What Causes a Drain to Get Clogged?

Drain and Toilet Clogs Services

Clogged drain issues

One of the most frustrating things is a clogged drain. Whether it’s a kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or worse, the bathtub drain, a clogged drain can stop the entire day. How does a clogged drain happen?  

In the bathroom or the kitchen, a clogged drain or blocked pipes can begin as a minor issue, but if they aren’t addressed and cleared, major problems can happen. A clogged drain not only slows or stops water draining, but it can create a flood and cause corrosion too. This all leads to expensive repairs. 

The following 8 are the most common causes for clogged drain, but they can be prevented when you know what causes a drain to clog. Just in case they still happen, we have also provided a fix for them too: 

  • HAIR: Hair doesn’t just cause clogged drains by itself. It is the culprit for collecting all things that cause clogged drains and blockages. Hair binds with fat, grease, and other sticky substances and before long, you have a clogged rain. Prevention is the best way to handle a hair clogged drain. This can be done by placing drain guards on any drain where hair is a daily thing, typically the bathroom sink, shower, or tub. 
  • SOAP: You probably thinking that soap is for cleaning, so how can it cause a blocked or clogged drain? The traditional soap bar has fat or grease in its content. When you combine fat or grease substance with the minerals our water has, it creates a hard residue, otherwise referred to as soap scum. That scum causes clogged drains and also is guilty of staining the bath fittings. An easy way to stop this is by changing to a soap free bathing product and not only will stop the soap scum clogged drains, but it will pressure clean your pipes, removing any trace of existing soap buildup.
  • DIRT: Yes, the sink, shower and tub are made to wash things in, but when you’ve been out gardening and take a shower, the excess dirt is too much for pipes and clogged drains are the results. Brush off the excess dirt from your hands, arms, and legs, and shake your clothes off before you take them off too. That same excess dirt will cause clogged drains for the washing machine too. 
  • FOOD WASTE: Yes, your garbage disposal is meant to rid food waste, but some foods aren’t garbage disposal friendly, and they aren’t drain friendly either. You can always start a compost pile with your food waste, including coffee grounds and tea leaves. These are two of the worse things you can put down a drain or garbage disposal. Other things to avoid that are known for clogged drains are fats, grease, and oil because they become solid when mixed with water.
  • MINERAL BUILDUP: All tap water has minerals, and if you have hard water, you have a higher content of minerals. Those minerals build up and creates insoluble masses that cause clogged drains. You can install a water soften which will minimize, even eliminate that from happening. If a water softener isn’t possible, have a professional plumber descale and remove sediment build up once a year. 
  • SMALL FOREIGN OBJECTS: Small foreign objects that get into the plumbing line will not just cause clogged drains but wreak a level of havoc you don’t need or want. The only thing that should be flushed down the toilet is human waste, toilet paper, and water. Other objects and substances should go in a compost pile, the recycle bin, or the trash. Usually when small foreign objects get in the plumbing, it takes a professional plumber to remove it and get the plumbing working normal again. 
  • TOILET PAPER BUILDUP: This is often common when you have toddlers and small children. Too much toilet paper can cause clogged drains and stop a toilet up fast. If the water is still getting through the wad of toilet paper, you can usually plunge it on through. But if the toilet has a major clogged drain, you need to call your plumber because it is probably going to take professional snaking to clear your toilet.
  • TREE ROOTS: As underground pipes age, they will get small cracks that being to leak a little water. That water attracts tree roots, and those tree roots will get inside the pipes. Then you have blocked pipes and that leads to clogged drains. Clearing your pipes of those tree roots is a job for a professional plumber. There will be a lot of digging and excavating in many cases, sometimes, they can do the work with a new trenchless method. 

How much does it cost to clean a clogged drain?

 Because several of the examples we listed suggest that you’ll need to call a professional plumber for cleaning a clogged drain, you probably wonder how expensive is that going to be, right?  Well, many plumbing companies charge a flat rate which can be as little as $50 and as much as $150 for the first hour.  If you’re lucky, they’ll get that clogged drain cleared quick! 

On the average, across the country, a clogged drain cleaning can cost as much as $180.00. When it really gets expensive is when there are tree roots in your underground lines. Regardless of whether the plumber has to trench your lawn, or they can go it trenchless, if there is any act of dirt digging, you could be looking at $500 or more. 

What to use to clean blocked drain?

One of the easiest ways is a mixture process of hot water, baking soda and white vinegar. Start by pouring some really hot water into the clogged drain, then add an equal amount of baking soda and white vinegar. The baking soda should go in after the hot water and before the vinegar. Then cover the drain and allow it to sit for no less than 20 minutes and no longer than 30. 

Then pour hot water into the clogged drain again. It will take a minute or two for the hot water to get through the baking soda and the clogged drain. You can use this method on a regular basis, once a month or every 6 weeks to keep your drain clean and clear.

How do you unclog a drain naturally?

The above described process of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar, you can use one of the following methods: 

  • Baking Soda and Salt: Pour half a up of each into the clogged drain and wait 15 minutes. Then pour boiling hot water and within a few minutes (even seconds) you’ll have an all-natural aggressive chemical reacting with the clogged drain. This is great for those tough bathroom sink clogs. 
  • Boiling Water: If a clogged drain isn’t too severe, hot water can clear it pretty quick. Just keep pouring boiling water into the clogged drain every 10 to 15 minutes. If the clogged drain is primarily soap scum, it will melt it away. 
  • Wet and Dry Shop Vac: Yes, that good old shop vacuum out in your garage can be an ideal way to clear a clogged drain. 
  • A Wire Hanger: This clogged drain cleaner is more involved but can usually get what the other methods describe can’t.  Straighten out a wire coat hanger and shove the curved end down the clogged drain, and “go fish”. 

Can too much baking soda clog a drain?

Yes, if you haven’t mixed it with the hot water and vinegar as suggested and never use more than a half a cup at one time! 

Is Drano really bad for pipes?

Well, the makers of Drano will tell you no, it is not bad for pipes. However, experienced plumbers will tell you yes, it can damage pipes. Why do they say that?  Pouring Drano into a clogged drain creates several chemical reactions at one time.

With sodium hydroxide, the main ingredient, aka lye, which decomposes most of the organic matter like grease and hair. There are shards of aluminum in lye, which creates a strong reaction, generating near-boiling hot heat to speed up the decomposing process. As it sits there “boiling” it is continuing to generate more heat, and that heat begins to crack toilets, soften, and break PVC pipes, and if any pipes are corroded and old, Drano will eat away at them, damaging them. Call (770) 672-0095 today for your drain cleaning needs in Marietta, GA.

Scroll to Top