How to Clean Basement Drains

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A basement drain is one of those things you don't really think about until it isn't working. When you suddenly have an inch of dirty water in your basement floor isn't the best time to notice that the drain needs to be cleaned out. Basement drains should be checked and cleaned at least every 3 months to make sure that they will work when you need them.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Old toothbrush
  • Bucket
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda

Remove the drain cover. Most of the time this simply means removing the screws holding it down and lifting it out of the way.

Use your hands to remove any debris that you can reach inside the drain. There may be some buildup around the sides that you can scrub off with an old toothbrush. Place whatever you can remove into a garbage pail.

Pour a bucket of very hot water slowly down the drain. This will help loosen any sludge and dirt that has settled. Allow the water to drain completely out of sight, and leave the drain to sit for about 15 minutes.

Dump one box (16oz.) of baking soda into the drain. Sprinkle as your pour so that it hits the walls of the drain. Baking soda absorbs odors, but the main reason is because of the next step.

Add 3 cups of vinegar to make your own foaming drain cleaner. The vinegar and baking soda interact with a bubbling, fizzy eruption. Allow this mixture to sit for 10 minutes.

Pour 6 cups of hot water slowly into the drain, one cup at a time. This will rinse the walls of the drain and may even reactivate the baking soda and vinegar if there are some particles of baking soda that weren't exposed previously.

Wash and replace the drain cover, and you shouldn't have to worry about your basement drain again for another three months.

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