If you’ve been there before, ankle-deep in sewage, you know what a horrible experience it is. You might be surprised to know how common a problem this is. Fixing your drain is a costly, stinky, and time-consuming issue, so here are 5 reasons why your drain gets blocked in the first place and how to avoid them. 

1. Fat

We ranked this one at number one for a good reason. This is by far the most common reason drains get blocked. Fat and grease when poured down your drain whilst cleaning your pots and pans start to build up in your drainage system. This build-up becomes sticky and sticks to the sides of your drainpipe, and over time causes a blockage. Fat and grease are hard to clear from the drain, running the hot water won’t cut is for build-up. 

Avoid this by: not dumping fat down the kitchen sink. Try and find alternative ways of disposing of fat and grease, try using kitchen towels in a plastic bag to dispose of fat in the kitchen. 

2. Hair

Second place goes to hair. We all lose hundreds of hair strands each day. And although the hair is quite thin, it gets caught easily in just about anything, including your drain. when hair gets caught in the drain, just like with fat, over time it causes build-up as more and more hair gets caught. If the hair is not cleared up straight away, you might have a problem sooner rather than later. 

Avoid this by: removing visible hair from the drain immediately after bathing or showering. Use a device called a drain spider to remove hair from inside the drain. For long-term prevention, try using a drain plug hole cover that has smaller holes than your drain and will catch most of the hair fall before it gets washed down the drain. 

3. Baby wipes

Baby wipes, although also used to wipe bums, aren’t designed to be flushed down the toilet. They are made from a thicker material that does not break up when brought into contact with water. If you flush a baby wipe and it gets caught on anything in the drainpipe, you will have a major problem to deal with. 

Avoid this by: disposing of baby wipes with the trash.

4. Foreign objects

Toys, small bottles, money (yes money!), and many more weird things have been found in household drains. Not all of these items end up in the drain on purpose, most times it will be caused by an innocent toddler enjoying things that disappear down the white throne. But they can create a major problem in your drainage system if not prevented.

Avoid by: keeping a watchful eye on small children in the bathroom, getting a toilet lock, or simply keeping the door to the bathroom closed.

5. Mother nature

Outdoor drains can get clogged very easily. We can’t control nature. During the autumn months when leaves are falling, they fall or get blown into the drain, when the leaves are waterlogged, they become heavy and lay in the bottom of the pipe. These wet leave also become sticky, and over time stick together, create a build-up, and then form a blockage. 

Roots from trees are also a major cause of blocked drains. 

Avoid this by: keeping your yard clean from leaves and other debris that might go into the drain. If you have trees in your garden ensure that they are well watered, as trees will push their roots toward a water supply aka your drain. If roots have already damaged your drain pipe, you will need specialist care for your drain. 

Now that you know the 5 most common causes, here are a few DIY drain cleaning tips:

  • Baking soda & vinegar. An age-old remedy for many household cleaning dilemmas. Mix a third cup of each and while still fizzing, pour down your drain and leave for a couple of hours. Finish off with boiling water to wash it all away.
  • Boiling water. By slowly pouring boiling water down the drain will slowly loosen debris, especially fats, dislodge it, and help it along down the drain. 
  • Salt & baking soda. By mixing half a cup of each and putting it down your drain, leaving it for about 20 minutes, and then pouring boiling water down the drain will cause a chemical reaction that can dissolve quite a few blocked drain issues. 

Your drain should be handled with care, don’t put anything down there that does not belong and your drain will be happy. If you cannot cure your blocked drain fast with a home remedy, it is always better to contact a professional.