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Common Causes of Clogged Drains and How to Fix Them

Common Causes of Clogged Drains and How to Fix Them

. 3 min read

Blockages in your bathroom or kitchen sink can start as minor issues, but can soon become serious problems. Apart from slowing water drainage, clogged drains can cause flooding, corrosion and sewage backup that can result in costly repairs. Here are the most common causes of clogged drains and what you can do to prevent or fix them.


Hair is a real drain-clogger, especially in the shower. The average person loses about 50 hairs a day, so imagine if all that hair from every member of your household went down your shower drain. Even after it has fallen off a person’s head, hair can endure for several years before decomposing. Prevent hair from clogging your drain by installing drain guards and cleaning them out regularly. If your shower drain is clogged with hair, make a DIY drain de-clogging solution: pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. There will be a fizzing reaction, so wait for it to stop. About 5 minutes after the fizzing, pour 2 quarts of hot water. Repeat the process until the drain is clear.

Tree Roots

Surprisingly, tree roots are a common cause of clogging your drain pipes as they can be drawn to the water seeping from even the smallest leaks or cracks. If any tree roots get into your pipes, the roots can grow quickly, obstruct water flow and damage the pipes. Removing tree roots can be a complex process, one that only professionals such as plumbers in Sydney can perform. It’s difficult to know if any nearby plants or trees on your property can cause this, and it doesn't matter if you're in Sydney or San Francisco, tree roots are tough, so have your water line inspected by plumbers. Check for any unusual activity in your plumbing, such as gurgling sounds from your toilet, erratic changes in water pressure, puddles in your yard or a sudden spike in your water bills despite normal water usage.


Another common drain-clogging item is soap. When soap bars are reduced to small bits in the bath, these can easily slip down the drain and become deposited in the pipes. Any hair that falls down the drain can stick to the soap and accumulate, forming a blockage. As soap is made from grease and animal fat, these substances can also combine with the minerals in the water and form a hard residue called soap scum. You can prevent blockages caused by bits of soap by using drain guards. Avoid soap scum buildup by using soap-free bodywash instead of soap and have your pipes cleared out with a pressure washer.

Food Waste

Bits of food must not go into your drains, even if you have a rubbish disposal unit. When cleaning dishes, dump the food waste into a composting bin instead. This is important for food waste like tea leaves and coffee grounds that don’t decompose quickly. If your kitchen sink gets clogged from food waste, you can perform tasks to clean drains. Never dispose of cooking oil or grease down the drain; these will quickly solidify and bind with other food waste and cause a serious blockage. Wipe off grease from pans and throw it in the compost bin.
Keeping drains free from blockages requires that you use drain guards whenever possible and never throw anything that you shouldn’t down the drain. Compost your food waste and check and clean out drains regularly. Peform these preventive measures and you can save a lot of money on costly repairs.


Part of the expertEasy writing team, Laura is from the UK and has a keen interest in Business, interior design and decor, home improvement and thriftiness in all things around the house and garden.



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