Top 10 Things That Will Block Your Drains

Blocked waste pipes

Are you are wondering 'Why are my drains always blocked?'

Here are the top 10 things that will block your drainage pipes.

1. Baby Wipes

Never flush baby wipes down the toilet. Do not attempt to dissolve baby wipes in your toilet. Baby wipes are designed to be durable, which means it takes a long time for them to break down in water. Their durability means they do a great job of keeping your baby clean, but it also makes them unsuitable for flushing. Wipes can also get caught on tight bends or pipework with an insufficiant fall.

Can I put flushable toilet wipes down the toilet?

In recent years, wastewater treatment officials around the country have been begging people to stop flushing wet wipes, even if manufacturers say it's safe. Manufacturers of wipes have been able to use the "fine to flush" symbol on their packaging provided that the relevant product passes Water UK’s stringent tests. The symbol is intended to reassure consumers that the products do not contain plastic and will break down in the sewer system instead of clogging up sewers. However, most brands still adhere to standards set by the European industry body Edana allowing products to be labelled as "flushable" even though they do not break down quickly when they enter the sewer system. Many are full of plastic or wood pulp.

2. Food

It doesn’t take much to block a waste pipe. The odd piece of pasta here and there can do more damage than you think. Things like pasta and rice, they will soak up a lot of water and can easily expand and block your waste pipes.

3. Oil

Anything that is fatty or greasy is definitely bad for your drain. Pouring any kind of oil down your drain will eventually result in a blocked drain pipe. Oil or grease may look like it goes down the drain fine, however, once it cools down, it can cling to your drainpipes. Eventually, the coating builds up over time, causing severe blockages.

Never pour oil directly down a drain. If you have a little oil on a frying pan, squirt a fair amount washing up liquid onto the oil then rinse with hot water before pooring into the drain.

4. Coffee

Pouring coffee and coffee grounds down the sink will end up in a disaster, especially coffee grounds. Coffee grounds clump together in water rather than breaking down. In time, the grounds will build up inside your sink drain pipes, creating a blockage. If you are a regular coffee drinker, throwing your last bit of cold coffee down the sink without flushing it away with extra water will over time block your sink trap and possibly your entire waste pipe.

5. Paper Towels

Maybe you ran out of toilet paper and used paper towels in desperation. Or you were cleaning the bathroom and flushed a paper towel down the toilet to get rid of it. Paper towels are super absorbent, which means instead of breaking down like toilet paper, they will absorb water. This causes them to expand and block the drain. They are usually a lot larger than normal toilet paper sheets this means they will not flush away completely, leading to a build-up and future blockage of the main soil drain.

6. Toilet Bowl Fresheners

Toilet bowl fresheners, especially the ones that clip onto the side of the toilet bowl. These can become un-clipped and flushed accidentally. They then get stuck in the toilet u bend or pipe connection (pan connector) at the back, resulting in a major toilet blockage.

7. Hair

No explanation needed here, surely. The old classic, hair in the plug hole situation. This can be easily maintained with various methods, hair traps etc. If you see it, don't let it build up, pull it out!

8. Soap & Toothpaste

Many homeowners will be shocked to discover that their pipes are being blocked because of the type of soap they are using. This is most likely to happen for individuals who use bar soaps. While they may smell good or come in fun colours and designs, bar soaps often leave a thin film behind on both your hands and your pipes.

Toothpaste - It may take a lot of toothpaste residue to really block your bathroom sink, but in conjunction with everything else slipping down your drain, it’s not uncommon. Toothpaste is sticky and thick. If not rinsed down the drain thoroughly, it can catch other drain blocking items like hair.

9. Bath Bombs, Bath Salts & Bath Oils

Yes, unfortunately, it’s true, bath bombs can cause blockages in your drain. Sometimes the salts don’t dissolve. Partially dissolved bath salts will clog your drains. Bits of undissolved bath bombs can become caught in the drain, which will then catch on hair and other pieces of debris.

Bath oils can also clog your drains. From reading this article, you already know now that it’s a bad idea to flush oil down the drain. Bath oils will congeal when cold and can stick to the inside of traps leading to clogs. Some bath bombs can contain oils. Some fancy types of bath bombs will contain undissolvable pieces like flower petals, confetti, glitter and more. These little pieces look cool when floating around in the bathtub, but they can block your drain.

10. Children!

Yes children... not literally (lol). Whether it's a small toy, those miniature shampoo bottles you "found" at that hotel, or their dads best £50 bottle of aftershave, children seem to have a natural knack for blocking toilets. These small hard items can easily fit past the toilet u bend, but... What happens? They get stuck! You may not notice at first and the toilet could still flush a few times without any problems, but eventually a build up will occur.

Try to keep these or similar small items out of reach from children, and just hopefully, its only toilet paper you'll have to deal with.


If you would like to contact us regarding a blocked pipe in the Bristol area, you can send us a message using the contact page or simply call us direct on 01179 012027 where we will be happy to take your call.