Birds eye view of plumber unclogged blocked drain with plunger

Common Reasons for Blocked Drains and How to Prevent Them

Maintaining clear drains is essential for the smooth functioning of any household or commercial property. A blocked drain can lead to numerous problems, including unpleasant odours, water damage, and expensive repairs. Whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a significant plumbing emergency, blocked drains disrupt daily life and can cause significant stress. Understanding the common causes of blocked drains and learning how to prevent them can save you time, money, and hassle.

Blocked drains are a prevalent issue that most homeowners will encounter at some point. Several factors can contribute to this problem, ranging from everyday habits to environmental conditions. While no one wants to deal with a blocked drain, our team of reliable Gold Coast plumbing experts are here to help day in, and day out! 

Birds eye view of plumber unclogged blocked drain with plunger

Common Reasons for Blocked Drains

Blocked drains can happen for many reasons, often due to everyday habits or environmental factors. Recognising these causes can help you take preventive measures to avoid the inconvenience and expense of dealing with a blocked drain.

Hair and Soap Scum Buildup in Shower Drains

One of the primary culprits behind blocked shower drains is hair. As we shower, hair naturally falls out and accumulates in the drain. Over time, this hair combines with soap scum, creating a stubborn blockage. This mixture of hair and soap residue can form clumps that obstruct the flow of water, leading to slow drainage or complete blockages.

Food Particles and Grease Clogging Kitchen Sink Drains

In the kitchen, sinks are prone to blockages caused by food particles and grease. When washing dishes, small food particles often find their way into the drain. If these particles are not adequately rinsed away, they can accumulate and cause a blockage. Additionally, pouring grease down the sink is a common mistake. As grease cools, it solidifies, sticking to the pipes and trapping other debris, eventually leading to a clogged drain.

Toilet Paper and Waste Causing Blockages in Toilet Drains

Toilets are designed to handle human waste and toilet paper, but excessive use of toilet paper or flushing inappropriate items can cause blockages. Flushing items such as wet wipes, sanitary products, and paper towels can result in severe blockages, as these materials do not break down easily in water. Even thick or excessive amounts of toilet paper can create a clog, leading to an overflowing toilet and potential water damage.

Tree Roots Invading Underground Sewer Lines

Tree roots are a less obvious but significant cause of blocked drains, especially in older properties. As trees grow, their roots naturally seek out moisture and nutrients. Unfortunately, this often leads them to infiltrate underground sewer lines through small cracks or joints. Once inside, the roots can expand and create blockages, obstructing the flow of wastewater and causing backups in the plumbing system.

How to Prevent Blocked Drains

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to blocked drains. By adopting some simple habits and regular maintenance routines, you can keep your drains clear and avoid the hassle of dealing with blockages.

Regularly Clean and Maintain Drains Using Natural or Commercial Drain Cleaners

Regular maintenance is key to preventing blocked drains. Using natural or commercial drain cleaners periodically can help keep your drains clear. Natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar are effective and environmentally friendly options. Simply pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the drain, let it sit for a few minutes, then flush with hot water. Commercial drain cleaners can also be used but should be handled with care due to their chemical content.

Dispose of Food Waste Properly and Avoid Pouring Grease Down the Sink

Proper disposal of food waste can significantly reduce the risk of kitchen sink blockages. Use a sink strainer to catch food particles and dispose of them in the trash or compost. Avoid pouring grease down the sink; instead, let it cool and solidify, then discard it in the trash. These simple practices can prevent food and grease from accumulating in your pipes.

Use a Drain Strainer in Shower and Kitchen Sink Drains to Catch Hair and Debris

A drain strainer is an inexpensive and effective tool to prevent blockages. In the shower, a strainer can catch hair before it enters the drain, making it easy to remove and dispose of. Similarly, using a strainer in the kitchen sink can catch food particles and prevent them from going down the drain. Regularly emptying and cleaning these strainers will ensure they remain effective.

Avoid Flushing Non-Flushable Items Down the Toilet

Only flush items that are meant to be flushed. Avoid flushing non-flushable items such as wet wipes, sanitary products, paper towels, and other foreign objects. Educate everyone in your household about what can and cannot be flushed to prevent accidental blockages. When in doubt, it’s better to dispose of questionable items in the trash rather than risking a toilet clog.

Schedule Routine Maintenance and Inspections by a Professional Plumber

Routine maintenance and inspections by a professional plumber can identify potential issues before they become serious problems. A plumber can perform thorough inspections, clean your drains, and address any minor blockages or damages. Scheduling regular check-ups, especially for older properties, can help maintain your plumbing system’s health and prevent costly repairs down the line.

Close up shot of hands pulling hair out of drain

Benefits of Preventing Blocked Drains

Preventing blocked drains offers numerous advantages beyond the immediate relief of not having to deal with clogs. These benefits can enhance your property’s overall health and save you significant time and money.

Avoid Expensive Repair Costs

Preventing blocked drains can save you from expensive repair bills. Addressing blockages early or preventing them altogether reduces the risk of severe plumbing issues that require costly professional intervention. Simple preventive measures can protect your budget and prevent unnecessary expenses.

Maintain Proper Functioning of Plumbing Systems

Clear drains ensure that your plumbing system functions smoothly. When drains are free from blockages, water flows efficiently, and appliances connected to your plumbing system work optimally. This means fewer disruptions to your daily routines and a more comfortable living environment.

Prevent Foul Odours and Water Damage in the Property

Blocked drains can cause unpleasant odours and even water damage if left unaddressed. Stagnant water and decaying debris trapped in your pipes emit foul smells that can permeate your home. Additionally, severe blockages can lead to leaks or overflows, causing water damage to floors, walls, and ceilings. Preventing blockages helps maintain a clean, odour-free, and safe living space.

Understanding the common reasons for blocked drains and implementing preventive measures can significantly improve your plumbing system’s efficiency and longevity. Hair, soap scum, food particles, grease, toilet paper, and tree roots are all common culprits behind blocked drains. However, with regular cleaning, proper waste disposal, the use of strainers, and professional maintenance, you can keep your drains clear and avoid the hassles and costs associated with blockages.

By taking proactive measures, you can maintain the proper functioning of your plumbing system, avoid expensive repairs, and ensure a clean and pleasant living environment. Don’t wait until you face a severe blockage; start implementing these preventive tips today. If you encounter persistent drain issues, consider scheduling a professional drain cleaning service to address the problem effectively.

Need Help? Call EVR Plumbing!

If you’re struggling with blocked drains or need professional advice on maintaining clear pipes, EVR Plumbing is here to help. Our team of experienced plumbers is equipped with the latest tools and techniques to handle any drain-related issue. From routine maintenance to emergency blockages, EVR Plumbing offers reliable and efficient services to keep your plumbing system in top condition. Don’t let a blocked drain disrupt your life—contact EVR Plumbing today for expert assistance.


What should I do if my drain is already blocked?

If your drain is blocked, try using a plunger or a drain snake to clear the obstruction. If these methods don’t work, it’s best to call a professional plumber to avoid causing further damage.

Can I use chemical drain cleaners regularly?

While chemical drain cleaners can be effective, they should be used sparingly as they can damage pipes over time. Natural alternatives like baking soda and vinegar are safer for regular maintenance.

How often should I have my drains professionally cleaned?

It’s recommended to have your drains professionally cleaned at least once a year. However, if you have an older property or experience frequent blockages, more frequent cleanings may be necessary.

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