Frequently slow or completely blocked household drains are a major annoyance. Aside from being inconvenient and unpleasant, drain clogs can contribute to potentially serious plumbing complications, too. If a blockage becomes severe, it can even damage your pipes, which may necessitate expensive, emergency plumbing repairs.

Luckily, maintaining clean, free-flowing drains isn’t tough when you know what’s likely stopping them up in the first place. In this blog, we’re revealing the most common culprits behind clogged household drains, along with what you can do to keep these items out of your pipes.


Human hair, dog hair, and other thin, stringy items (dental floss, for example) are common culprits behind clogs in bathroom sink, shower, bathtub, and laundry drains. When hair enters these drains, it can stick to soap residue and other substances inside the pipe, which will eventually create a mass of thick, goopy, stringy sludge.

What’s the fix for hairy drain clogs? You can try using a plunger to dislodge the blockage and get the drain flowing again. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to call in the experts. A drain cleaning specialist can perform a drain camera inspection to locate the offending blockage and use a drain snake or water jetting to break it up.

Since bathtubs and showers are typically the most susceptible to hair-based blockages, consider installing strainers on these drains to help prevent hair from entering the drain opening. 

Soap Scum

Bathroom and laundry drains are particularly susceptible to soap scum buildup, which can contribute to slow drainage or pipe backups over time. Soap residue along the interior walls of a drain can also combine with other solid substances that enter the pipe, such as hair and dirt, which may also contribute to drainage problems.

How do you fix this type of clog? Call in the pros. Water jetting will remove all buildup along the interior walls of the drain and restore proper flow. If you frequently deal with drainage issues related to soap residue buildup, it may be time to start using a different type of soap.

Diapers and Sanitary Products

Human waste and toilet paper are the only solids that belong in your toilet. Even “flushable” wipes aren’t actually safe for your plumbing system and can damage it with repeated use. Diapers (both the baby and adult type), feminine products, and any type of wipes can create massive blockages in a toilet drain, which can be difficult to dislodge without professional help.

The fix? If you think there’s a diaper lodged in your toilet drain, you can try to dislodge it with a plunger, but don’t be surprised if you’re efforts don’t work. Usually, these types of severe clogs require the tools and expertise of a professional drain cleaning specialist. A drain auger or high-pressure water jetting will clear the clog in no time flat.

It’s important to note that even an excessive amount of thick, quilted toilet paper can cause drain clogs. If you’re devoted to the soft stuff, try to limit the amount you use and encourage other household members to do the same. If you’re fairly indifferent about your toilet paper, consider making the switch to one-ply tissue since it breaks down much faster in water.

Food Particles and Fatty Substances

Are you guilty of pouring a little leftover oil or grease down your kitchen sink drain or into your toilet? It’s easy to assume this habit is relatively harmless, but truth is, it’s doing a lot more harm than you think.

Oils, fats, and greasy substances never belong in your drains, nor do food particles (unless you have a garbage disposal). And no, running hot water down the drain while you pour food or oils into it doesn’t help prevent problems.

When oils and fats solidify, they can trap other incoming particles, which will create a dense, sludgy blockage over time. Greasy substances can also create gooey residue along the interior walls of the pipes, which will slow down drainage. 

What’s the fix for drain clogs related to oil and food buildup? Try plunging the drain to see that helps get things moving. If a plunger doesn’t help, you can try an enzyme-based cleaner to help restore flow, but that’s only a temporary solution. Your best bet is to schedule a water jetting appointment to eliminate any food particles and greasy residue that’s slowing down your drains.

To prevent these types of clogs from building, always dispose of food, oil, and greasy substances in the trash, not in your sinks or toilets.

Limescale Buildup

If you have hard water, mineral deposits along the interior of your pipes can contribute to slow drainage over time. If you’re currently dealing with drainage problems that may be related to limescale buildup, water jetting is a great solution.

It’s also worth noting that using a water softener can prevent this type of buildup from forming. If you don’t already have one, it may be time to consider implementing a softening system. And if you currently have a softener but still have limescale, make sure you’re adding salt to the tank at regular intervals.

Accidentally Flushed Objects

Do you have young children? Then it’s in your best interest to educate them on the importance of keeping their toys out of the toilet. It’s not uncommon for kids to flush small objects while they’re playing, and those objects can create severe blockages inside the drain.

If you already have a clogged toilet and suspect a toy might be the culprit, try using a plunger to see if you can dislodge it. If that doesn’t work, you’ll probably need a drain auger to get the job done. If you’re unsure how to use a drain snake safely, call a drain cleaning specialist who can handle the job for you.

Need Professional Drain Cleaning? Contact Drain Blaster Bill

If you’re dealing with slow drains or blockages in your Twin Cities home, don’t hesitate to contact Drain Blaster Bill’s for comprehensive drain cleaning. We offer same-day service and

24/7 emergency drain cleaning and serve homes throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro.

Give us a call at 763-913-8719 or request a free estimate online to get started!