Dealing with a blocked drain is about as much fun as a trip to the dentist. Not only is it a massive inconvenience that can cause disruption to your home or business, a blocked drain can also pose a potential health risk due to pathogens contained in the wastewater.
Whilst there are some drainage issues that are out of your control, such as collapsed drainpipes due to subsidence or root ingress, the most common cause of drainage problems is due to misuse.
Sure, it might be convenient to dispose of last night’s dinner leftovers down the toilet, or flushing that last wet wipe you used, because you know, just the one isn’t going to hurt right? You’d be amazed at some of the things we find when we’re out dealing with blocked drains in London and the surrounding areas.
By becoming more aware of what not to put down your drains, you can help prevent any future drainage headaches, and keep your London drainage system in full-working order.
Without further ado, here are ten items that you should never dispose of down your drains.
1. Oils and Fats
Cooking oils and animal fats are probably one of the most common causes of a blocked drainage system. While it might seem harmless at first, oils and fats are insoluble and heavier than water, so as soon as it hits a bend in a drainpipe, it can gather and get stuck. Over time, these fat deposits solidify resulting in a slow and result in a drain blockage. And depending on where the blockage is within your drainage system, this can sometimes result in a costly repair.
2. Wet Wipes
Wipes are another common cause of blocked drains. Sure, they might seem harmless, but because they are non-biodegradable, they can cause serious issues with your drainage system. In fact, wipes combined with oils and fats above, are one of the most common causes of fat-bergs that clog up the world’s sewer systems.
Although “flushable” biodegradable wet wipes are now more common, we’d still recommend you dispose of them in the bin, rather than flushing them down the toilet just to be safe.
3. Food Waste
Although that spag bol you made last night was delicious, the leftovers have been sat in the fridge for the past two weeks and now need to be disposed of. Whilst it may seem convenient to flush them down the toilet, the insoluble fats and oils can build up over time and cause a major headache when your drain becomes blocked.
Also, the food will decompose over time causing foul smells to emanate from your drains which can be extremely unpleasant. Please don’t dispose of food waste down your toilet, instead place it in a food waste container and dispose of with your household waste or stick it on your compost pile.
You’ve read the stories about massive fat-bergs found in London sewer systems, and nappies are one of the main causes. Nappies are not designed to be flushed and will end up stuck in the pipe causing a blockage.
Whilst you might get lucky and be able to clear the blockage with a plunger, oftentimes they get stuck further into your drainage system and require the services of a professional London drainage contractor to professionally clear the blockage.
5. Coffee Grounds
We love a cup of Joe as much as the next person, and as tempting as it may be to simply dispose of your used coffee grounds down the sink, we urge you to dispose of your coffee grounds and tea bags in the bin and not in your drains.
6. Egg Shells
Egg shells are best tossed on to the compost pile or disposed of in your bin. If your crushing them up and disposing of them down your sink, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be finding yourself dealing with a drainage problem. Egg shells can collect with other waste which over time will build up and cause a drain blockage.
You’d be surprised how many people dispose of leftover paint down their drains. Not only does paint contain potentially harmful chemicals that can cause environmental damage, it’s simply not designed to be disposed of down the sink or toilet. All paint should be sealed in a tin and disposed of in the correct manner.
8. Feminine Products
Whether it’s sanitary towels, or cotton buds, these items belong in the bin, and not down the toilet. Just like nappies, these products can build up over time and cause serious drainage issues.
Hair is one of the most common causes of blocked sinks, baths and showers, and it doesn’t take much for it to start clogging up your pipes.
To help prevent a build-up of hair causing a blockage in your drainage system, it would be wise to invest in an inexpensive trap or guard to help prevent hair entering your pipes.
Yep, condoms are yet another product that is just not meant to be flushed down the toilet. They won’t degrade in water, and combined with other inappropriate items flushed down your drains, can end up turning into a serious blockage that requires professional attention.
If in Doubt, Throw it Out
We live in an age of convenience, whilst it might be tempting to dispose of certain products down your drains, dealing with a drainage issue can be a massive inconvenience, and depending on the severity of the problem, can also be a major expense.
If it’s not designed to be flushed or disposed of down the sink (and even then, we’d recommend you don’t), place it in the bin instead to help ensure your drainage system functions correctly.
Remember, if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of dealing with a blocked drain, our professional drainage engineers are on call 24/7 and are only ever a phone call away. Unsure if your drain is blocked? Click here for some tell-tale signs of a blocked drain.
We offer professional drain unblocking services to customers across London and the South East at an extremely competitive price.