Having a blocked drain can be a real pain. Not only can it be unhygienic with standing water, or even sewage or food waste coming up through the pipes, but it can also be a massive inconvenience.
Blocked drains can be caused by many things, but by far the most common is misuse, as in putting things down your sink or toilet that you shouldn’t. So with that in mind I’ve put together a handy list of things that most definitely should go in the bin, and not in your waste pipes. Some of them might seem obvious, but you’ll be amazed how many of these we find when we’re out unblocking drains.
By far the biggest cause of a blocked drain is people trying to flush nappies down the toilet. It might seem feasible with the material that a lot of modern nappies are made from, but they are not designed to be flushed down the toilet. The nappy does not degrade in water and it’ll end up stuck in the pipe and causing a blockage.
Hair is a big one for showers and sinks. The longer someone’s hair is, the it hair falls out during the washing process. For women, or indeed men with long hair, it doesn’t take long for it to start clogging up the pipes. To prevent this get a guard or trap that can catch the hair before it is washed down the pipes.
Oils and Fats
I’ve been out to a lot of blocked drains only to discover a build-up of fat in a u-bend somewhere. Oil and fat is heavier than water, so although you can flush it down a toilet of wash it down a sink, as soon as it hits a bend in the pipe it can gather and get stuck. Over time it then solidifies and clogs, resulted in a costly blockage. If you do have fat or oil to get rid of the best thing you can do is put it into a sealable container and throw it in the bin.
Wipes are another common cause of drain blockages. On their own they seem quite harmless, but together they can cause severe blockages. If you do use wipes, then please throw them in the bin and not down the toilet.
Condoms are another item that can cause drain blockages. Again they seem quite harmless to flush down the toilet, but they don’t degrade in water, and any slight blockage can be confounded by a condom and turn into a severe blockage than needs fixing. So if you need to dispose of condoms, the best place for them is in the bin.
Women use a wide range of products from sanitary towels to cotton buds. All of these items belong in the bin and not in your drains. It’s simple to keep a bin by your sink or toilet, and throw anything that can cause a blockage into the bin rather than down the toilet/sink.
We all love a cup of real coffee, and home filtered coffee is more popular than ever. But with this trend we’ve also seen a huge rise in drains getting blocked by coffee grounds and filters. All coffee grounds and tea bags should be disposed of in the bin and not into your water pipes.
Egg shells are another item that seems feasible to dispose of down your kitchen sink. But again, if there is a minor build up somewhere in your pipes then egg shells can collect and make the problem much worth. There are numerous things you can do with egg shells, but flushing them down the sink isn’t one of them.
You would be surprised how often we’re called out for a blocked drain to discover someone has tipped half a tin of paint down the sink or toilet and tried to drain it away. Not only does paint contain harmful chemicals, but it also isn’t designed to be flushed through water pipes. All paint should be sealed in a tin and disposed of along with household rubbish.
Food waste is probably the single biggest cause of blocked drains. Everyone usually has something left on their plate after they’ve finished eating, and it’s easy to think you can get away with flushing it down the sink. But the leftover food then lingers and builds up in your pipework and can cause severe (and smelly) blockages. You could get a waste disposal unit for your sink which blends the leftover food into tiny pieces before washing it away, or the best thing would be to throw any leftover food waste into the bin.
As a society our lives are filled with convenience products and we are used to getting and disposing of things quickly. But unless you think twice about your drainage system you’ll end up with a blockage that can be expensive to fix. All of the things on this list are common sense, and as you’re reading this you would agree that there is a high chance of blocking your drain if you flush any of these items into your drainage system. But the next time you’re in a hurry you’ll probably be tempted to let a few of these slip in the hope it won’t cause you a problem.
But trust me, it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself with a blocked drain, and when that time comes you’ll be calling us to fix it. So the best cure for any problem is prevention.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and if you did feel free to let me know of any other items you, or anyone you know has flushed down a sink/toilet which could have, or did cause a blockage.
Until next time, thanks for reading.