Daily Bulletin

House & Garden

  • Written by Samantha Ball

A blocked drain is bad enough on its own, but the smelly overflow that comes with it makes it that much worse. Blockages can be caused by several factors, both inside and outside your home. Though collapsed pipes will require a plumber, you can prevent blocked drains, stinky overflow, and long-term damage by taking note of their most common causes. 

Tree Roots

The roots of older trees tend to extend far beyond the reach of their branches. Sometimes these roots grow so far out that they puncture water pipes. These blockages take a professional to repair, so be sure to reach out to someone if you think a tree on your property has the potential to cause you trouble in the future. 


Toiletries such as wipes and cotton swabs should always go in the bin, no matter how small and flushable they may seem. Simply put, if it's not toilet paper, don't flush it.

Reckless Flushing

Children love flushing things that shouldn't go down the toilet. Whether it's toothbrushes, action figures, or tiny toy cars, these foreign objects can block up your toilet and cause some very unfortunate overflow. You can avoid these situations by having a family meeting about proper flushing etiquette.

Cooking Oil

Cooking oil goes in the bin, not the sink. Don't be fooled by its liquid form! If you pour cooking oil, or cooking grease, down the drain, it'll start to congeal once it cools, blocking your drain.

Food Scraps

Food scraps should be put in the compost pile, not down the drain. Food scraps pile up quickly and clog your pipes, even if you're using a garbage disposal.

Mineral Build-Up

A little known cause of clogged pipes and eventual overflow is mineral build-up. If not filtered by a water softener, certain minerals will lump together into insoluble masses. These can be expensive to remove, so a water softener may be worth the investment.


Did you know that the soap we use to clean ourselves is usually made of fat and grease? These ingredients can cause soap build-up, which can block your drains and clog your pipes. If you tend to have trouble with your shower or bathroom sink veins, consider opting for a new soap with alternative ingredients and using water softeners


Hair is a major drain clogger, especially if you have lots of long-haired family members. You can avoid these common clogs by buying a drain catcher for your shower. They're very affordable and are guaranteed to save you money in the long run. It's definitely better than having to pull the hair out of the drain with your fingers!

Natural Debris

Natural debris like leaves and soil typically left behind by harsh weather can do a number on your pipes and drains. The best way of keeping your pipes from getting clogged up with this debris is to keep your gutters clean.

Cat Litter

Cat litter is way more dangerous than it looks. The reason? When combined with water, the contents of cat litter clump together and clog up your pipes. Always throw your cat litter in the bin rather than the sink, or you may end up paying for it later.

Already Blocked? Hire a Professional 

Though you can largely prevent blockages and overflow yourself, there often comes a point where hiring a professional is necessary. Be sure to choose someone that is licenced, experienced, and comes with a reliable workmanship guarantee. The last thing you want is to pay for repairs that don't last.

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