by putting a better screen in my tub drain, but that would be cumbersome in sinks.
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cover wrote:

For kitchen and bathroom drains (i.e. short runs to the trap), these really work. I haven't had to use chemical drain cleaners since I bought a couple packages of these a few years ago, and they're cheap, too - $1.79/package of two at Menards:
http://www.zipitclean.com /
"The patented Zip-It is a long, thin strip of very durable, highly flexible plastic with barbs on either edge. When pushed down a clogged drain and pulled back out, the Zip-It pulls the clog out with it."
HellT
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Hell Toupee wrote:

Doesn't look long enough to get past the trap. Did you see the prize-winning clog page? I swear I saw those things on the colon-cleaning website, the one that warns you about the pounds of impacted fecal matter in the average colon...
http://www.zipitclean.com/greatest_clog.htm
--
Cheers, Bev
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Tried those. Truly disgusting when you pull them out. I suppose at 90c. you could just toss it, but I paid $3 for mine.
Cheers -- Pete Tillman
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A little chemical knowledge. Animal products (hair) are best dissolved by bases, so use a lye containing product. Plant material (cotton lint for example) are best dissolved by acids.

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Someone suggested using bleach once. I've tried that a few times and found it to be effective on a sink drain and a tub drain. I run hot water last thing at night, then put some bleach into the drain and let it sit until the next day. It seems to help. --Phil

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

I pour a pot of boiling water down each drain every week.
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I pour a couple of cups of bleach in my drains every few months and let that sit overnight. This has always helped my bathroom drains. I read that bleach doesn't necessarity dissolve the hair but it dissolves the gook that keeps the hair clumped up.
I always notice that the day after I do my bleach treatment the drains flow like the bleach just tore a new hole in my plumbing. Does anyone know if bleach is harmful to drain piping?
Ricky

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Wont do it any harm.

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I have been using the bleach treatment on my drains for years. The only damage is that it gradually wore off the shiny chrome surface of the bathtub drain, and left the dull brass underneath. No big deal to me. On the sink drains I wipe off the chrome darin ring afterr pouring the bleach downt he drain, and careful not to splash! (as withness the shite spots on a blue shirt :)
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Something else would have done that, not the bleach, or the drain was very badly chromed. You dont get that effect with kitchen sinks when you use bleach, or with laundry tubs either.
Bleach wont dissolve chrome.

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Baking soda and vinegar http://www.uexpress.com/mrhandyperson/?uc_full_date 040725
--

Charles
The significant problems we face cannot be solved
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I have a bathroom shower drain that was running "slow".
No help from a plunger, Couldn't "snake it". Regular liquid DRANO would just run past.
Then I bought the "foaming DRANO". ( two chemicals that foam when combined ) I dumped it down the drain, plugged the opening so the foam wouldn't come out, and let it sit a couple of hours. Dumped a bucket of boiling water down the drain to flush it,
End of blockage !
Not a do-all solution, but great for a "slow drain" where regular liquid cleanerr doesn't work. <rj>
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