Many times when our team is called for a mainline sewer cleaning, we discover the clog is caused by dropping the wrong things down the kitchen sink, toilet, and shower. These are the most common items that block up the works and cost you money on plumbing repairs and services.

1. Hair

Your hair is made out of a tough substance called keratin—the same as your fingernails. It does not degrade and will tangle with other bits of debris in your drain to form a clog. Make sure your shower has a drain that catches hair, and throw it out before it disappears down the pipe.

2. Fats and Grease

It might be tempting to dump the frying oil down the drain, but any kind of grease will solidify when it cools down. Inside your main drain, the fatty sludge will collect other bits of food, paper, and hair. It will not budge using a plunger as it suctions the clump to the side of the pipes. Place your frying fats into a disposable jug or can and toss them into your regular trash.

3. Sanitary Products

Even feminine products that are labeled biodegradable will not start to fall apart for about six months. Every time one is flushed down the system it creates a physical obstacle in the main sewer line that will start to dam up other solids in the system. Make sure to throw out any such waste in your regular garbage, as this type of waste is one of the most common culprits behind clogged bathroom drains.

4. Cat Litter

While some cat litters are labeled as flushable, they really aren't any good for your plumbing. Clay litters simply sink to the bottom of the drain. Clumping litter expands when it gets wet, so you end up with rocks in your pipes. Those that are made out of wheat or wood pellets will also expand before breaking down. When in doubt, leave the litter out of the toilet!

5. Dinner Leftovers

If you grew up with a garbage disposal unit, you got used to scraping your plate into the kitchen sink. However, if you don't have a disposal system, you need to be scraping it into the trash. The garbage disposal grinds up leftover foods into a mash that is able to be washed down your drain. Without the extra maceration, your steak and potatoes will simply jam up the pipes.

6. Diapers

Like feminine hygiene products, diapers do not dissolve in water, which means they inevitably clog up the pipes they flow through. Even a single diaper can cause a serious drain clog that can only be removed with professional drain cleaning because a diaper will never dissolve or soften. It’ll just absorb more water, which will cause it to grow larger and completely block liquid flow through the pipe.

In a septic system, diapers prevent liquid waste from exiting the system according to its design, which can (and likely will) result in a backed-up system and waste flowing backward into the toilet, tub, shower, or sinks.

Worried you might be dealing with a back-up? Check out what you should know about your septic system for tips on detecting common septic problems. 

7. Paper Towels

Do you ever use paper towels in a pinch when you run out of toilet paper? If so, now is the time to stop.

Although it might seem like both are relatively the same and safe for your plumbing system, paper towels are much thicker than toilet paper. And that means they do not dissolve as readily in water. So when you flush a wad of paper towels, it can easily get stuck in your toilet drain, and because it won’t break down quickly, it’ll likely stay there.

If you have a septic system, the same idea applies. If wads of paper towels make it through your pipes and into the septic, they’ll take a long time to break down. And that means they can prevent liquid waste from exiting the tank as it should.

If you routinely flush paper towels over long periods, you could end up with a serious septic backup. And if you get to that point, professional septic system cleaning is the only way to resolve the problem.

Get Same-Day Drain Cleaning Service in the Twin Cities

If any of your home’s or business’ drains are clogged, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team at Drain Blaster Bill's Sewer and Drain Cleaning. We specialize in comprehensive drain cleaning services for residential and commercial properties throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro. We offer same-day and 24/7 emergency service for your convenience and are a Better Business Bureau accredited company with dozens of 5-star reviews.

To get a free estimate or learn more about what we can do for you, call us at 763-913-8719 or get in touch with us online, and we’ll reach out with additional information.