Causes of Clogged Drains

Fixing a clogged drain is something which keeps us plumbers perpetually busy, but savvy homeowners can take steps to prevent some of these clogs, thereby saving time, money and frustration. There are a few common causes, some avoidable, and others not so much. Each drain is susceptible to its own set of weaknesses. Here are some of them. 

The commode

Those personal hygiene wipes which are labeled ‘flushable’ aren’t nearly as biodegradable as they need to be to be labeled ‘flushable.' Unless you have a plumbing auger and are enthusiastic about using it on a regular basis, pass on putting anything down the toilet except tissue.

The other thing a family can do is put the lid down after every use if you have small children who opt to flush random things into the toilet to see if they will go down. The answer is ‘no’: while Daddy’s toothbrush and watch may go down, they are going to create some problems. 


The shower and tub

Hair conditioner, hair, bottle caps, and small toys are the worst offenders for a drain which gets a tough workout on any given day. Shower drains in homes with a water softener have fewer problems because these families use less product than others. Nonetheless, hair is a problem, so the tub drain should be regularly maintained, and a hair catcher such as a Drain Wig or a similar item should be used.

The bathroom sink


Hair from razors has the amazing ability to combine with old toothpaste, shaving products, and soap to create a gunky build up which accumulates in the drain over a period. If a homeowner can remove the stopper, they may be able to clean it out. If it has a pivot rod, the pivot rod nut will have to be removed first. A couple of gallons of boiling water poured down the sink on a periodic basis is a non-chemical method which can help keep it running clear.

Sometimes, a curious pet will knock things into the sink (much like the curious child). Dental products, women’s hair clips, cotton balls and Q-tips are some of their favorites.

The kitchen sink

Holy guacamole! The list of things your sink doesn’t like often comes as a surprise. Carbs are a big one. The rule is, starchy products swell. Spaghetti, rice, old toast or bread, and potato peelings are some examples.  Old oil, coffee grounds, and almost anything from the cutting board, whether it is meat, vegetable or fruit. 


While a garbage disposal may seem like a marvelous convenience, it should be used sparingly in the event there are a few bits of food left on scraped plates. While it may work great for a while, it’s eventually going to meet its match, and the homeowner will end up with a clog. 

The kitchen sink can also be inadvertently abused as the result of the homeowner repotting their houseplants or cleaning their fishbowl.  Try using a small screen or even an old towel to keep things like small rocks and dirt from sneaking down the sink drain.

If drainage problems continue after all of the homeowner’s best efforts, it is probably something more serious such as a plumbing vent clog or a line clog beyond the reach of typical homeowner’s products.

Call us at King Plumbing, Heating & A/C if you need plumbing installation, plumbing repairs, rooter services or AC and heating service in the Phoenix Valley area at 480-907-0226.