Kitchen drains often see more use than any other drain in your home. And a lot goes down them — little bits of potato skin, leftover ketchup, dish soap — you name it! As such, you need to be careful to care for your kitchen drain properly. Adhering to the maintenance and cleaning tips below will go a long way.

1. Pour some hot water down the drain every few days.

Grease is the ultimate enemy of kitchen drains. It clings to the inside of pipes, solidifies, and then starts grabbing onto anything else that flows through the drain, eventually creating a massive clog. It should go without saying that you should never put overt grease or fat, like butter or bacon fat, down the drain. But many people end up putting at least a little grease down the drain from time to time. Things like leftover frosting still in the bowl and sauce left on your plates get rinsed down, for instance. Pouring some hot water down the drain every few days helps melt the grease and keep it flowing along, so you don't get any massive clogs. Just heat the water to near boiling, and pour away. This works well when you do have a mild clog, too.

2. Freshen with baking soda.

You should also sprinkle some baking soda in your drain about once a week. Let it sit for an hour or two before rinsing it away. If your drain has been slow, rinse it down with vinegar; it will foam up and loosen the blockages. Otherwise, rinsing with water is fine. The baking soda will fight odors and help keep soap scum-based clogs from forming.

3. Use a good trap.

Make sure the trap or basket in your drain has a fine enough mesh pattern to catch and block most food particles from going down the drain. A few particles now and then may not seem like a big deal, but if there is any grease or soap residue on the inside of the drain, small particles can cling to it and contribute to a clog. If your basket's holes are larger than the size of a BB, then head to your local hardware store and buy a better basket.

The tips above should help you keep your drain flowing freely and prevent minor clogs. If you do end up with a tough clog, call a plumber who offers drain cleaning services in your area.