How to prevent drain blockages

If you’ve ever had a blocked drain, you’ll know it can be smelly, inconvenient, messy and expensive to put right. Nobody wants to spend money on getting things fixed or having the inconvenience of having a blocked drain at all, so we’ve put together this help article.

You can avoid drain blockages by taking the following precautions and preventative steps:

1)  Never put oils/fats down your drain, even if you rinse it with hot water; as it soon cools and can cause blockages further down in your pipes where it is harder to reach. Always dispose of oils and fats in the bin. A great way to dispose of oils is to seal it in a container that isn’t recyclable. If the oil does solidify then pop it in the fridge until it’s hard and dispose of it in your normal waste bin.

It’s also worth noting that you can re-use oils with a high smoke point, a great way to re-use the oil is to filter it through a fine sieve or a coffee filter. The best oils to re-use are canola oil and vegetable oil. Avoid olive oil for deep fat frying as they can only be used once as it has a low smoke point and had a funny taste if heated too much.

2) Once a week, pop a table spoon of bicarbonate of soda down your sinks and drains and after 30 minutes, follow it with really hot water. This helps to clear any blockages safely and is better for the environment than using harsh chemicals like caustic soda or bleach, it also helps to neutralise odours.

3) Use a plug cover to catch hair and other debris in the bath/shower, as hair is one of the biggest drain-blocking problems we find. Long hair gets knotted inside the drains and catches more and more hair, resulting in a huge dense blockage that can cause awful smells and prevent water from draining away quickly.

Check your shower tray and bath plug regularly for hair build ups. You can buy cheap devices that pull hair up from the drains if you already have a blockage that you can’t see. Or you can use a hair catcher on a chain that hangs through you drains and every now and again you can pull up the device and dispose of the hair in the bin. These are only a few pence on eBay or Amazon.

You can use harsh chemicals to dissolve the hair but we always recommend the eco-friendly version, which is cheaper too!

4) During autumn, leaves and debris married with the mild rain causes a lot of leaf matter to get into our outside drains and gutters. There are a few precautions you can take to prevent blockages during this time of year:

Before autumn when the weather is still nice, clear out your gutters to enable the coming rain to flow easily away preventing leaks and over-flows during the rainy season. You can also buy brushes that prevent blockages, they look a bit like a hedgehog but work brilliantly and are great for the environment. Search “gutter brushes” if you fancy splashing out.

If you don’t want to buy gutter brushes, once a fortnight, clear our the visible drains and gutters of leaves and rubbish to prevent any blockages or build up of rotting leaves and pop them in your bin or compost heap.

5) If you can smell your drains pour some vinegar and bicarb down your drain, leave for 30 mins and then pour a kettle of hot (but not boiling) water down the outside drains to help unclog any small blockages.

6) Once all the leaves have fallen, clean your drain covers gutters out and they should be fine for the next 6-8 months.

Quick and easy regular maintenance always prevents expensive problems further down the line.

If you have a blocked drain and need some help,  drop us a call.

How to prevent drain blockages

  1. Don’t put oils/fats down the drain

    Never put oils/fats down your drain, even if you rinse it with hot water; as it soon cools and can cause blockages further down in your pipes where it is harder to reach. Always dispose of oils and fats in the bin. A great way to dispose of oils is to seal it in a container that isn’t recyclable. If the oil does solidify then pop it in the fridge until it’s hard and dispose of it in your normal waste bin.
     
    It’s also worth noting that you can re-use oils with a high smoke point, a great way to re-use the oil is to filter it through a fine sieve or a coffee filter. The best oils to re-use are canola oil and vegetable oil. Avoid olive oil for deep fat frying as they can only be used once as it has a low smoke point and had a funny taste if heated too much.

  2. Just a spoonful of bicarbonate soda

    Once a week, pop a table spoon of bicarbonate of soda down your sinks and drains and after 30 minutes, follow it with really hot water. This helps to clear any blockages safely and is better for the environment than using harsh chemicals like caustic soda or bleach, it also helps to neutralise odours.

  3. Use a plug cover

    Use a plug cover to catch hair and other debris in the bath/shower, as hair is one of the biggest drain-blocking problems we find. Long hair gets knotted inside the drains and catches more and more hair, resulting in a huge dense blockage that can cause awful smells and prevent water from draining away quickly.
     
    Check your shower tray and bath plug regularly for hair build ups. You can buy cheap devices that pull hair up from the drains if you already have a blockage that you can’t see. Or you can use a hair catcher on a chain that hangs through you drains and every now and again you can pull up the device and dispose of the hair in the bin. These are only a few pence on eBay or Amazon.
     
    You can use harsh chemicals to dissolve the hair but we always recommend the eco-friendly version, which is cheaper too!

  4. Clear out your gutters

    During autumn, leaves and debris married with the mild rain causes a lot of leaf matter to get into our outside drains and gutters. There are a few precautions you can take to prevent blockages during this time of year:
     
    Before autumn when the weather is still nice, clear out your gutters to enable the coming rain to flow easily away preventing leaks and over-flows during the rainy season. You can also buy brushes that prevent blockages, they look a bit like a hedgehog but work brilliantly and are great for the environment. Search “gutter brushes” if you fancy splashing out.
     
    If you don’t want to buy gutter brushes, once a fortnight, clear our the visible drains and gutters of leaves and rubbish to prevent any blockages or build up of rotting leaves and pop them in your bin or compost heap.

  5. If there is a smell…

    If you can smell your drains pour some vinegar and bicarb down your drain, leave for 30 mins and then pour a kettle of hot (but not boiling) water down the outside drains to help unclog any small blockages.

  6. Clean your drain covers gutters

    Once all the leaves have fallen, clean your drain covers gutters out and they should be fine for the next 6-8 months.