8 Most Common Causes Of Clogged Drains and How to Prevent Them

With so many causes of clogged drains, it's common to have to call a plumber for help

Clogged drains and blocked pipes may start as minor issues but can quickly escalate into major problems. A clogged drain can cause slow water drainage, corrosion, flooding, and, in extreme cases, sewage backup and costly repairs. Preventing them starts with recognizing how the causes of clogged drains. Below are the 8 most common household causes of clogged drains and how you can prevent and fix them.

1. Hair

Hair is a big culprit for drain blockages, as it can bind with grease and other sticky substances to form clogs. The best way to deal with hair blockages is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Ensure all drains have guards to catch hair and clear these regularly.

2. Soap

You may wonder how soap can cause a blockage in your pipes. But traditional soap bars are actually made with grease or fat. The fat in the soap combines with minerals in water and leaves a hard residue (known as soap scum) that stains bath fittings and clogs pipes. Switch to soap free washes and then have your pipes pressure cleaned to remove traces of soap buildup.

3. Dirt

You may think your drain and pipes are there for washing anything away. But while you want to get excess dirt off you and your clothes, it can build up and cause issues in your drains. Shake or rinse excess dirt and mud off your clothes and body outside before washing them inside.

food waste

4. Food Waste

Food waste should never go down the drain, even when you have a garbage disposal in your sink. Instead, set up a composting pile to get rid of food waste. This is particularly important for waste like tea leaves and coffee grounds that don’t break down. Other foods to be cautious of include grease or oil as they will solidify in the pipes and cause a blockage. Instead, absorb oil on a paper towel and throw it in the compost.

5. Mineral Buildup

Minerals dissolved in hard water can build up and cause insoluble masses that will easily block your drains. One solution is installing a water softener for your home if hard water is a problem in your area. If that’s not an option, you will need to regularly descale and remove sediment and build up. Mineral buildup clogs can be difficult to remove once established, so call your professional plumber if your drains and pipes no longer seem to be flowing.

6. Small Objects

Small objects can find their way into your plumbing supply and wreak havoc. Nothing but water, toilet paper, and human waste should go down your toilet, drain, or sink. Any other object should be disposed of responsibly in the trash, compost, or recycling. If any foreign matter has gotten into your plumbing supply and is causing issues, you’ll likely need professional help to remove it and ensure your plumbing returns to normal.

7. Toilet Paper Buildup

Too much toilet paper can clog your drains and stop your toilets from flushing. If water can still run through your toilet when flushed, you can use a plunger to shift and dissolve some of the toilet paper. But if your toilet just fills without draining, you’ll need to call a plumber to take care of the blockage for you.

8. Tree Roots

The smallest cracks or leaks in your underground pipes can attract tree root growth. Once inside your pipes tree roots quickly grow larger, obstructing water flow and causing pipe damage. Clearing tree roots from pipes can be complex and require rooter service, pressure jet cleaning, trenchless repair, or even excavation. Review the root structure of your trees and plants and monitor the condition of your drains to prevent an extensive and costly repair.

With so many causes of clogged drains, the best way to fix them is to prevent them from being clogged in the first place. Never put anything you shouldn’t down the drain and avoid trying to clear drains by adding more chemicals or objects. And if your clogged drains turn into an emergency requiring help from an experienced plumber, contact Magnificent Plumbing and Rooter for assistance around the clock.

7 Comments on “8 Most Common Causes Of Clogged Drains and How to Prevent Them”

  1. I didn’t know that some soap bars are actually made with grease or fat and can create blockages in your pipes. I have noticed that my drains have been slow at draining recently, maybe it is because of my soap. I will have to switch soaps and see if that helps. Thank you for the information!

  2. I didn’t realize that soap combines with minerals in water to create clogs in pipes. My bathroom has a blocked drain clearing, and I can’t seem to get it to clear up on my own. Perhaps it is time I contact a plumber to take a look at my drain and clear it up.

  3. My fiance and I are worried about the drains in our new home. We are noticing that the toilets are having a hard time flushing and we both want to resolve the issue now before it turns into a bigger problem. Having blocked drains or cracks like mentioned are not good so we will get the help of a professional.

  4. Clogged drains can be a mess for the homeowner, not to mention very frustrating. I had no clue that tree roots can start to grow around the cracks and leaks of your pipes – unbelievable! I think it’s also important to note to everyone that using products like draino can solve your problem fast, but in the long run you can’t keep using it because it could cause the pipes to decay because of the chemicals.

  5. I never knew that the fat and grease in soap could clog up a drain. My parents recently started noticing their drain in the kitchen smelled a little funky so they are looking to hire a drain cleaning service. Thank you for the causes of clogs and how to prevent them.

  6. My wife and I just got done dealing with a massive drain blockage problem. It was there before we moved in and we weren’t sure what caused the blockage in the first place. We got it unclogged, but we are wanting to become more familiar with things that could possibly cause this is the future. We will just try and make sure to get our shower drains expected regularly to clean out any soap and hair that could be clogging it. This really helped, thanks so much for sharing this.

  7. Wow, I never knew that tree roots could penetrate our pipes and would cause severe damage and water blockage. Our house is surrounded by trees, and I love it. However, I am worried that one of the factors that might break our pipes is the growth of the roots of our trees. So thank you for writing this down, I might go ahead and prevent this from happening by calling the professionals every now and then to conduct a pressure jet cleaning. Thanks!

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