You’ve probably heard plenty of advice when it comes to DIY-ing your own plumbing from well-meaning friends, neighbors, or others who like to diagnose their home’s plumbing problems. While some advice can be very handy and save you some money and headaches, other pieces of advice are based on common myths and can cause problems if you follow it. Here are five of the biggest plumbing myths and the “real deal” when it comes to your pipes.
1. Lemons will clean your garbage disposal.
You ever heard that putting lemon peels down your disposal will clean it? It’s not true. While lemons will likely make your disposal smell better, putting the peels into it can actually cause a clog and the acidity in them can erode the metal parts in your disposal. You’re better off dealing with smells by using a combination of ice cubes and salt which remove food particles and keep everything clean.
2. If water is going down a drain, it’s not clogged.
Though it’s always a good sign when water flows down your drains, that doesn’t mean there’s not a clog present. Slow-draining water can also be the sign of a clog and some clogs have no visible red flags at all because they occur further down in the pipe. To prevent clogs, use filters to catch large particles and remember to keep grease, eggshells, and thick or hard materials out of your disposal.
3. You can flush anything marked “flushable”.
You’ve probably seen wipes and other healthcare items marked “flushable”, but you still should be flushing them down your toilet. Depending on the shape of your sewer system, these can gather and cause large masses of non-biodegradable waste and cause major problems. Other flushing no-nos include cat litter, paper towels, and feminine hygiene products. Play it safe and don’t flush anything except human waste and small amounts of toilet paper.
4. Boiling water dissolves grease
Think you’re safe putting grease down your disposal as long as you pour boiling water in with it? Think again. Running water down your disposal does not help break up solid or bulky foods and boiling water may actually cause any grease to harden and cause even more problems. Avoid pouring grease down your disposal and don’t put waste like oatmeal, eggshells, or rice in there, either. If you do suspect some undesirable materials have gotten in there, you may want to call a plumber to professionally clean your pipes.
5. Plumbing fixtures can be cleaned with regular soap.
Plumbing fixtures need regular maintenance to prevent clogs and leaks and to enhance their appearance. However, traditional hand soap can damage some fixtures such as those made of brass or stainless steel. Brass fixtures can be cleaned with lemons and baking soda and there are plenty of stainless steel cleaning products on the market to tend to your new fridge or other fixtures. If you don’t know if a fixture can be cleaned with a certain product, test it on a spot that’s not visible.
There are plenty of myths out there when it comes to plumbing. Knowing what’s true and what’s myth can help you keep your pipes clean and your water running freely! If you think you have a clog or other problems with your plumbing, call ASAP for assistance.