Common Causes of Drain Clogs and How to Clean Them

Water flowing down a drain.

A clogged drain can truly be one of the most infuriating plumbing issues. Believe us, we’ve all been there. While some drain blockages are minor and can be easily fixed, others can be more severe and cause damage to your pipes.

If your shower or bathroom sink is clogged, you probably think it’s because of the hair that has accumulated in the drains. Believe it or not, there are many other culprits to a clogged drain than just hair. Here are a few common causes of drain clogs and some tips on how to clean them.


As we just mentioned, hair is not the only reason for drain clogs, but it definitely is still a big culprit. It doesn’t matter how long or short your hair is, over time, it will build up, tangle around your drain, and get stuck. You might immediately resort to a product like Drano to remove the blockage, but when it comes to hair, sometimes carefully removing it with tweezers works better.

There are also a variety of drain covers that you can find at any hardware store that are designed to keep hair from going down your drain.

“Flushable” Wipes

One thing we cannot stress enough is that “flushable” wipes are not actually flushable! When you flush one of these moist bathroom wipes, they don’t actually break down. The only reason they are called “flushable” is because they are able to physically fit into the pipe. Here are the three things that home and commercial plumbing systems can accept:

  • Water
  • Human waste
  • Biodegradable toilet paper

Everything else is bound to clog your pipes!

Soap Scum

Have you slipped while standing in the shower and your life flashed before your eyes? It was probably because you had a layer of soap scum on your bathtub or shower floor. This is very common, especially with bars of soap. Bar soap usually leaves a thin film behind, which can build up in your pipes over the course of a few months. If you don’t want to give up your bar soaps, just make sure to clean your drains regularly to prevent any build up in your pipes.

Fat, Oil, and Grease

We’ve all had those long days where we really don’t feel like doing the dishes and want to dump everything down the garbage disposal. No matter how tired you are, don’t just put anything down your garbage disposal! We get it, doing the dishes isn’t exactly fun, but there are certain food items that should never be put down a kitchen sink drain. Here’s a short list to name a few:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Pasta
  • Bones
  • Eggshells
  • Cooking oil
  • Fats leftover from cooked meats

Cotton Balls

You might think to yourself that if you can flush toilet paper, you can probably flush cotton balls, right? Wrong. Cotton balls are excellent drain-cloggers because they absorb water and expand, much like feminine products. You probably use cotton balls for a variety of reasons, but just make sure to toss them in the trash when you’re done using them.


You only use a small amount of toothpaste daily to brush your teeth, so you’re probably wondering how that can cause a drain clog. Well, over time, coupled with everything else that slips down your drain, a clog caused by toothpaste is pretty common. We all know the texture of toothpaste is thick and sticky, so if you don’t fully rinse it down the drain, it can attach to those other culprits, like hair, and cause an even worse clog. Each time you brush your teeth, make sure the toothpaste is fully rinsed down the drain with plenty of water.

Levittown Drain Cleaning Services

Whether you need a simple drain cleaning or a more severe clog removed, our skilled plumbers at J&M Plumbing & Drain Cleaning will accurately identify the problem and resolve the issue. Call us today at (215) 987-4607 for fast and friendly service!

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