10 Common Causes of Clogged Drains You Need to Know - Z and Z Plumbing

10 Common Causes of Clogged Drains You Need to Know

Clogged Drain

Clogged drains are one of the most annoying and inconvenient problems that homeowners face. They can cause water damage, foul odors, health hazards, and plumbing emergencies. But what causes drains to clog in the first place? And how can you prevent or fix them?

In this blog post, we will explore 10 common causes of clogged drains and how to deal with them. We will also share some tips on how to keep your drains clear and flowing smoothly. Whether you have a clogged drain in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or basement, we have the solutions for you.

1. Hair

Hair is one of the most common culprits behind clogged drains. Human hair (as well as animal fur) can easily get tangled and trapped in pipes, especially when mixed with soap scum or grease. Hair can accumulate over time and form a solid mass that blocks water flow.

The best way to prevent hair from clogging your drains is to use a drain strainer or screen that catches hair before it goes down the drain. You should also regularly clean your drain strainer or screen and remove any hair that gets stuck on it. If you have a lot of hair in your shower or bathtub drain, you can use a plunger or a snake tool to dislodge it.

2. Soap

Soap may seem harmless, but it can actually cause problems for your drains. Soap residue, known as soap scum, can build up along the walls of pipes and reduce their diameter. Soap scum can also harden and stick to other debris in the pipes, such as hair or dirt.

To avoid soap scum from clogging your drains, you should use liquid soap instead of bar soap whenever possible. Liquid soap contains less fat and lye than bar soap and is less likely to leave behind residue. You should also rinse your pipes with hot water after using soap to dissolve any remaining scum.

3. Dirt

Dirt may seem like something that belongs in the drain, but it can actually cause clogs if too much of it accumulates in the pipes. Dirt can come from various sources, such as washing clothes or shoes, gardening activities, or outdoor cleaning tasks.

To prevent dirt from clogging your drains, you should shake off any excess dirt from your clothes or shoes before washing them. You should also avoid washing large amounts of dirt down the drain at once; instead, use a bucket or a hose outside to dispose of it properly.

4. Grease

Grease is another common cause of clogged drains in the kitchen. Grease comes from cooking oil, butter, margarine, lard, bacon fat, and other fatty substances that are used for frying or baking food. Grease can easily solidify in the pipes and form a thick coating that prevents water flow.

The best way to prevent grease from clogging your drains is to never pour it down the drain in the first place. Instead, you should let grease cool down and solidify in a container, then throw it away in the trash. You can also wipe off any grease from pots, pans, dishes, and utensils with paper towels before washing them. If you have grease buildup in your pipes, you can try pouring boiling water mixed with vinegar or baking soda down the drain to loosen it up.

5. Food Waste

Food waste is another common cause of clogged drains in the kitchen. Food waste includes scraps, peels, seeds, bones, shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, and other leftover food items that are thrown into the sink. Food waste can get stuck in the pipes and create unpleasant smells and attract pests.

The best way to prevent food waste from clogging your drains is to use a garbage disposal unit that grinds up food waste into small pieces that can pass through the pipes easily. You should also run cold water while using the garbage disposal unit to flush away any particles. If you don’t have a garbage disposal unit, you should scrape off any food waste from plates and dishes into a compost bin or trash can before rinsing them.

6. Foreign Objects

Foreign objects are anything that doesn’t belong in the drain but somehow ends up there anyway. Foreign objects include toys jewelry cotton swabs dental floss paper towels sanitary products diapers and other items that are accidentally dropped into or flushed down the sink or toilet. Foreign objects can block or damage the pipes and cause backups or overflows.

The best way to prevent foreign objects from clogging your drains is to be careful about what you put in them. You should never flush anything down the toilet that is not meant to be flushed, such as paper towels, sanitary products, diapers, or wipes. You should also keep small items away from sinks and bathtubs, especially if you have children or pets who may drop them accidentally.

If you have a foreign object stuck in your drain, you may need to use a special tool or technique to remove it. For example, you can use a zip-it tool, a plunger, a snake tool, a vacuum, or a magnet to retrieve different types of objects from different types of drains. If you are not sure how to do it safely and effectively, you should call a professional plumber for help.

7. Tree Roots

Tree roots are another common cause of clogged drains outside your home. Tree roots can grow into cracks or joints in sewer pipes and create blockages or leaks. Tree roots can also wrap around pipes and crush them over time.

To prevent tree roots from clogging your drains, you should avoid planting trees near your sewer lines or choose trees that have shallow root systems. You should also inspect your sewer lines regularly for signs of damage or intrusion by tree roots. If you have tree roots in your pipes, you may need to use chemical treatments or mechanical methods to remove them.

8. Hard Water

Hard water is water that contains high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Hard water can cause problems for your drains by forming scale deposits on the walls of pipes and reducing their diameter. Scale deposits can also trap other debris in the pipes and create clogs.

To avoid hard water from clogging your drains, you should install a water softener system that removes excess minerals from your water supply. You should also regularly clean your pipes with vinegar or citric acid solutions that dissolve scale deposits.

9. Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is designed to be flushed down the toilet, but too much of it can cause clogs if it doesn’t dissolve quickly enough or if it gets stuck on something else in the pipes. Toilet paper can also absorb water and expand in size, making it harder to flush away.

To prevent toilet paper from clogging your drains, you should use only the amount that you need and avoid flushing multiple layers at once. You should also choose toilet paper that is biodegradable and septic-safe, which means it breaks down easily in water and doesn’t harm the environment. If you have toilet paper buildup in your pipes, you can try using a plunger or a snake tool to clear it out.3

10. Sewer Line Problems

Sewer line problems are not caused by anything inside your home, but by issues with the main sewer line that connects your home to the municipal sewer system. Sewer line problems include cracks, breaks, collapses, or misalignments that affect the flow of wastewater. Sewer line problems can also be caused by external factors such as heavy rain, flooding, earthquakes, or construction work.

To prevent sewer line problems from clogging your drains, you should maintain proper drainage around your home and avoid putting excess pressure on the sewer line. You should also watch out for signs of sewer line problems such as gurgling noises, slow drainage, sewage backups, foul smells, or wet spots in your yard.4 If you suspect that you have a sewer line problem, you should contact a professional plumber immediately for inspection and repair.


Clogged drains are common but preventable plumbing issues that can affect any home. By knowing what causes them and how to fix them,

you can keep your drains clear and flowing smoothly.

However, if you have a stubborn or recurring clog that you can’t handle on your own, you should call a professional plumber for help. A professional plumber has the skills, tools, and experience to deal with any type of clogged drain and restore your plumbing system to its optimal condition.

That’s where Z and Z Plumbing comes in. We are a top plumbing company in Oakland CA that offers reliable and affordable plumbing services and maintenance. Whether you need drain cleaning, sewer repair, leak detection, water heater installation, or any other plumbing service, we have you covered.

We have a team of licensed and insured plumbers who are ready to serve you 24/7. We use the latest technology and equipment to ensure quality workmanship and customer satisfaction. We also offer free estimates and upfront pricing so you know what to expect before we start working.

Don’t let clogged drains ruin your day or damage your home. Contact Z and Z Plumbing today and let us take care of all your plumbing needs. You can call us at (phone number) or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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