- Outdoor drain blockages are often caused by a build-up of leaves and debris, particularly around autumn. Keep paths around your drains clear of leaves and twigs to avoid a blockage.
- Tree roots can also cause cracks in pipes which can lead to blockages as they naturally seek out moisture, so it’s a good idea to keep gardens pruned and tidy to reduce the risk of this happening.
- Grease, fat and leftovers from cooking can cling to the inside of pipes, and over time this builds up and causes drains to become blocked. Instead of pouring used cooking fat and oil down the sink, let it cool then put it in a sealable container and throw it in the bin. Use a plug strainer to prevent food going down the sink.
- Hair and soap scum can build up in drainage systems over time and eventually cause a blockage. You may be able to remove this using a plunger, but it’s best to avoid it going down the sink in the first place by using a plug strainer.
- If you have small children you may have found all manner of objects down your toilet, as inquisitive toddlers will often find it amusing to drop dolls, cars, building blocks – anything really! – down the loo. It’s a good idea to teach children not to play in the bathroom to avoid a blockage and also to help keep them safe.
- Baby wipes and nappies should not be flushed down the toilet as these can also cause blockages.
- Cat litter should also never be flushed down the toilet, as it is designed to clump together, forming a solid mass which will cause a blockage.
How to fix blocked drains:
Some chemical drain cleaners are highly toxic, leading to health issues such as skin irritation and respiratory problems.
If you prefer to use a less harmful means of unblocking your drains, a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar may be effective. You will need:
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- Half a cup of baking soda
- 4 cups of boiling water
Sprinkle the baking soda down the sink, then pour in the vinegar. Leave it for ten minutes (it will start to fizz and bubble up). After ten minutes, rinse with the boiling water. This should help, but if not, it may be time to seek professional help!