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What Causes Bathroom Drains to Clog?

What Causes Bathroom Drains to Clog?

Your bathroom is sparkling clean, but while you’re shaving or washing your face in the bathroom sink, the water isn’t draining. Or, you’re grabbing your child a towel and they say, “The water won’t go down the drain!” In both scenarios, you’re not happy.

Now you have to deal with a slimy, dirty, mess, or risk having to continue your daily bathing rituals from that day forward in dirty, stinky water – nobody wants to do that!

Indoor plumbing is perhaps one of the greatest inventions of all time, along with the smartphone of course, but clogged drains are one of the joys of having indoor plumbing. So, what causes bathroom drains to clog? You keep your bathroom in tip-top shape, but why are the drains telling a different story?

Fortunately, the more you learn about what causes drains to clog, the better position you’ll be in to prevent clogged drains from happening. But to get to this point, first you’ll need to understand what substances or items cause drain clogging to begin with.

What substances are clogging my drains?

Generally, the majority of bathroom drain clogs are traced back to dirt, skin flakes, and hair and soap scum. What happens is the dirt, hair and skin attach to the soap scum that’s sitting on the walls of drain pipes. Eventually, the gunk accumulates so much that the flow of water is reduced. This is usually the point when you take notice.

To remedy the situation: Begin by removing and cleaning the drain stopper. Once that’s clean, use a drain plunger, available at your nearest hardware or superstore. If plunging doesn’t do the trick, take out the drain elbow joint and clean out the sludge.

To prevent clogs, you want to use a hair strainer drain cover in your shower, bathtub, and bathroom drains to collect hair before it gets sucked down the drain. You also want to make a habit of cleaning out the drain stoppers on a regular basis to prevent clogs from forming.

Preventing Toilet Clogs

Nobody wants to deal with a clogged toilet, it’s just unpleasant business. Toilets usually clog when people flush too much toilet paper (children are often the culprit), or when people flush the wrong things down the toilet. When these items don’t dissolve, they create a blockage in the drains.

What NOT to flush:

  • Baby wipes
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs (Q-tips)
  • Dental floss
  • Tissues
  • Kitty litter
  • Paper towels
  • Trash
  • Medications
  • Feminine hygiene products

Troubleshooting a clogged toilet: Your first line of defense should be a good plunger. If your toilet is still clogged, you can use an inexpensive snake (hand-powered drain auger), available at superstores and hardware stores.

While it’s not the most fun, a drain auger can go up to 5 feet down the drain to break-up or retrieve a blockage, such as a toddler’s toy car or a picture of your teen daughter’s ex-boyfriend that she flushed down the toilet.

The best way for you to avoid toilet clogs is to only flush toilet paper down the drain and if you have children, to educate them not to use half a roll of toilet paper during each trip to the toilet!

If you need a professional to fix your bathroom clog, contact Excalibur Plumbing to schedule a service call with one of our Leander plumbers!

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