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Drain unblocking – common causes of drain blockages

Are you getting tired of slow draining water, or bad smells coming from your plughole? There’s a good chance you’ve got a blockage somewhere. There are different types of drain blockages; some very serious, others less serious and more of a nuisance. Left unchecked though and any blockage can become a serious problem.

While Clear-flow can help clear blockages when they occur, it’s worth knowing some of the common causes of blockages so you can take preventative steps to limit these blockages in the first place.

Food waste

When you’re washing your dinner plates, pots and pans, you’ll often find that food finds its way down your sink drain. If you flush too much food down the sink it can get stuck and lead to blockages, preventing your kitchen sink from draining away properly and causing a smell in your kitchen.

Make sure that you scrape any unwanted food, sauce and even coffee granules into your food waste bin or onto compost before washing your dishes.

Our preventative tip: A guard for your plughole can help keep larger bits of food from going down your drain.

Fats and Oils

Much like unwanted food, fat drained off meat while cooking or oils in a pan can cause real problems for your pipes; you should always siphon off any grease into an unwanted container and throw it away. Once it’s solidified in the drain, it’s very tough to clear and will likely require the expertise of a professional drain blocker to rectify!

Our preventative tip: Don’t ever pour fat down the sink – end of story!

Autumn leaves

Leaves falling off the trees in autumn is inevitable. Heavier rainfall can wash them away, where they can collect in gutters and drainpipes, leaving your outside drains clogged. If you’ve noticed leaves piling up in your garden or around your home, we recommend getting out your rake and recycling them in an appropriate manner.

Our preventative tip: As well as staying on top of keeping the outside of your home clear of leaves, install an outdoor drain cover to catch those rogue leaves that escape your rake!


There are few things nicer in the morning than a warn shower to get the day started. Yet all that grooming can lead to hair going down the drain and getting stuck in the pipes. Long hair is one big culprit, but facial hair can also add to the issue. Over time, hair can build up and cause rather nasty blockages that you’ll first notice with shower water draining away more slowly or pooling around the drain hole.

You can try baking soda and vinegar, bleach or a drain snake or hook to clear the problem, with varying levels of success. If you find your water still doesn’t drain away properly, call us here at Clear-flow to help sort the problem.

Our preventative tip: Invest in hair guards for your bathroom sinks and drains. They shouldn’t cost you much and can reap big savings in future!

Wet wipes and sanitary products

We’ve heard it time and again in the news that wet wipes and tampons cause huge problems in our drain systems; a huge sewer blockage in London in 2019 known as the Fatberg grew to 40 tonnes in size and was made up of fat, grease and other materials that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet like wet wipes.

They don’t just cause problems further down the drain network, they can also be a huge hazard to your own pipework at home. They don’t break down the same way that toilet paper does, so they can clog your drains for a long time to come.

Our preventative tip: Always bin these items – including wet wipes that say they’re flushable, as quite often they can cause as much damage as flushing any other type of wet wipe. Only flush the 3 p’s – pee, paper and poo!

Prevention is always better than a cure, but in some cases it just isn’t possible to avoid drain blockages. If you find yourself faced with bad smells, slow flowing water and gurgling noises coming from your pipes, it’s time to investigate. At this stage, the best thing you can do is call a professional drain unblocking service like Clear-flow.

We will be able to accurately assess the problem using our equipment and take the necessary steps to clear that blockage and get the water flowing again.

Clear-flow are experts in unblocking drains, regardless of what has caused the blockage. If you have a blocked drain and need a CCTV drainage survey to find out what’s gone wrong or just want it cleared, call us on 0800 317 082.