Modern Australian

How to Avoid Blocked Drains and Stinky Overflow

  • Written by Samantha Ball

Clogged sinks, toilets, and shower drains are a common and frustrating problem for many homeowners. The signs of a clogged drain are pretty obvious — overflowing water that will not go down, often characterised by a foul odour and dark colour. So, what causes drainage clogs in the first place, and how can you avoid them?

Tree roots

Tree roots spread extensively in all directions from the trunk and can sometimes grow inside underground drainage pipes, causing blockages or even bursting through the pipes. Keep trees and shrubs away from drainage systems. A case of collapsed pipes will require a plumber.


Hygiene and personal care products such as makeup, wipes, nappies, and sanitary towels can easily cause a blockage if flushed down the toilet. Dispose of these items properly instead of stuffing them down the drain.

Foreign objects

Household drains are not designed to take solid objects. Unfortunately, kids will often try to flush things like toys, shoes, pens, and spoons that end up stuck in the plumbing. Keep your kids away from the toilet bowl or childproof the bathroom to prevent those innocent accidents.

Cooking oil

Grease, fat, and oil from food wastes are common culprits for blocked kitchen sinks. Fatty materials solidify inside the pipes and attach to the walls, resulting in constricted fluid flow and eventually blockage. So, avoid dumping any amounts of cooking oil or fat down the sink.

Food scraps

Food waste is another common cause of drain blockage. Even with a garbage disposal unit, some food particles such as coffee grounds, bone, and grains could still become a problem. Dispose of waste food material through composting instead of taking chances with the sink.

Mineral build-up

Hard water can cause build-ups of insoluble mineral deposits in plumbing systems, especially in metal pipes. Severely damaged pipes may need replacing.


Soap scum can become a blockage problem if left to accumulate for a long time in shower and laundry drains. The soapy residual may also trap other material to form an insoluble plug. Try soap-less cleaning products to minimise scum build-ups. Plumbers often use high-pressure jets to unclog soap-related blockages.


Hair, fur, and any stringy or fibrous material can wreak havoc on your drainage system. Most bathroom clogs are actually caused by hair that gets trapped in a knotted mess inside the pipes. Cover your drain grilles with a fine mesh to prevent hair from going through while you shave or shower.

Natural debris

Leaves, sand, mud, and pebbles sometimes wash up and collect in drainage lines, disrupting the water flow. To prevent this problem, keep your outdoor drainage openings and grilles clean, especially during the rainy season.

Cat litter

Flushing cat litter down the toilet is a terrible idea because it forms little clumps when exposed to water. These clumps can grow large enough to cause a severe blockage. Cat litter goes in the trash — do not try to pour it down any of your drains.

A clogged drain can be an annoying inconvenience, from bathtubs, toilets, and sinks that empty very slowly to those that do not flush at all. You can quickly clear small clogs by plunging or using a toilet snake, but for more severe blockages you will need to call a plumber. Get in touch with Precise Plumbing & Electrical and get experienced professional plumbers at your doorstep.

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