Your drains can be kept open, clean and odour-free without the use of corrosive drain cleaners. There are two simple rules: never pour liquid grease down a drain and always use a drain sieve.
- Use this preventive measure for drains once a week: mix 1 cup (250 ml) baking soda and 1 cup (250 ml) salt. Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) of this mixture into the drain. Follow with a pot of boiling water, and flush with cold water. Done once a week, your drain should remain open and odour free.
- For clogged drains, pour in 1/4 cup (60 ml) baking soda followed by 1/2 cup (125 ml) vinegar. Close the drain until the fizzing stops and flush with boiling water. As a last resort, use a plumber's snake, available at most hardware stores, but beware, it can damage pipes.
- If hair comes out while showering, don't wash it down the drain . Just put it at the edge of the drain and throw it out afterwards.
Tub and tile
Most commercial tile cleaners do more harm than good because many contain chlorine, a serious irritant to the eyes, nose and skin, and one of the most dangerous chemicals found in municipal sewers.
- For bathroom cleaning, use a firm bristled brush with either baking soda or the mild all-purpose cleaner and baking soda. Rinse with hot water.
- For hard-water areas use vinegar or lemon juice to dissolve the mineral build-up. For really tough jobs, saturate a rag and lay it on the problem spot for a few hours before rinsing.
- For mould and mildew, rub tiles and grout with a cloth that has been moistened with vinegar and scrub with an old toothbrush. You may need to leave the vinegar overnight and scrub clean the next day.
- Put a plastic container filled with water in the cistern, to reduce the amount of water used for each flush or install a dual flush toilet.
- Mend any dripping taps or leaking pipes immediately.
- Use handkerchiefs instead of disposable tissues. This will not only help save trees, but the cotton will be softer on your nose.
- Install water saving devices for your taps and showers. Energy saving shower heads can save up to 20 per cent of hot water usage - and cut your electricity bills. A faucet aerator will reduce the flow without reducing the water pressure.
- Don't leave the tap running while brushing your teeth or shaving.
- A shower (about 10 minutes) uses 2/3 the amount of water as a bath.
- Keep your water heater down to 54C. This is hot enough to kill bacteria and still save energy.
- Use your waste basket for miscellaneous bathroom wastes. Flushing garbage wastes water and can cause treatment problems.
- When buying a new shower curtain, get cloth instead of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
- Use re-usable shavers, where you can replace the blade - this will help reduce plastic waste.