The Top 10 Causes of Clogged Drains and How to Prevent Them


Clogged drains can be frustrating, potentially leading to disruptions and damage within your plumbing system. The good news is that with proactive maintenance, drain cleaning services and knowledge, many of these blocked drains outside are entirely avoidable.

This comprehensive blog post delves into the top 10 causes of clogged drains, offering invaluable insights and practical prevention and drain clearance techniques. By implementing these tips, you’ll be equipped to maintain clear and free-flowing drains, ensuring your plumbing remains in optimal condition and hassle-free.

1. Hair:

Hair accumulation ranks as a top offender for clogged drains, particularly in bathroom fixtures like sinks, showers, and tubs. Over time, strands of hair intertwine and form dense blockages, hindering water flow and causing backups. Combat this issue by installing drain covers or hair catchers, which trap hair before it descends into the drain.

These simple yet effective devices are readily available and easy to install. Additionally, make it a habit to clean these traps regularly to prevent buildup and maintain optimal drainage. By incorporating these preventive measures into your routine, you’ll significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering hair-related drain clogs, ensuring smooth and unimpeded water flow throughout your bathroom plumbing fixtures.

2. Soap Scum:

Soap scum presents a persistent challenge in plumbing systems, especially in shower and bathtub drains. This sticky residue gradually accumulates inside pipes, serving as a magnet for other debris and contributing to stubborn clogs. Mitigate soap scum buildup by adopting a few preventive measures. Opt for liquid soap over bar soap, as the latter tends to leave behind more residue. Additionally, use soap sparingly to minimize buildup.

Regularly cleaning your drains with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda can effectively dissolve soap scum before it solidifies and becomes problematic. This natural cleaning solution not only removes existing residue but also helps prevent future buildup when used as part of a regular maintenance routine. By taking these proactive steps, you’ll keep soap scum at bay, ensuring clear and unobstructed drainage in your shower and bathtub.

3. Food Waste:

Food waste poses a significant risk of clogged drains, especially in kitchen sinks. Grease, oil, and food scraps can congeal inside pipes, forming stubborn blockages over time. Prevent this by refraining from pouring grease or oil down the drain and utilizing a strainer or garbage disposal to capture food particles.

Remember to scrape plates into the trash before rinsing them in the sink. Regularly cleaning your garbage disposal prevents buildup, ensuring efficient waste disposal. By adopting these proactive measures, you’ll maintain clear and unobstructed drainage in your kitchen sink, minimizing the risk of clogs and plumbing issues.

4. Cooking Grease and Oil:

Cooking grease and oil are notorious for causing stubborn drain blockages as they solidify over time. To prevent these issues, never pouring grease or oil down the drain is crucial. Instead, allow them to cool and solidify in a container, then dispose of them in the trash.

Alternatively, consider participating in a dedicated grease trap program or recycling initiative if available in your area. Properly managing cooking grease and oil prevents drain clogs and contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing the risk of water pollution.

5. Flushable Wipes:

Despite their misleading label, “flushable” wipes significantly threaten plumbing systems. Unlike toilet paper, these wipes do not disintegrate readily and can accumulate in pipes, causing clogs and potentially leading to sewer backups. To safeguard your plumbing, refrain from flushing flushable wipes down the toilet. Instead, dispose of them in the trash to prevent blockages and costly repairs.

Educate household members and guests about the importance of proper disposal to avoid inadvertently causing plumbing issues. Additionally, consider providing a dedicated waste bin in the bathroom for convenient disposal of wipes and other non-flushable items.

By taking proactive steps to prevent flushable wipe misuse, you’ll maintain clear and unobstructed sewage flow, minimizing the risk of plumbing emergencies and preserving the integrity of your plumbing system.

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6. Feminine Hygiene Products:

Proper disposal of feminine hygiene products is essential for maintaining a healthy plumbing system. Tampons and sanitary pads should never be flushed down the toilet, as they can expand and create blockages in pipes. These items are designed to absorb liquids, which causes them to swell when flushed, increasing the risk of clogs and plumbing issues.

To prevent these problems, feminine hygiene products should always be disposed of in the trash. Encourage household members and guests to follow this practice to avoid potential plumbing emergencies.

Providing clearly labelled waste bins in bathrooms can help facilitate proper disposal and minimize the temptation to flush these items. By taking proactive measures to prevent the flushing of feminine hygiene products, you’ll preserve the integrity of your plumbing system and avoid costly repairs down the line.

7. Mineral Buildup:

Hard water can lead to mineral buildup inside pipes, reducing water flow and eventually causing clogs. Consider installing a water softener to treat hard water to prevent mineral buildup. Regularly cleaning your faucets, showerheads, and other fixtures can also help prevent mineral deposits from accumulating.

8. Tree Roots:

Tree roots seeking moisture can infiltrate underground sewer lines and cause blockages. To prevent this, avoid planting trees near sewer lines and consider installing root barriers or cutting down trees that pose a risk to your plumbing system. Regularly inspecting and maintaining your sewer lines can also help detect and address root intrusion before it becomes a significant issue.

9. Small Objects:

Small objects like jewellery, toys, and cotton swabs can accidentally fall into sinks and toilets and cause clogs. To prevent this, keep small objects away from drains and toilets, and use drain covers or guards to catch anything that might accidentally go down the drain.

10. Aging Pipes:

As pipes age, they undergo corrosion, deterioration, and potential blockages, leading to leaks and plumbing issues. While the aging process is unavoidable, proactive measures can mitigate its effects. Regular maintenance and inspections are vital for identifying early signs of pipe degradation and preventing major problems.

Hiring a professional plumber to conduct periodic inspections, particularly for older pipes, can catch issues before they escalate. These inspections may include assessing the condition of pipes, detecting leaks, and identifying potential areas of concern.

By investing in regular plumbing maintenance, you can prolong the lifespan of your pipes and minimize the risk of costly repairs or replacements. Don’t wait for a plumbing emergency to address aging pipes; schedule routine inspections to ensure your plumbing system remains in optimal condition. Prioritizing proactive maintenance can ultimately save you time, money, and stress in the long run.


By being aware of the common causes of clogged drains and taking preventive measures, you can minimize the risk of plumbing issues and keep your drains flowing smoothly. Implementing simple habits like using drain covers, disposing of grease properly, and avoiding flushing inappropriate items down the toilet can go a long way in maintaining a healthy plumbing system. If you encounter a clogged drain despite your best efforts, don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber for assistance. Taking prompt action can help prevent further damage and costly repairs.

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