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Blocked drains might start off as an inconvenience, but they can cause serious issues for your plumbing and your property. This includes poor drainage, foul odours, health risks, and permanent damage to your pipes.

In order to get on top of your drains and clear them for good, you need to know what causes blocked drains, how to identify them, and what to do next. 

6 Common Causes of Blockages as Identified by Experts in Clearing Blocked Drains

Understanding the cause of your blocked drain is the first step to fixing it. Here are some of the worst offenders according to the experts in clearing blocked drains:


  • Hair blockages: As well as going down the drain when we shower, hair can combine with other substances to cause a formidable blockade. Guards should be installed in bath and shower drains to prevent hair blockages.

  • Soap blockages:  You can’t really avoid soap going down the drain, but unfortunately, your bar of soap probably contains fat products that form soap scum, which can block up your drains and pipes.

  • Excess dirt blockages: Don’t just jump straight in the shower after a camping trip or a big day out. Try and shake that excess mud or dirt off your body first because it can cause your pipes and drains to block.

  • Invasive tree roots: Tree roots can grow deep underground, crack your pipes, and form a blockage that way. If this has happened to you once, make sure all your trees are replaced with species that have shallow roots.

  • Food blockages – Food waste doesn’t belong down the sink. This includes things like coffee grounds and tea leaves, which people don’t often think about when cleaning out the pot or plunger. Excessive food waste will ultimately lead to a blocked drain!

  • Anything that doesn’t belong down the drain – This includes sanitary products, baby wipes, and small objects like toys, bracelets, batteries and more. If it accidentally falls down the drain, it will probably cause an issue.



Become a Blocked Drain Detective! Look Out for These Signs

Most cases of blocked drains aren’t easy to spot. They build up over time and can often creep up on you slowly. By the time you notice, serious damage may have already been done.

That’s why you need to look out for common signs of blocked drains, including:

Water Filling Up in the Shower (and Related Signs)

If your shower starts turning into a bath after a few minutes, that’s a sign the water isn’t draining properly. This is most likely a sign of a blockage.

In fact, this sort of symptom can show up all-around your house. 


  • Maybe your sink takes a long time to empty after you’ve done the dishes
  • When you run the tap constantly without a plug, it might start filling with water faster than it can drain
  • Your toilet might be taking a long time to return to normal levels after a flush


All of these are signs of slow drainage and a potential blocked drain.

Toxic Toilets That Refuse to Flush

When you have a blocked drain, your toilets may not flush very well, if at all. If you flush your toilet and consistently notice that the waste is still sitting in the bowl, you should get on the phone to your plumber.

A Bad Smell That Follows You Around

Foul odours are one of the tell-tale signs of blocked drains. If these smells appear to be following you around, that’s because they could be coming from the sinks in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry and more, and you might even smell them in the garden.


Grass That’s Always Greener

Speaking of the garden, if you have a patch of grass that’s always greener than the rest (and possibly bulging), it’s probably not just the gardening gods. This could be a sign of blockage as well as pipe damage and a leak, possibly caused by invasive roots.


Backflow and Dirty Water

If your drains start gurgling, bubbling, and sending water back up the pipes, this is probably because of a blockage. If you notice dirty water coming out of your taps or up your drains, a blocked pipe is a common cause.


Mould and More!

When water can’t move effectively through your pipes, it has to go somewhere. If you notice damp patches around your home, as well as mould, mildew, or the presence of mosquitoes or other pests, this could all be down to blocked drains.


Once You Notice the Signs, It’s Time to Fix Your Blocked Drains!

In some cases, fixing your blocked drains is easy. If the blockage is shallow, you may be able to remove it manually. You can also buy liquid drain cleaners or try DIY methods like combining baking soda and vinegar. However, even if these methods work, they’re often just a short-term fix that’s masking a bigger problem. 


If you want to take care of your blocked drains for good, call a team of plumbers who are experts in clearing blocked drains. The plumber you choose should also specialise in non-invasive drain inspections and drain relining. These professionals can identify the true cause of your blocked drains, blast the blockage clear, and repair any damage your blockage may have done without having to dig up your garden!


We hope this article has equipped you with everything you need to identify blocked drains, from common causes to tell-tale signs. With this information on your side, you will know exactly when to pick up the phone and call a specialist plumber.