(064) 602 6792

Cape Town

(066)126 8306

Pristine Pipes: How to Clean and Maintain


When it comes to the systems that keep our homes running smoothly, plumbing often goes unnoticed – until something goes wrong. Pristine pipes are a cornerstone of a well-functioning household. Clogged drains, foul odors, and leaky pipes can wreak havoc on your daily life. 

But the good news is that with regular cleaning and maintenance, you can keep your plumbing in top shape and avoid costly repairs down the road. In this article, we’re going to explore how to clean and maintain your pipes like a pro.

Understanding the Importance of Pipe Maintenance

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of cleaning and maintaining your pipes, it’s essential to grasp why it matters. Proper pipe maintenance offers numerous benefits, including:

1. Preventing Clogs

Regular cleaning can prevent the buildup of hair, soap scum, food particles, and other debris that often lead to clogs.

2. Preserving Water Quality

Over time, mineral deposits and sediments can gather within your pipes. This buildup can affect the taste and quality of your tap water. Proper maintenance can help ensure your water remains clean and safe.

3. Extending Pipe Lifespan

Routine maintenance can help your pipes last longer. Neglecting them can lead to corrosion and eventual pipe failure.

4. Cost Savings

By investing a little time and effort in maintenance, you can avoid costly repairs or pipe replacements in the future.

5. Reducing Environmental Impact

Conserving water by fixing leaks and maintaining your plumbing system is environmentally responsible.

Pipe Cleaning 101: Keeping Things Flowing

1. Clearing Drain Clogs

One of the most common issues in plumbing is clogged or blocked drains. To prevent and clear these blockages:

  • Use a drain strainer: Install strainers in your sinks, showers, and bathtubs to catch debris and prevent it from entering your pipes.
  • Regularly clean strainers: Empty the strainers after each use and give them a good rinse.
  • Hot water flush: Once a week, pour a pot of boiling water down your drains. This can help break down grease and soap scum.
  • Homemade drain cleaner: For minor clogs, mix equal parts of baking soda and vinegar, and pour it down the drain. Then, pour in a pot of hot water after 15 minutes.
  • Plumbing snake: For more stubborn clogs, a plumbing snake can help you break through and clear the obstruction.

2. Cleaning P-traps

P-traps, those curved pipes under your sink, can accumulate gunk and debris over time. To clean them:

  • Place a bucket under the trap: This will catch any water or debris that might come out during cleaning.
  • Unscrew the slip nuts: Use a wrench to carefully loosen and remove the nuts connecting the trap to the drain and the tailpiece.
  • Empty and clean the trap: Once removed, empty the P-trap and give it a thorough cleaning. Make sure there are no blockages in the pipes or trap itself.
  • Reassemble: After cleaning, reassemble the trap, making sure the connections are snug but not overtightened.

3. Flush Your Water Heater

Flushing your water heater is essential for maintaining water quality and preventing sediment buildup:

  • Turn off the power: If what you have is an electric water heater, switch off the circuit breaker. For gas heaters, turn the gas control valve to the “pilot” setting.
  • Turn off the water supply: Close the cold-water supply valve located near the top of the heater.
  • Connect a hose: Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the heater and place the other end in a floor drain, bucket, or outside.
  • Open the pressure relief valve: To allow air into the tank, open the pressure relief valve on top of the heater.
  • Drain the tank: Open the drain valve, and let the water flow out until it runs clear.
  • Close everything up: Once the water runs clear, close the drain valve and pressure relief valve. Turn on the supply of cold water and let the tank fill. Finally, restore power or gas to the heater.

4. Treat Slow Drains with Enzyme Cleaners

Enzyme-based drain cleaners are eco-friendly and effective at breaking down organic material that accumulates in your pipes. Regularly using these cleaners can help prevent slow drains and clogs.

Pipe Maintenance 101: Preserving the Integrity

1. Inspect for Leaks

Regularly inspect your plumbing system for leaks. Check under sinks, around toilet bases, and near water heaters. If you spot any leaks, no matter how minor, address them promptly to prevent more extensive damage.

2. Tighten Loose Connections

Over time, pipes and connections can loosen due to temperature fluctuations and general wear and tear. Check your exposed plumbing, including supply lines, and ensure all connections are snug.

3. Insulate Pipes

In colder weather, insulating your pipes can halt them from freezing and even bursting during winter. Pipe insulation is affordable and easy to install, offering long-term protection.

4. Address Corrosion

Corrosion can weaken pipes and lead to leaks. If you notice any signs of corrosion, such as green or white deposits, rust, or pitting, consult a professional plumber to assess and replace the affected pipes.

5. Regularly Test Your Sump Pump

If your home has a sump pump, test it regularly to ensure it’s in working order. Pour water into the pit to trigger the pump, and make sure it’s effectively draining water away from your home.

6. Check Your Water Pressure

High water pressure can damage your plumbing system which will lead to leaks eventually. Thus, it’s best to invest in a water pressure gauge to be able to monitor your home’s water pressure. If it’s consistently above 80 psi, consider installing a pressure-reducing valve.

When to Call a Professional

While DIY maintenance can go a long way in preserving your plumbing system, there are situations where professional help is crucial:

  • Major plumbing repairs: If you’re facing extensive plumbing problems or pipe replacements, it’s best to consult a professional plumber.
  • Hidden leaks: Leaks inside walls, ceilings, or under the floor can be challenging to detect and fix. A professional plumber can use advanced equipment to locate and repair hidden leaks.
  • Sewer line issues: If you suspect a problem with your main sewer line, such as recurring blockages, slow drains, or sewage backups, call a plumber to inspect and address the issue.
  • Remodeling or major renovations: When planning a significant plumbing-related project, a professional plumber can ensure the work is done correctly and up to code.

Wrapping It Up

Maintaining pristine pipes is an investment in the longevity and functionality of your home. Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent clogs, preserve water quality, extend the lifespan of your plumbing, save you money on costly repairs, and reduce your environmental impact. 


By following the tips and techniques in this article, you’ll keep your plumbing system in tip-top shape and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your pipes are well-maintained. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your tools, and take those first steps to pristine pipes! Contact us today!

Louw Bros Plumbing: Your Trusted Partner for Comprehensive Plumbing Solutions

With branches in Cape Town, Plettenberg Bay, and Knysna, Louw Bros Plumbing offers a wide range of expert services, from leak detection and geyser installation to drainage maintenance and emergency repairs, ensuring the highest quality and customer satisfaction across South Africa.