5 Common Causes of Blocked Drains and How to Avoid Them

Jun 30, 2023 | News

Are you tired of dealing with blocked drains that disrupt your daily routine? We’ve all been there. Blocked drains can be a major hassle, causing unpleasant smells, slow drainage, and even flooding in severe cases. But fear not! In this article, we will explore the top 5 common causes of blocked drains and provide you with practical tips on how to avoid them. From the buildup of hair and soap scum to the accumulation of food scraps and grease, we will delve into the various culprits that can wreak havoc on your plumbing system. By understanding the causes, you can take proactive measures to prevent blockages and keep your drains flowing smoothly. So, whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, this guide is a must-read for anyone looking to maintain a clean and efficient drainage system. Say goodbye to frustrating clogs and hello to hassle-free plumbing with our expert advice.

Understanding the Common Causes of Blocked Drains

When it comes to blocked drains, prevention is key. By understanding the common causes, you can take the necessary steps to avoid them. Let’s dive into the top 5 culprits behind blocked drains.

Cause 1: Hair and Personal Care Products

One of the most common causes of blocked drains is the buildup of hair and personal care products. Hair has a knack for finding its way into drains, where it can accumulate over time and create a stubborn blockage. Additionally, personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, and body wash can leave behind residue that sticks to the inside of pipes, further contributing to blockages. To prevent this issue, consider using drain screens or stoppers to catch hair before it goes down the drain. Regularly cleaning these screens or stoppers will ensure they remain effective in preventing hair from causing blockages. Additionally, periodically pouring boiling water down the drain can help dissolve any residue that may have accumulated.

Cause 2: Food Waste and Cooking Oil

Another common cause of blocked drains is the improper disposal of food waste and cooking oil. It’s important to remember that your kitchen sink is not a garbage disposal. Food scraps, especially those that are fibrous or starchy, can easily get stuck in your pipes and cause blockages. Similarly, pouring cooking oil down the drain may seem convenient, but it can solidify and create stubborn clogs. To avoid these issues, make sure to scrape food scraps into the trash or compost bin instead of rinsing them down the sink. When it comes to cooking oil, allow it to cool and solidify before disposing of it in a sealed container and throwing it in the trash.

Cause 3: Tree Roots and Plant Debris

In some cases, blocked drains may be caused by tree roots and plant debris infiltrating your underground pipes. Tree roots are naturally drawn to sources of water and can easily find their way into small cracks or joints in your pipes. Once inside, they can grow and cause blockages. Similarly, leaves, twigs, and other plant debris can accumulate in outdoor drains and gutters, leading to blockages. To prevent this issue, it’s important to regularly inspect your outdoor drains and remove any debris. Additionally, be mindful of the landscaping around your property and avoid planting trees or shrubs near underground pipes.

Cause 4: Non-Flushable Items

Flushing non-flushable items down the toilet is a common mistake that can lead to blocked drains. Items such as baby wipes, cotton swabs, sanitary products, and even dental floss should never be flushed down the toilet. These items do not break down easily and can cause blockages in your plumbing system. It’s important to educate yourself and your family members on what is safe to flush and what should be disposed of in the trash. Providing a designated trash bin in the bathroom can help encourage proper disposal habits.

Cause 5: Poor Plumbing Maintenance

Last but not least, poor plumbing maintenance can contribute to blocked drains. Neglecting regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning drain traps or scheduling professional inspections can allow small blockages to escalate into larger problems. It’s important to be proactive in maintaining your plumbing system to prevent blockages. Regularly cleaning drain traps and using drain cleaners can help remove any buildup before it becomes a problem. Additionally, scheduling annual plumbing inspections can help identify and address any potential issues before they lead to blocked drains.

Tips to Avoid Blocked Drains

Now that we’ve explored the common causes of blocked drains, let’s discuss some practical tips to help you avoid them.

1. Use drain screens or stoppers: Installing drain screens or stoppers in sinks, showers, and tubs can help catch hair and prevent it from going down the drain.

2. Dispose of food scraps properly: Scrape food scraps into the trash or compost bin instead of rinsing them down the sink.

3. Allow cooking oil to cool and solidify: Before disposing of cooking oil, allow it to cool and solidify, then seal it in a container and throw it in the trash.

4. Regularly inspect outdoor drains and gutters: Check your outdoor drains and gutters regularly to remove any debris that may cause blockages.

5. Educate yourself and your family members: Teach everyone in your household about what is safe to flush and what should be disposed of in the trash.

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of blocked drains and keep your plumbing system running smoothly.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

While DIY solutions can be effective in some cases, there are situations where it’s best to leave the job to a professional plumber. Here are a few signs that indicate you should call a professional:

1. Recurring blockages: If you find yourself dealing with frequent blockages despite your best efforts, it may be indicative of a deeper issue that requires professional attention.

2. Multiple blocked drains: If multiple drains in your home are blocked simultaneously, it could be a sign of a larger problem within your plumbing system.

3. Foul odors or gurgling sounds: If you notice foul odors or gurgling sounds coming from your drains, it could indicate a blockage or a problem with your sewer line.

4. Water backup or flooding: If you experience water backup or flooding as a result of a blocked drain, it’s crucial to call a professional plumber immediately to prevent further damage.

Remember, professional plumbers have the knowledge, experience, and tools necessary to tackle even the most stubborn blockages. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if you’re unsure or unable to resolve the issue on your own.


Blocked drains can be a major inconvenience, but with proper knowledge and preventative measures, you can avoid the hassle altogether. By understanding the common causes of blocked drains, such as hair and personal care products, food waste and cooking oil, tree roots and plant debris, non-flushable items, and poor plumbing maintenance, you can take proactive steps to keep your drains flowing smoothly. Remember to use drain screens or stoppers, dispose of food scraps properly, regularly inspect outdoor drains and gutters, educate yourself and your family members on proper disposal habits, and maintain your plumbing system. In the event of a blockage, try simple DIY solutions such as boiling water, baking soda and vinegar, or a plunger. However, if the problem persists or worsens, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber. With these tips and expert advice, you can bid farewell to blocked drains and enjoy a clean and efficient drainage system.

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Our portable equipment can be carried into buildings and lifts in order to access those hard to reach places.

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Our fleet ranges in capacity and size from 1 to 10 tonne waste removal capacity and drain clearing capabilities, suitable for residential and industrial blockages.


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We specialize in septic tank cleaning and drainage, whereby we pump out and clean the contents of septic tanks.

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Our grease trap cleaning process ensures a free flowing drainage system and alleviates odours in your workplace in a systematic, discreet and environmentally friendly manner.

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We have extensive expertise and experience in resolving sewerage blockages of all sizes, with special care taken to dispose of sewage safely and effectively.

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