How to prevent your drains from blocking

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your sink, bath or toilet NOT drain. There’s the ‘oh no’ heart thud, the panic as you wonder what on earth you’re going to do and then the realisation that if this doesn’t clear – you’ve potentially got a big bill on your hands. We don’t know about you, but this time of year, we don’t need it. Plumbing issues are typically expensive and demand immediate attention. Not something you can put off until next month’s pay cheque. Don’t wait to witness a blocked sink. Act and do something now.

What creates blocked drains? 

Unfortunately, the throwaway nature of our society causes us to create several problems. Litter and waste are one aspect that harms our environment, but we also create issues at home by not disposing of items correctly. 

As much as technology has developed over the year, the nation’s plumbing hasn’t necessarily kept up. Ask yourself, when was the last time you updated all the plumbing in your home? Let’s face it, they’re old, narrow pipes that have to cope with a lot. So, we need to find a safe way to dispose of items in our homes that doesn’t involve putting them into our plumbing. It is these items that cause blocked drains.

We know what you’re thinking ‘I only flush things that are okay to flush’… well let’s see how true that is. 

Common items found blocking drains 

Wet wipes 

We cannot stress this enough. Wet wipes are the biggest causes of blocked drains. They are not flushable – even those ones that say they’re flushable! Never put them in the toilet. Just because they fit in the bowl doesn’t mean they’re going to fit through the plumbing. They don’t break down – and you know this – because that’s why you use them. So, your finger doesn’t rip the material while wiping surfaces or your baby’s bottom. But it’s because they don’t break down that they cause problems further down the drain.

Fats and oils 

This one is the second most problematic and it creates a blocked sink in your kitchen. When it comes to cooking, especially things like the Sunday roast, or bacon and sausages in a pan, there’s a lot of leftover grease. It might be a liquid, with a few small bits of food in it. But it does not, under any circumstance, belong in your drain. 

There are a few ways to deal with cooking fats and oils. Pour them into a jar and allow them to cool and solidify – some councils will then recycle this, or you can reuse it for another day. You can line your sinkhole with excess tin foil and then pour. Wait for it to cool then you can pop the whole thing in the bin. Alternatively, some people grab some bread, allow it to soak it all up then pop it in the oven with herbs for some tasty croutons! Take your pick and you’ll never have a blocked sink again.

Hair and floss 

Although they are most certainly not the same thing, they behave in similar ways in drains. They end up wrapping themselves around bigger items, collecting and creating bigger blockages. These are also known as fatbergs. Have you ever had it when a loose thread on a hoodie or a pair of shorts has come out during a wash and then you need to unravel it afterwards as it’s wrapped a bundle of your clothes together? Yep, it’s the same thing. But with gross hair, floss and goodness knows whatever else is lurking in the plumbing.

The easiest way to prevent your drains from blocking is remembering that you shouldn’t be putting anything physical in them. The kitchen sink should only drain water. The bathroom sink is the same. Your bath/show drain – just water (and soap but even bath bombs that don’t dissolve are dangerous!). Your toilet is the only thing that will see more than water. But only pee, paper, and poo. It’s really that simple. Anything more and you might be calling the plumber later in the year.

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