Common Items That Should Never Go Down Your Drains

Dumping household waste down the drain seems so easy, but do you know how much damage it can cause to your drain and sewer system? Sure, it’s easy to pour that bacon grease down the sink after you cook breakfast, but even the smallest amount can cause major issues. Improper disposal of waste in your toilet or sink can result in clogs, backed up drains, or other malfunctions.  These appliance systems have their limits, and even though these boundaries are often pushed on a daily basis, they aren’t indestructible. In order to prevent issues with your plumbing, here are a few items that should never be put down your drains. 


This one may be obvious to some, but you’d be surprised how many clogs are caused by diapers. The same goes for feminine hygiene products as well. Once they get stuck, a professional will likely have to be called. A plunger won’t be able to dislodge these items, and removal can be costly and destructive. It’s possible that the clog can get sucks right outside of your house, and that a professional may have to tear up your lawn to reach it.

Hair and Dental Floss

Hair will always make its way down the drain – no matter how hard you try to keep it out! A few strands is no big deal, but the more that builds up, the bigger the clog. Dental floss acts in a similar way – both can stick to your pipes on their way down.

Fat, Oil, and Grease

Whenever you finish cooking a meal, it’s likely that you’ll have some sort of mess to clean up. It may be easy to just dump the leftovers down the drain, but doing so can wreak havoc on your plumbing. Did you know that these materials harden and congeal as they cool? This means that as they travel down your drain, they stick to the sides of your pipes and harden. They also catch other materials on their way down, resulting in major clogs. When they are introduced to public sewer systems, they mix with other particles. This not only damages public infrastructure, but it can affect drinking water.

Paper Products

Toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water – this is why we can flush it in small amounts. Paper towels, cotton balls, swabs, and similar materials aren’t designed this way. Once they get wet, they can accumulate and result in a blockage.

Coffee Grounds

Not even your garbage disposal can handle coffee grounds! They are a major cause of clogs, and any plumber will tell you to simply throw them away in the trash.

Egg Shells, Bones, and Hard Food Waste

Even though your garbage disposal can shred these food waste materials with ease, it’s still likely that they can cause a clog in your system. It’s best to throw these materials in the trash or in a compost pile.

How 3 Mountains Can Help Stubborn Clogs

  • Video Camera Inspection: We use state of the art drain-imaging tools to get a real-time look at the inside of your drains. This allows us to see exactly what is causing the clog and provide you with an accurate quote.
  • Drain Snake Services: A drain snake is a powerful way to clear even the toughest of clogs and roots mucking up your pipes. Using chemicals, rented drain snakes and other methods can severely damage your drains, leading to an even bigger issue. We will use a drain snake to grab onto the mass of the clog and pull it out through the opening of your drain.

If you find yourself in need of drain cleaning or clearing services, call 3 Mountains Plumbing today!


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Drain Cleaning Portland

Ask a Portland Plumber About Your Drain Cleaning Options

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: do not use liquid drain cleaners!

But don’t worry, we’re not just going to tell you something and not offer alternatives.  We’re delighted to have been in the Portland plumbing business for over 13 years and we know what it takes to safely clean household drains and remove clogs.  Here’s how we get the job done:

1.     Bio-Clean:

At 3 Mountains Plumbing our professionals are committed to implementing green initiatives.  To meet this ongoing challenge we are proud to be a dealer of Bio-Clean; a safe, organic drain cleaning solution.  Bio-Clean is a unique drain cleaning alternative in that it uses live bacteria to feed on all that nasty material that causes drain clogs—grease, hair, and organic waste.

Remember that over-the-counter drain cleaning solutions are toxic.  They are harmful to both your skin and your drain pipes.

2.     Industry Leading Equipment:

Our trucks are fully-stocked with all of the tools, equipment, and parts necessary to fix any drain clog on our first visit.  We use motorized snakes, cutting boards, cutting blades, and cork screws—safe methods that will optimize your piping system.

3.     Portland Camera Pipe Inspection:

Camera pipe inspections are the most efficient way to find and identify serious drain clogs.  The camera enables our technicians to precisely pinpoint the location of the clog so we can work most productively in removing it.  Camera inspections save time by eliminating guesswork and unnecessary household demolition.

We work to keep your pipes safe by removing clogs so that they never return.  We also offer a minimum one-year warranty on all products and services.

Call or stop by 3 Mountains Plumbing today to learn more about our safe drain cleaning and drain clog removal alternatives. 

Professional Drain Cleaning Portland

Why You Need a Professional Drain Cleaner

When was the last time you had your drain cleaned? If you’re not sure or don’t remember, it’s probably time to have it checked out by a professional Portland plumber.

