10 Causes of Blocked Drains

There are multiple drains around your home, and it’s really easy for them to clog up. But what actually causes these blockages, and is there anything you can do to clear your own drains? Below, we go over the usual causes of clogged domestic drains and offer some tips on keeping your pipes clear.

Causes of Blocked Drains

Essentially, if you don’t clear your drains regularly, household debris and other unwanted material eventually settle somewhere in your pipework. When this happens, water can’t move freely through the system, and you’ll probably notice:
Causes of Blocked Drains

  • Slow drainage (or no drainage at all in some cases)
  • Smelly pipes
  • Gurgling sounds

The good news is that it’s usually easy to fix blocked drains. But it’s an even better idea to stop them from backing up in the first place. Here are 10 household materials that could be clogging your drains right now.

1. Tree Roots

Tree Roots
Trees might look good, but they cause havoc in your pipelines if the roots grow too deep. If you’re worried about collapsed or cracked pipes, ask a plumber to come and take a look. This is a problem to address sooner rather than later.

2. Toiletries

Nappies don’t belong in a toilet, and cotton pads shouldn’t be in the bathroom sink. They’ll turn soggy and block your pipes. Keep a trash can in the bathroom for used materials like these.

3. Foreign Objects

Do your kids play with toys in the bathtub? Don’t be surprised if the toys end up down the drain. You can use wire hangers to dislodge stuck objects. But if you’re concerned, call a plumber.

4. Cooking Oil

Old, hardened cooking oil causes a stink if you leave it in your pipes. Mix a cup of baking soda and white vinegar and pour it down the drain.

5. Food Scraps

Food scraps can sit in the u-bends and cause slow drainage. Clear plates thoroughly before putting them into the sink to avoid this.
Food Scraps

6. Mineral Build-Up

Even water blocks your drains eventually if it’s hard enough. Harsh water contains high levels of minerals like calcium, which cause limescale and blockages unless you clear your pipes.

7. Soap

Soap scum is thick. When you leave it long enough, it disrupts water flow through your pipe system. Use a drain cleaner regularly to dissolve it.

8. Hair

Although hair strands are really thin, they eventually clump together in your pipes or around your plug hole. It’s a simple fix – clear your plug hole out at least once a week.

9. Natural Debris

Eventually, mud, weeds, fallen leaves, and other natural debris settle over your external drains. Keep these drains clear and sweep away residue when you spot it.

10. Cat Litter

Cat Litter
Where possible, block cat litter from going down the drain. It doesn’t dissolve like food debris, so you’ll need a plunger to get it out.


If there’s one thing to take away from this article, it’s this: ensure anyone who works on your drains is licenced for drainage work. Otherwise, they could do more damage to your pipework than good. If you need any assistance at all with drain blockages, contact us today.

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