Things that could be clogging your drains

A clogged drain is a nightmare for any homeowner. Trying to unclog it yourself can only end up making the problem worse. They are one of the most common plumbing issues faced by plumbers with severe blockages often requiring professional help to unblock. Minor clogs, however, can be fixed with the right tools. Continue reading to uncover the usual instigators for blocked drains as well as the steps you can take to rid your pipes of them.


Perhaps the most common reason for a blocked drain is an accumulation of human hair. With regular use, bathroom drains can become congested with a build-up of hair. It can deteriorate into a larger problem over time as hair is easily knotted and tangled when entwined with a number of other, equally stringy materials. For example, most plumbers report bundles of hair intermingled with dental floss, brush bristles, and tissues. Clumps of hair can also be bonded together by soap, shampoo and grease and attach to the inside of the drain. Wave goodbye to clogged drains forever with a universal sink stopper. This handy little device can block the flow of water to prevent hair from getting stuck deep within the pipes. A universal sink stopper can also be purchased in a variety of shapes and colours to match the interior of your bathroom.


Kitchen drains are susceptible to getting clogged with food waste and debris. Even if your sink has been fitted with a garbage disposal, little bits of food can build-up over time and obstruct your pipes. This usually occurs whilst you are rinsing plates or pans during the dish washing process. A blocked kitchen drain can deplete the flow of water and cause dirty, contaminated water to pool in the sink as soon as you turn on the tap. Aside from the obvious hygiene concerns, this can also prohibit you from being able to wash your dishes properly and efficiently. To restore water flow to your kitchen sink, try pouring baking soda and vinegar down the drain to disperse any stubborn blockages and wash away any persistent food particles.

Grease and fat

As well as food, grease and fat can wreak havoc on your kitchen drains. Cooking fat, oil, butter, and meat juice may appear to flush away with ease, but this is not necessarily the truth. These substances can harden and solidify over time, causing a substantial blockage that can be difficult to release. You have witnessed fat hardening on pots and pans within a matter of minutes. If this is the effect it can have on your cookware, just imagine how it can damage your pipes. Grease and fat must be disposed of quickly and efficiently. Pour it into a cup until it hardens then discard it alongside your kitchen waste. Never be tempted to pour it down the sink.


Soap residue can also accumulate over time and clog your drains. This occurs when the minerals found in water react with the fatty acids within soap to create what is known as soap scum. This produces a thick, chalky residue that can harden and thicken over time. A blast of hot water may effectively unblock drains lined with soap scum. A mesh trap may also prevent the blockage from materialising in the first place. These devices can be placed across the opening to the drain to catch any soap before it has a chance to enter your pipes. A universal sink stopper may also effectively block any soap scum that can lead to the formation of a clog. Soap scum may also latch onto existing clumps or hair to form a larger congestion that will require professional intervention to clear.


The sink is usually the first port of call for those looking to dispose of any unwanted dirt or debris from clothes or shoes. However, this can build up over time and contribute to a sizeable blockage. If your sink is regurgitating brown or cloudy water, this may indicate a build-up of dirt deep within your pipes. A plunger or a concentrated drain cleaner should be able to disintegrate any larger chunks to resume functionality of your kitchen or bathroom sinks. Muddy water can be an alarming sight can it can be an easy fix with the right tools and expertise. You may also be able to prevent this problem from materialising in the first place by regularly inspecting your pipes. Keep an eye out for any black or green slime oozing from your taps or making its way up your drains. This can signify a backlog of biological waste or debris.

Wipes or diapers

It can be tempting to flush wipes of diapers down the toilet after use to save you a trip to the wastebin. However, this could end up severely damaging your bathroom pipes. Toilet paper and human waste are the only things that should be flushed down a toilet. Toilet plumbing is not designed for large, bulky items. Wipes and diapers can swell and enlarge as soon as they come into contact with water. This can not only block your toilet pipes but wreak havoc on your local sewer system if not remedied in time. Disposing of non-flushable items down the toilet may save you time but it can end up costing you, and your neighbours, in the long run.

Cat litter

Disposing of cat litter can be a chore but it should never be tossed down a drain. Cat little is composed of a series of materials including clay, sand, and synthetic crystalised silica. When exposed to water, it expands to absorb moisture and produces clumps. This may provide a service for your furry friend, but it can ravage your drainage system. Cat litter should never be flushed down a drain. You must bag up the contents of a litter tray and dispose of it in the nearest wastebin. If the damage has already been done, try unclogging your pipes with a combination of a plunger and a toilet snake to shake the blockage loose.

Offset pipes

As well as loose materials, drains may also become clogged if they have been moved or misaligned from their original position. This is common in older homes with outdated drainage systems that were built with smaller sections of piping. These pipes are vulnerable to slight movements that can offset the entire piping route and trigger a series of blockages. The ground can also shift over time causing pipes to gradually rearrange themselves and settle offset. This problem can be a difficult fix and will more often than not require the services and expertise of an experienced plumber or drain unblocker.

Blocked drains can be caused by a wide range of common household items. From hair and soap to food and cat litter, these materials can build up over time and produce an immovable blockage. By knowing what can trigger a clogged drain, you can take steps to prevent it from happening in your home. If the worse does happen, there are a number of solutions available. Major blockages may require the assistance of a professional plumber or those with sufficient experience of unblocking clogged drains.

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