Periodic drain cleaning is an essential part of household plumbing maintenance which we recommend as a way to avoid drain clog emergencies. That said we understand that most homeowners don’t think of taking proactive measures when it comes to plumbing.  While this is unfortunate, as a trusted Portland plumbing company for over 13 years, we are prepared to assist in the event of a drain cleaning emergency.

Portland Drain Cleaning

The number one rule of Portland drain cleaning?  Do not use an over-the-counter liquid cleaner.

You may be thinking, “What is so bad about using a liquid cleaner to clear drain pipes?  They work, right?”  The truth is that yes they do work—but only temporarily.  The problem is that they cause far more damage than good.

When a liquid solution is poured down the drain, it moves the clog.  It doesn’t clear it.  It relocates it and maybe even loosens it, but it does not solve the problem.  This is why you’ll notice the same nasty clogs again and again.  Here are other reasons we think liquid drain cleaners are evil:

Liquid drain cleaners…

  • Speed up pipe deterioration
  • Relocate drain clogs that repeatedly return
  • Do not eliminate drain clogs
  • Are highly toxic and harmful to the skin

Contact 3 Mountains Plumbing for Alternative Portland Drain Cleaning Solutions

At 3 Mountains Plumbing we provide several alternative drain cleaning solutions:

  • Bio-Clean: an environmentally safe drain cleaning product.
  • Industry Leading Technology: motorized snakes, cutting boards, blades, cork screws.
  • Camera Pipe Inspections: Quickly and precisely get to the bottom of the problem.

Contact 3 Mountains Plumbing today to learn more about our safe drain cleaning alternatives and whatever you do, please avoid liquid drain cleaners! 

Happy Thanksgiving from Our Portland Plumbers to You and Your Family!

This Thanksgiving we continue to be humbled and grateful to have been successfully working alongside Portland homeowners for the last 13 years.

We thank you for trusting us to care for your home’s plumbing systems.  We are also thankful for your loyalty and for your and kind customer reviews.  It has been our ongoing mission to bring Portland a delightful plumbing experience and we aim to continue doing so through this and every holiday season.

Do You Need a Portland Plumber on Thanksgiving?

If you need us, call us. We are on-call 24-hours a day/seven-days a week, and this includes Thanksgiving Day emergency service.

An abundance of house guests and a lot of cooking often lead to plumbing mishaps.  Here are a few common problems we run into on Thanksgiving:

  • Clogged Kitchen Sinks: Remember that household pipes will inevitably deteriorate over time.  Longevity is key, and it is important to take steps that will prolong the life of your home piping systems.  Clogs will happen if you are not careful, but whatever you do, do not use a liquid clog remover.  While this sometimes seems to alleviate the clog, it only moves it down while causing more damage to your pipes.  The clog will return unless cared for by a professional.
  • Failing Garbage Disposals: It is not uncommon for garbage disposals to falter when there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen.  First, check the reset switch underneath the disposal.  Otherwise, avoid putting stringy foods, dairy, oil, bones, or any foreign objects in your garbage disposal.
  • Clogged Toilets: Keep the lid down.  We know it sounds simple, but this prevents keys, cell phones, toys, and knick-knacks from clogging your toilet bowl!  Put nothing in your toilet but what instantaneously dissolves in water.

Our Portland Plumbers Are Standing By

Our expert journeymen technicians are ready to help if you need us.  We are fully stocked with higher horsepower garbage disposals, toilet bowl upgrades, and drain clog removal equipment.

This holiday, stay safe, enjoy your family and friends, and contact 3 Mountains Plumbing for tips on Thanksgiving plumbing emergencies.  

Camera Pipe Inspection Portland

Portland Plumber: Inspections Make Drain Cleaning Much Easier

Drain clog problems are an especially pesky plumbing issue that if not correctly eliminated, will continue to return again, and again…and again—worse each time.  We’re sure you just LOVE standing in a foot of dirty shower water while waiting for that drain to unclog itself, but never fear we have an even better solution!

What is Camera Pipe Inspection?

Camera, or video, pipe inspection is the process by which a camera is safely slipped into your home’s piping system.  The purpose is to find and determine the precise cause and location of drain clogs.  In real time, our licensed professionals can look at the video and quickly determine how to best take action to eliminate the clog.  Video pipe inspections may be used in any piping system other than those with pressurized water lines.

Benefits of Camera Pipe Inspection

Camera pipe inspections basically make the job of clearing drain clogs much easier and precise.

