Unblocking Drains

What are some of the main causes of a blocked drain?

We often receive calls from clients with a blocked drain, and we regularly make emergency visits. Blocked drains are very common occurrences for home owners everywhere. What’s more, if they are not dealt with quickly then can become very expensive. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you need our expert opinion.

Below we have highlighted some of the main causes of blocked drains. We have also suggested some of the ways that you can prevent future blockages.

Wet Wipes – The biggest cause of blocked drains

Wet wipes and baby wipes are in our experience the most common cause of a blocked toilet. Contrary to popular belief, wet wipes are not meant to be flushed down the toilet. Unlike toilet paper, wet wipes are not designed to break up when flushed. This means that over a period of time there is a significant risk of a blockage occurring.

The solution to this problem is of course a very easy one. We advise our clients to simply dispose of their wet wipes and baby wipes in the general waste. A great tip is to have a waste bin at the side of the toilet, or somewhere in the bathroom.

Foreign Objects

We not only find that wet wipes are a leading cause of a blocked drain but we also find other foreign objects. We have attended many blocked drains and found foreign objects ranging from food to children’s toys.

Image of children's rubber bath duck. Children's toys are a big cause of blocked toilets.

Blocked toilets are often caused by the flushing of foreign objects. Often the homeowner is unaware of a blockage initially. It is only after time when a blockage has accumulated that the problem becomes more severe. Often times, the flow of water can be completely restricted, causing serious strain on the pipe.

The only things that should be flushed down a toilet is human waste and toilet paper. We advise our clients to ensure their children understand what can be flushed down the toilet. Surprisingly, we find many toilets blocked by children’s toys, along with other items that children decide to flush.

Foreign objects can also cause blockages to the sink drain. Food waste is the leading cause of a blocked sink. Many people we speak to don’t think twice about a small amount of food going to down the plug. However, over a period of time it is easy for this food to accumulate and cause serious problems. We advise all our clients to ensure that all food waste is removed from the sink before pulling the plug.

Grease and Fat

Grease and fat is one of the most common causes of a blocked drain. We are called out many times by homeowners only to find a large accumulation of grease and fat. Just as many people don’t realise the problem with food going down the drain, the same is true of cooking oils. Over time, cooking oils can actually cause serious damage to sewers and are very harmful to the environment. Pouring cooking oil down the drain is actually illegal in the UK. There is an interesting BBC News article about the large fat blockages known as “fatbergs”.

Due to the sticky and thick nature of fatty foods and cooking oils, they can easily become attached to walls of pipes. The build up can eventually prevent the correct flow of water and even completely block the flow altogether. If you are having problems with your drains please contact us as soon as possible before the problem escalates.

Water flowing down a drain. There are many ways a homeowner can suffer a blocked drain in Barnsley

To reduce the risk of this problem occurring in the first place is quite simple though. With waste cooking oil, we recommend pouring it into a container such as a plastic bottle before disposing of it. To dispose of grease, we recommend wiping your plates and cooking pans with kitchen paper before washing. Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) offer safe disposal of grease and cooking oils.


Hair is regularly overlooked but it can easily build up if left to go down the plug hole. Many of our clients are unaware that removing hair from plug holes can significantly reduce the probability of them getting a blocked drain. Large deposits of hair can become entangled and cause serious blockages in your drains.

Image of a shower head. Hair getting stuck in the plug in the shower is a big cause of a blocked drain in Barnsley.

There are many products that you can purchase to catch hair before it goes down the plug. However, we recommend all our clients from the Yorskshire and Lincolnshire area to check their plug holes regularly. Any build up of hair should be removed and disposed of in your general waste to prevent future problems. The shower is the most common place to find a build of hair so we recommend you keep a particularly close eye on this.

Trees, Plants, & Leaves – The main causes of external blocked drains

Natural garden waste is the main culprit of blocked external drains. Many of our clients don’t think of their garden as being a potential hazard to their drains. However, garden waste such as leaves can cause major blockages. This is especially the case in Autumn and Spring. Leaves are frequently blown to the edges of the property where it is easy for external drains to become blocked. Not only does clearing the leaves provide a nice aesthetic to your garden but it also helps to prevent future drainage issues.

A picture of leaves on trees. Leaves and trees are the number one cause of external blocked drains in Barnsley

Leaves are not the only problem for your outside drainage, however. Trees and plants can often infiltrate your drains in search of water. This is particularly true in the case of those that are not receiving sufficient water. The trees and plants that are closest to the property also cause the biggest concern. We advise our clients to ensure their trees and plants are well watered. We also ask them to pay close attention to large varieties that are close to the property, particularly during a drought.

Often it is not feasible for the regular watering of plants and trees. We regularly advise our clients to avoid the varieties that pose the biggest risk to drainage. These include Willow trees, Magnolia trees, Poplar trees, Oak trees, and Birch trees. The most risky plants and bushes include Boxwood shrubs, Holly Bushes, and Ivy plants. We recommend that whenever these are planted, they are planted away from the property and any external drains. This should ensure that no damage is caused to the properties’ drainage or structure.

Do you need help with your blocked drain?

Hopefully we have provided some helpful advice and tips with regards to a blocked drain. If you need some help or advice with your property please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are based in the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area and we aim to help all our clients as quickly as possible. Call us on 07729 519755, email us at info@drainjets.co.uk, or fill in our contact form for more information.

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