Causes of a Clogged Drain

We’ve all had to deal with the unpleasantness of a clogged drain, whether it’s in the shower, the kitchen or bathroom sink, or the toilet. Here are the most common causes of clogs and stoppages, and how you can help prevent an issue by making small changes to your daily routine. If you are still having trouble with a clogged drain be sure to contact Drain Wizards and we will help! 


If a loved one in your family has long hair, you have probably encountered a hairball in the shower drain cover. However, longhaired people are not the only culprit for drain clogs. Whether you have short or long hair, it can get caught in the drain and build up, acting as a web to catch more hair and other debris like dead skin or small bits of soap. The clog builds until it starts to back up and you see the tub or shower drain more slowly, or it actually stops draining. This can also happen in the sink if you brush or cut your hair over it. The simplest way to prevent hair clogs is to refrain from cutting or brushing your hair over the sink. After showering, check the drain for hair sitting on top and just remove it to the trash can. You can also purchase a hair catcher to put in the tub, shower, or sink drain. After showering, remove the hair catcher and clean it out over the trash can. When cleaning the hair catcher or a hair brush, do not put hair in the toilet. Although you may not think it would, it can create a clog further down the line, for all the same reasons your shower drain clogs.


It is unavoidable to not use soap, and many traditional soaps are made with fat or grease. That may sound gross, but those ingredients allow bar soap to be stable and to create a good lather. Liquid soap and bubble bath generally cause less build up in the drain system than traditional soap does. However, if you are partial to bar soap, you can help prevent clogs by stopping hair from going down the drain. The fat and grease of the soap generally works with hair to create a clog.


In kitchen sinks and drains food is the obvious cause of clogs and drain backups. You should never put fats, grease, oil, stringy vegetables, coffee grounds, or bones down the drain, or in your garbage disposal. Even if you don’t get a clog immediately, food debris can build up over time and cause problems later on. To dispose of grease, fats, or cooking oils, recycle an aluminum can and pour the liquid into it. Place the can in your freezer, and when it is full, throw it away. You can also purchase a grease disposal kit or talk to a local restaurant about bringing your cooking oil to them to dispose of.


Another great way to avoid clogs and stops in your drainage system is to prevent putting things down the toilet that are not supposed to be flushed. Basically the only things that should go down the toilet are bodily waste and a reasonable amount of toilet paper.

  • Cotton products – cotton balls, Q Tips, cotton pads
  • Menstrual products – designed to absorb liquid
  • Dental floss
  • Baby wipes – even if they say “flushable” – should not be flushed
  • Tissues or paper towels – not designed to break down like toilet paper
  • Medication – is absorbed into the water and creates toxic environmental issues
  • Bleach – bad for septic system – use vinegar instead
  • Condoms
  • Cigarette butts
  • Cooking grease/oil
  • Hair
  • Food – while it does break down eventually, it will take longer than food that has been digested in your stomach, and this can cause clogs
  • Dead pet fish – should NOT be flushed down the toilet, does not break down
  • Toys – kids love to experiment by seeing what will actually go down the toilet. Prevent this by talking to them about what should and should not go down the toilet. You can also create a safer home environment by putting a childproof latch on the toilet lid

All of the items listed (and more!) are not designed to break down like toilet paper. That is why toilet paper and bodily waste are the ONLY thing that should go down the toilet.

When dealing with a clog, people generally reach for Draino or another product to help fix things. This can cause damage in the long run. Because these products are corrosive, they can do more than just break down the clog. They can eat away at pipes, break down glue that holds piping together, and even cause toilet bowls to crack. You can try plunging, or using a plumber’s snake if you have one on hand. Other options include running liquid soap and hot water if you think the clog is grease related. Another, more natural solution includes baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. Pour ½ cup baking soda, then ½ cup white vinegar down the drain. Then run plenty of hot water. The chemical reaction should create pressure that can dislodge a clog.

However, if these solutions do not work, it is time to call in the professionals. The Drain Wizards team has highly trained individuals with years of experience. While you may be able to partially dislodge a clog, part of it could still be there, meaning you will have another problem down the road. Hiring a professional to deal with the problem means it will be resolved. With the use of a pipe camera we can see where the clog is and what is causing it. So not only will it be totally cleared, we can also advise you on how to prevent it from happening in the future. Don’t wait, give Drain Wizards a call today!

Licensed & Insured