TThe most relaxing bath of my life was also the most maddening. I spent two hours lounging in a gorgeous deep soaking tub filled with an abundance of dried rose petals at the Four Seasons. The scent was amazing and the oils from the petals mixed with the water leaving my baby skin feeling soft. Completely happy, I got out of the tub and briefly thought “Can this go down the drain?” Spoiler: They can’t, that’s how I learned the hard way that cosmetics clog drains. And I only learned this after seeing how slowly the tub drained, and then feverishly picking up the petals before further damage was done. Once the ordeal was over (at least that’s what I thought), I decided to wash my face. I opened the sink and he burped the bath water.
Obviously, human error has played a role here, but issues like the one I experienced happen more frequently than you might think because beauty products that clog drains are common, says Aaron Mulder, Co-owner and COO of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of San Antonio, a neighboring company. They range from coffee grounds in body scrubs to lotions in the shower. But fear not, you don’t have to avoid your favorite beauty products. Buying smart and taking preventative action can keep your pipes clear and happy. Below, Mulder shares ways to avoid blockages while still using the products you love.
7 beauty products that clog your pipes and how to prevent this from happening
1. Bath bombs and teas
“Epsom salt and baking soda are common ingredients that usually dissolve in water, but other common additives including essential oils, cornstarch, cocoa butter, flower pieces and even glitter doesn’t dissolve well, ”says Mulder.
To help catch some of those extra additives, like dried flower petals, place the bath bomb in a mesh jewelry bag ($ 8) or pantyhose tied with a rubber band before dropping it in your tub to prevent particles from entering the sewers, ”he said. said. “It is better to take these preventative measures than to wish you had made this easy request in advance.”
If you are using loose petals, use a net ($ 5) to remove them from the water before opening the drain.
2. Clay masks
“The way clay, mud and charcoal masks stick and harden on your skin, the same can happen when these masks are washed down the drain,” says Mulder. “Residue can stick and harden to pipes, making it easier to form plugs by creating blockages when other materials are washed down the drain.”
Mulder says to place a mesh cloth ($ 7) over the drain when washing clay masks to prevent the full face mask from being washed down the drain. Throw away any large pieces of mask that the garment catches in the trash before rinsing the cloth.
3. Liquid foam baths
“Liquid bubble bath may not seem harmful to your pipes, but it can cause blockages depending on the ingredients in it,” says Mulder. “Essential oils, dyes and heavy soaps can coat pipes, restrict drain flow, and act as a magnet to attract dirt and debris. Soap scum can also end up in your shower drain, where it is likely to stick to the walls of the drain and bind to hair and other objects. “
You can’t exactly stop the bubbles from flowing. Mulder says the best thing to do, of course, is to limit your use of bubble baths. But, if it’s a non-negotiable, it says to be vigilant about maintaining your drain. One trick you can do to keep your pipes clean is to pour a solution of baking soda ($ 12) and vinegar ($ 13) down the drain every now and then. Make a mixture of 1/3 cup of baking soda and 1/3 cup of white vinegar. Immediately pour it down the drain and let it sit for at least an hour, although overnight is even better, then rinse it off with hot water.
“Most makeup products are designed to resist a low amount of water or sweat and therefore have hydrophobic properties that initially prevent water from mixing with makeup,” says Mulder. “This makes these products difficult to completely remove from drain pipes. “
Run hot water through your pipes before and after rinsing off makeup or rinsing off the cloth you used to remove makeup. “Hot water will help dissolve the product and run it down the drain,” he says.
5. Lotion in the shower
“Moisturizers, creams or hand lotions can be harmful to your drain if they are rinsed out in the sink,” says Mulder. “Some moisturizing and body wash soaps can actually help build sludge in your pipes and also cause blockages in your drain.”
“Avoid lotions or scrubs with coconut oil as it can solidify at temperatures below 76 ° F and instead look for finer oils, like jojoba, which generally tend to solidify at temperatures below 76 ° F. much lower temperatures and can remain liquid for a longer period of time, ”says Mulder.
6. Body scrubs
“Certain exfoliating ingredients can be harmful to your plumbing. It is important to be careful with ingredients that do not dissolve in water such as coffee grounds, seed powders, oatmeal, crushed nuts and large grains, ”says Mulder. “Although many body scrubs contain sugar and other soluble ingredients, the sugar can be sticky and can cause problems in your pipes. In other cases, some salts and sugars may not break down completely and can get stuck. in the drain. “
The answer here is the same as with the bubble bath: there is no drain cover in the world that will catch the coffee grounds in your body scrub while still allowing water to flow freely down the drain. Just limit your use of scrubs and stay on top of drain maintenance.
7. Cosmetic wipes
“Cosmetic and cleaning wipes can sometimes be labeled as disposable in the flush, however, none of these wipes actually belong to the toilet as these wipes do not match the consistency of toilet paper and are too thick to fit. rinsed, ”says Mulder. “Over time, they will lead to toilet and pipe blockages causing backups. “
Use a reusable makeup eraser cloth ($ 20) that you can simply throw in the washing machine. You don’t have to worry about disposing of them and you produce much less waste. Just be sure to follow Mulder’s tips for makeup above and run hot water down the drain before and after rinsing the rag. If you have to use a single-use wipe, Mulder says throw it in the trash, not the toilet.
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