Drain cleaning is not likely something you think about regularly. However, ignoring the causes of a clogged drain means ignoring the potential consequences, which can be far greater than an inconvenience. Here are six reasons drain cleaning is essential, and things you can look out for that may cause your drain to clog.

Potential Consequences of Clogged Drains

While a slow-running sink or shower drain can be an inconvenience, there are much worse potential repercussions from a clogged drain.


If you find yourself sniffing for the source of unpleasant odours in your home, it could be a clogged drain. Much more than water goes down your drains. As things such as hair, food, or other substances accumulate, bacteria begin to form. These bacteria can lead to unpleasant smells. These odours can be more than embarrassing. They can also cause headaches, nausea, and irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat.

Dirty Water

Dirty water is water that has been contained by waste build-up and bacteria. A clogged drain means water can’t pass through as designed. When it can’t pass, it has nowhere to go but sit in your drain or worse in your sink or toilet.

Health Concerns

Clogged drains breed more than just bacteria, which is enough of a health concern on their own. They also lead to the growth of mould and mildew. Mould spores can become airborne and affect those with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues. Any pests that make their way into your drain can also carry diseases back into your home from contaminated, clogged drains.

Insects and Pests

Mosquitos, flies, and cockroaches are just a few of the pests drawn to stagnant water, especially stagnant water with other contaminates that serve as a food source. Not only do insects find a home in this environment, but they also find them to be a great place to lay eggs. Clean drains eliminate the environment that insects and other pests need to survive.

Physical Damage

A clogged drain can lead to a backup of water that can flood your home, causing extensive damage and costly clean-up. When this backup soaks into the foundation of your home, even more severe structural damage can occur.

Types of Drain Clogs and How to Prevent Them

Many things may unintentionally make their way into your drain. There are still others you may not realize are a potential clog hazard. Paying careful attention to these hazards will minimize the clogs and contaminants in your drains.

  1. Hair. As one of the most common causes of drain clogs, the amount of hair that goes down your drain can be minimized by using a drain cover.
  2. Oil, Fats, and Grease. While it may seem putting cooked leftovers down the drain with some hot water would be sufficient, oils, fats, and grease solidify quickly and can stick to the inside of your drain. Many heat-proof containers are available to store these liquids until they solidify and can be more easily disposed of elsewhere.
  3. Dirt and Debris. Of course, there is dirt and debris down bathroom drains. That’s why you take baths and showers. However, chunks of dirt and debris that make their way into your drain and stop water flow can cause damage. Take special care to leave most of the dirt and debris outdoors and save the shower and bath for the rest.
  4. Paper Products. Toilet paper is designed to come apart easily and be flushed. All other paper products are not. No matter the situation, putting any paper product other than toilet paper in the toilet creates the potential for a clog. Even toilet paper can be a problem with overuse. By only using what is necessary and occasionally flushing twice when needed, you can minimize the potential for a clog due to toilet paper.
  5. Soap. Bar soap leaves a thin soap scum film behind on your hands – and your pipes. It doesn’t matter what type of bar soap you use. Over time, it can lead to soap scum build-up and a clogged drain. In addition, to building up on pipes, bar soap also congeals on hair and other debris more, which adds to its clog-forming properties. Using liquid soap is a simple solution to this sticky problem.
  6. Feminine Products. Feminine hygiene products are designed to absorb and expand. This is a problem waiting to happen with your toilet. Even if the manufacturer’s instructions indicate flushing (and the majority do not), it is safer to not flush them.
  7. Foreign Objects. Foreign objects can end up down your drain for a variety of reasons. Children think it is great fun to flush things down your toilet. Also, accidents happen, and things slip while near your toilet. Childproof toilet lid covers can prevent clogs in your toilet, as well as other accidents. If there are no children around and you are accident-prone, simply close the lid when not in use.
  8. Roots. Tree roots can be thirsty and will find water wherever they can, even by breaking into your pipes. While planting, pay careful attention to where your lines run under the ground, as tree roots can look elsewhere for water.
  9. Temperature Changes. If you live in a place with seasonal climate changes the change in temperature from cold to hot and vice versa can cause expansion in the pipe and cause it to crack.
  10. Toothpaste. Toothpaste acts a lot like soap scum, leaving behind a film in your drain. Rinsing thoroughly after brushing will help prevent buildup.
  11. Makeup and Cosmetics. Like many other products, makeup and cosmetics are not designed for your drain. If possible, wipe up any makeup debris rather than rinsing it down the drain.

We can help

A clogged drain can be a real nuisance. No matter how it got that way, the solution is only a call away. Homewise Plumbing & Drainage is a trusted plumbing provider on Southern Vancouver Island. We deliver prompt, courteous, expert, and affordable plumbing service to commercial and residential customers. If you have a clogged drain and need the help of a professional plumber, contact us!