What Causes a Drain To Clog?

A woman unclogging a sink drain in a Toronto, ON home.

We use various types of drains throughout our day, whether prepping food in the kitchen or taking a shower to wind down for the night. Of course, it can be easy to overlook the items that we throw down our drains. That is—until we encounter an unexpected drain clog.

If you’re looking for ways to avoid a clogged sink, shower, or toilet in the future, it’s vital to learn what causes a drain to clog in the first place. Here are the five most common causes of clogged drains:

1. Food Particles

It can be tempting to throw all kinds of food waste down your garbage disposal. However, some food scraps can cause issues for your garbage and drains.

For instance, garbage disposals cannot break down tough food items, such as bones. Also, bones can easily get lodged within your drains, resulting in a blockage. If you throw bones down your drains, you may need to call a plumber to fix garbage disposal problems.

What causes a drain to clog regarding other food items? Types of food waste you should keep out of your drains include pasta, rice, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Coffee grounds and eggshells don’t break down and can cause unnecessary drain issues. 

Also, grease and oil may appear harmless, but they can quickly solidify and clog your pipes. We can keep our kitchen sinks clear by simply disposing of these items in the trash can.

2. Soap Scum

Do you use bar soaps regularly? Unfortunately, soap scum from bar soap is one of the most common causes of clogged drains. Most bar soaps contain fats or grease, which can harden in your drains. The more scum buildup, the slower your drains get—until, eventually, they become completely blocked. The soap residue left behind by these products can easily turn a clean drain into a clogged crisis. 

3. Long Hair

What causes a drain to clog in the bathroom? If you encounter blocked bathroom sinks, there’s a high chance that hair is to blame. Long, tangled hair can wreak havoc on your drain piping. However, a buildup of short hair can just as easily clog your drains. You can potentially avoid this issue by brushing your hair away from the sink and regularly cleaning hairs out of the sink if you see them.

4. Tree Roots

When discussing the common causes of clogged drains, it’s impossible not to mention tree roots. Although you may not be aware of them, tree root intrusions are a leading cause of water and sewer line blockages. If tree roots are to blame for your clogged drain, it’s vital to call a professional plumber as soon as possible to fix the issue.

5. Small Objects

As you can see, there are many common causes of clogged drains. Then, it stands to reason that small objects can easily lead to clogged toilets and sink drains.

You should also keep paper towels, flushable wipes, cat litter, and feminine products such as tampons away from your toilet. These items aren’t designed to be flushed and can quickly lead to clogged toilets. Cat litter clogs pipes because it solidifies after being exposed to moisture. 

When in doubt, remember to only put toilet paper down your toilets.

Clear Your Drains With the Experts

There are several common causes of clogged drains, and none of them should be taken lightly. After all, the effects of clogged drainage can include slow-moving drains, water backups, bubbling toilets, unpleasant odors, and more.

Now that you know what causes a drain to clog, you may be wondering if store-bought drain cleaners are the right solution. Unfortunately, these drain cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can damage your drains beyond repair, causing more harm than good. Instead, it’s best to schedule a drain cleaning service with a professional plumber.

Same Day Plumbing offers Toronto drain cleaning services that are safe and dependable. Contact us to learn more about our drain cleanings today!