  1. Location, location, location: Allows us to specifically localize the point of the drain clog.
  2. Saves time and money: We quickly learn where the problem is and what is causing it.  Camera pipe inspection removes the guesswork out of plumbing.
  3. Fixed pricing: Helps our professionals provide customers with accurate up-front fixed pricing.
  4. Safety: Before attacking the drain with a selection of drain clog removal technology, we first look to the root of the problem to determine exactly what equipment is needed.

Common Causes of Drain Clogs

Drain clogs are unfortunately inevitable.  Any number of things may cause a clog and even the most careful of homeowners will, at one time or another, be faced with finding a drain clog solution.  We most often see:

  • Grease
  • Hair
  • Stringy foods
  • Toys
  • Knick-knacks
  • Paper

3 Mountains Plumbing Drain Clog Rule of Thumb: Don’t put anything down a drain that won’t immediately disintegrate in water.

Contact 3 Mountains Plumbing, Portland’s trusted drain clog removal experts, to learn more about our drain clog removal solutions and how our advanced camera pipe inspection process can help improve your home’s plumbing efficiency.  

How To: Clean Your Drains in Portland

Store Bought Cleaners Are Not the Answer

Professionally licensed plumbers will always tell homeowners not to fix drain clogs using liquid plumbing solutions. What most plumbers won’t do is 1. Tell you why and 2. Provide you with an alternative solution.

Over-the-Counter Liquid Drain Clog Solutions Are Not Solutions

Our team at 3 Mountains Plumbing will also tell you that over-the-counter liquid solutions are the wrong choice, but we offer a number of affordable alternatives.  First, why exactly are liquid drain clog solutions purchased at your local hardware or grocery store bad?  Well, the truth is that they do work, but only temporarily. These so-called solutions are unfortunately detrimental to the longevity of your drain pipes plus they tend to cause a host of other problems.  Over-the-counter liquid drain solutions:

  • Contain acidic product that deteriorates drain pipes over time
  • Only temporarily remove drain clogs, they will return
  • Are harmful to skin
  • Are not always effective
  • Often just push the clog further down the pipe making it more difficult to reach later

3 Mountains Plumbing Drain Clog Solutions

At 3 Mountains Plumbing we are always striving to meet green initiatives when serving our Portland community.  As part of this ongoing mission, we our proud dealers of Bio-Clean; an organic and environmentally safe drain cleaning product.  Bio-Clean does its job without introducing toxic chemicals to your home or plumbing system.  Bio-Clean works by using live bacteria to feed on the grease, hair, and organic matter found in drain clogs.

In addition to Bio-Clean, 3 Mountains Plumbing also comes to your home prepared with best-in-class drain clog removal equipment such as:

  • Motorized snakes
  • Cutting boards
  • Cutting blades
  • Cork screws

With our array of technology and drain cleaning efforts we will knock out any drain clog, no matter how tough.

So often we hear about shower and sink drain clogs that keep returning.  If thoroughly cleaned, this should never be the case.  We work to make sure your drain pipes are not damaged and that the drain clog never returns.

Contact 3 Mountains Plumbing today to learn more about Bio-Clean and our other methods of helping alleviate the drain clog in your Portland home. 

Shower Drain Clog Portland

Portland Plumber: How to Clear Your Shower Drain Clog

Ever take a shower standing in a few inches of backed-up water, along with a nasty mix of hair, suds, and grime?  Shower drain clogs are unsanitary and well, flat out gross, and we know you want to fix the problem right away.

There are quick fixes you can do at home to at least temporary alleviate the problem, but we know from experience that many of these rushed techniques act merely as band-aids that don’t get to the root of the problem.  They may even cause further damage to your home’s piping system.

What do the Experts Suggest?

Shower drain clogs are caused by a collection of soap, hair, shampoo, and other bath products that leave a build-up of sediment deposits in your pipes.  One of the best ways to remove a clog for good is to use a motorized snake.  Our snakes come with a variety of capabilities that include cutting boards, cutting blades, and cork screws that work to remove even the toughest clogs.

1. Call a professional:

Sure, you can try to remove a clog on your own, but chances are you will only move it to a harder to reach location down your pipe.  This means the clog will only return and be even worse the next time around.  You also run the risk of damaging your pipe by using an improper tool, unfortunately causing a far worse plumbing problem!

2. Avoid liquid plumber solutions:

They work, they really do—but only temporarily, and in that time, they are damaging your pipes.

3 Mountains Plumbing has been fixing shower drain clogs in the greater Portland area for over a decade.  Our professionals are trained and certified journeymen plumbers who provide excellent customer service and a delightful plumbing experience.

The costs of purchasing liquid plumber solutions and performing other do-it-yourself drain clog removal methods at home will only cost more money in the long run.

If you want to effectively remove a shower drain clog for good, contact the experts at 3 Mountains Plumbing.