How to Clean a Drain


Drains and their contents tend to be out-of-sight and out-of-mind, at least until they get on the nose. What many people don’t realise though, is that once you notice the smell, you already have a problem.

Bad odours in drains are generally caused by grease, oil, dirt and organic waste building up. This build-up can quickly lead to blockages.

On top of this, Australia has strict laws about wastewater and can impose hefty fines. That means you need to be thinking about drains long before you notice them. Getting down and dirty with your wastewater now could save you a lot in the long run.

To make sure your drains aren’t about to cost you a lot of time and money, take these simple steps to clean your drain.

Step 1. Clear your drain

All kitchen drains will generally flow into a grease trap. While toilets, bathroom sinks and the like flow to sanitary sewer drain lines, an entirely separate system. This waste is discharged into municipal sewer lines.

Over time grease, oil, dirt and organic waste accumulates in drain lines and sewer pipes. To clear your drain, you need to break these down.

Traditional treatments flush the system with harsh chemicals, which can wreak havoc at the other end, causing environmental damage.

For shower and sink drains, choose a product that dissolves soap scum and hair, like Rescue Drain, which also has a nice lemon scent.

If you need to dissolve grease, fats, oils, hair and other organic matter, including stoppages further down the line, you can use heat to break down particles. Unfortunately pouring boiling water down the drain won’t cut it as the heat dissipates too quickly. A powdered treatment like ND-66 creates heat when added to cold water, up to 85 degrees Celsius in five minutes. Make sure and heat treatments you use are non-flammable and non-explosive. That could lead to a situation you don’t even want to imagine.

Step 2. Make sure your wastewater is compliant to avoid fines

Australia has strict laws about wastewater and the levels of fats, oils and grease (known as FOG), biological oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS) emitted by businesses into municipal sewers.

Bacterial treatments literally digest the FOGs, turning it into water and CO2, however it can take some time for the bacteria to become active, by which time the treatment has washed away. That’s why NCH developed Freeflow liquid concentrate, the latest in bacterial liquid technology that delivers billions of live bacteria right to the places it is needed most.

When disinfectants, acids or boiling water are common, a bacterial solution will be ineffective. In this instance look for a liquefying agent such as Citratech, that doesn’t contain harsh acids, caustics or other ingredients that damage your system. 

Step 3. Put a system in place for drain maintenance

Setting up a regular maintenance schedule to treat your drains and wastewater is a must to avoid fines and emergency situations. For small drains a regular manual treatment should suffice, but for larger volumes you should install a system that does all the work for you.

Bioamp is the perfect combination of advanced engineering and microbiology. It is a computer-controlled microbial fermentation unit that is installed, monitored and serviced by an NCH Wastewater representative on a monthly fee basis, so no capital investment is required. It can be installed directly into drains, grease traps, lift stations or wastewater treatment plants and delivers literally billions of naturally occurring “good” bacteria that are live and begin feeding and multiplying the instant they enter the wastewater stream or drain system, improving the effectiveness of each treatment.

One product doesn’t suit all needs, which is why NCH provides a full range of drain maintenance solutions. To create the right working environment and avoid emergency situations, it is important that the right solution is used. Ineffective drain treatments can be expensive, damage reputation and have a negative impact on the environment.