We asked one of our trusted plumbing partners, DTS Plumbing, to give us some kitchen maintenance tips to help keep things running smoothly. A sustainable living space is one that lasts. It’s important to us to help you keep your space working as it should do, as well as looking good. Some of these tips you may know already, some of them may be a surprise!
DTS Plumbing and Heating Services LTD are a family-run business operating in and around Sheffield. We rely on their high quality work and the friendly and professional service they provide us and our clients with.
Now, over to the experts:
As an experienced domestic plumbing business, we have helped customers with a lot of different kitchen and bathroom issues over the years. Some of these problems could easily be avoided, by adopting a few good habits and routines to care for your sinks and pipes. We wanted to share a few to help keep things moving in your home:
Slow draining sink?
If you have a slow draining sink in your kitchen or bathroom, before rushing to call a plumber, use soda crystals to get things moving again. Soda crystals are biodegradable, and contain no enzymes, phosphates or bleach, so you don’t have to worry about harming the environment.
All you need to do is pour hot (not boiling) down the sink and let it drain away; follow with a mug of soda crystals then another mugful of hot, but not boiling water. Leave it to stand for five minutes, then rinse away with a kettle full of warm water. If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat the process until the drain flows freely.
To avoid the problem in the future and keep your sinks smelling fresh, add a mug of soda crystals and hot water down the drain once a week.
It is important to note that the use of soda crystals or liquid soda crystals should be avoided on aluminium or lacquered surfaces as it can cause discolouration.
Avoiding a blocked sink
Do you ever think about what should or shouldn’t go down your kitchen sink? To avoid blockages, DO NOT put these items down your sink:
- pasta and rice (they continue swelling)
- coffee grounds (a more eco approach would be to compost them)
- fat from food
- seeds, grains or pips from fruit (think compost or bird food!)
- oils and melted fat (once cool pour into an empty bottle/container and dispose of in your general waste bin)
- the cute little stickers on your fruit (they are microplastics and pollute the environment)
As a general rule of thumb, avoid putting anything down your sink that isn’t water. By all means pour liquid down, but if in doubt play it safe and bin it!
We’ve told you what shouldn’t go down your kitchen sink, but what about those annoying little bits that sneak in when you’re washing or straining your veg or rinsing dirty plates? Sink strainers are the answer! The good news is you can get them from most DIY stores for fairly cheap, saving you from blocked drains and smelly waste pipes.
Limescale building up?
Once limescale starts to set in on stainless steel and porcelain, it can be really difficult to remove. This may lead to irreparable damage so it’s always best to be kept on top of!
If you live in an area with hard water, you are much more likely to have problems with limescale than those in a soft water area. Hard water has a high mineral content and occurs when the source water runs through deposits of limestone or chalk, causing limescale which is a build up of calcium carbonate.
Limescale can occur anywhere where there is standing warm water; from kettles and pipes, to taps and showers, and can cause lasting damage to your fittings.
To combat limescale, white vinegar and lemon juice are your best friends. Both are acidic liquids so are able to break down the build up of limescale on your fittings. Use a mixture that is half water, half white vinegar on your sinks, bath and toilet regularly to stop limescale building up. If you have a larger limescale problem, try soaking the area in white vinegar or lemon juice. Always make sure to rinse thoroughly with plain water afterwards.
One handy tip for taps is to push half a fresh lemon onto the tap and leave it to work its magic for an hour or so. This should start to break down the limescale and leave your tap looking (and smelling) as good as new!
Beware though, white vinegar and lemon juice should be avoided on plated taps, particularly gold plated. The acid in these liquids can damage their finish.
Avoiding U-bend chaos
So your sink and fittings are gleaming and as good as new, but have you looked under your sink lately? Those curved pipes (drain traps) lurking in there do a great job of preventing smells coming into your house whilst allowing waste water to pass through. The traps connect to the pipes with adjustable joints, so that if a drain gets clogged, they are easy to remove. However, this does mean that if they get knocked regularly, they can come loose and lead to under sink leaks. This can be prevented by keeping the surrounding area clutter free so that household essentials don’t bump into the pipes.
Don’t pour boiling water down your sink! Most under sink pipes are plastic so this can cause damage to them. You should always run cold water at the same time whilst pouring boiling water down your sink. If you don’t you might be in danger of cracking your sink and not just damaging pipes – fragranite and ceramic sinks are particularly prone to this. Avoid bleach products on stainless steel as it eats away at the metal and can cause rust spots.
Keeping an eye on your gas hob
If you have a gas hob, do you know what colour flame shows that your gas cooker is healthy? The flame should be crisp and blue. If yours is burning a lazy yellow or orange flame, check there is no food or debris under the plates on each ring. If it’s clean and still not burning clean blue, then you need to get your cooker checked by a Gas Safe engineer.
We hope these kitchen maintenance tips will be helpful in keeping your kitchen and bathroom functioning well. By practising a few good daily habits, you can hopefully avoid larger problems down the line. For further kitchen and bathroom advice, visit our Advice Centre.