Dealing With a Blocked Toilet

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Common Causes of Household Clogs and How to Prevent Them

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Clogged sinks and toilets are a nasty business, which is why preventing those clogs is much better than just trying to clear them when they do occur! Understanding the most common causes of blocked drains can ensure that you prevent them as much as possible and that your home's plumbing is always in good order. While only a plumber can tell you the cause of a particular clog, or of persistent clogs, in your home, note a few tips to keep in mind.

Kitchen sinks

Many homeowners assume that they can pour cooking grease, vegetable and other oils, melted butter, gravies, and other such items down the sink if they run hot water to melt those foodstuffs. However, running hot water to melt greasy foods is actually worse for the kitchen plumbing! This is because those greasy items will not actually wash away completely and instead cling to the pipes and then solidify once you stop running hot water over them. In turn, clogs may form.

To avoid this, scrape greasy items into the rubbish or into a separate canister you can put in the rubbish. If needed, wait until hot oil or grease solidifies at room temperature and then dispose of it instead of pouring it down the drain.

Another common cause of clogged kitchen sinks is foodstuffs that actually expand in water, such as uncooked rice, corn, oats and the like. If these foods don't rinse away completely in the pipes and get caught in standing water, they can then expand and cause a clog. Avoid putting these types of uncooked items in the sink and put them into the rubbish bin instead.


Obviously too much waste in the toilet at one time may cause a clog, but plumbing pipes attached to home toilets can be forming a clog even if they flush properly. This is because items you put in the toilet can get caught in the pipes and then catch other items you flush down the toilet, allowing a clog to build and form.

Avoid putting anything into the toilet that won't dissolve in water, including cotton swabs, hair from a hairbrush, dental floss and the like. It's easy to think these items will be completely pushed through the pipes of your home's plumbing, but this isn't always the case, and too many of these items in your home's pipes can then lead to persistent clogs.