Showers, sinks and toilets aren’t the only appliances in your home that can get backed up – the traps of other household appliances such as the dishwasher, the washing machine and the garbage disposal can also get clogged. With so many drains and appliance traps, keeping all the water-utilizing appliances in your home running smoothly can be a challenge. Thus, it’s important to know how to clear a clogged trap, and to do what you can to prevent clogs from occurring in the first place.
With slow-draining systems, a commercial drain cleaner can help with both acute drainage problems and as maintenance to keep traps clog-free. If you have at least a little bit of water flowing through your system, using a drain cleaner in combination with a plunger can help clear away common drain-cloggers like hair, soap and grease. Once the drain is clear, make a habit of using the drain cleaner in all your household drains once a month. If your house is connected to a septic system, drains should be treated weekly with a septic system cleaner.
If drain cleaner doesn’t fix the problem, try removing and cleaning the appliance’s trap. You may be able to clean the trap of a dishwasher by removing the drain port cover and threading a slim rod down the drain pipe. For a washing machine, remove the hose (after making sure the hose is clear of any blockage), and run a snake through the pipe and the trap. Replace the appliance trap if it looks worn.
If the trap is clean and the appliance still isn’t draining properly, the pipes are probably blocked, and you may need to use a plumbing snake. If you’re not equipped to do this on your own, it’s time to hire a professional plumber.
Once your plumbing problem is fixed, make sure you maintain your appliances by using cleaners on a regular basis and replacing worn parts as needed. Avoid flushing grease, cigarette butts, garbage and other drain-clogging debris down your pipes – especially if your drainage system is connected to a septic tank or field.