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Updated 20 March 2020

Bathroom drainpipes - problems & solutions

Bathroom drainpipes are easily clogged by hair, soap particles and toothpaste, making the already dark, hot and moist circumstances in drains fertile breeding ground for germs.

Bathroom drainpipes - a germ risk

This is not a section of the house that anyone pays much attention to - until it gets clogged, that is. A blocked drain quickly makes a house uninhabitable. Bathroom drainpipes are easily clogged by hair, soap particles and toothpaste, making the already dark, hot and moist circumstances in drains fertile breeding ground for germs. Germs that may lurk on the bodies of shower and basin users may get trapped in the clogged drainpipes and wash up to the surface when others use the shower/basin. The papilloma virus, which may cause Plantar's warts, can be spread in this way. 

The drainpipe is also a favourite abode of pests, especially cockroaches. These can spread diseases such as salmonella, shigellosis, gastroenteritis and hepatitis A.

How to clean bathroom drainpipes 

Many people are tempted to go down the chemical drain cleaner route when bathroom drainpipes get clogged. But think twice before you do this – you may ruin your plastic drainage system, if you have one. Rather pour ½ a cup of baking soda and ½ a cup of white vinegar down the drainpipe, followed by 2 litres of boiling water. This should be repeated fortnightly to keep drainpipes clean. 

Keep your drainpipes unclogged. The best way to do this is to immediately remove excess hair and particles when it builds up at the drain plug. It may also be a good idea to pour a ¼ of a cup of salt, followed by boiling water, down the drain every week to keep it unclogged.

Clogged drains can be opened by means of liquid drain openers containing sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide. If your drain is seriously clogged, get professionals to help.

Handy hint:
Buy one of those small perforated plastic covers that fit into the plughole. This will stop hair and other debris from getting into the drain and clogging it up.

 
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