Clogged Drain: Causes, Warning Signs & Solutions

Dealing with a clogged drain is often a nightmare for many residential owners. Not only does it slow you down and damages your pipe, but you also have to deal with dirty and smelly stagnant water.


A clogged drain is more common in the kitchen, toilet, and bathroom. It also prevents dishwashers and clothes washers from finishing their cycle. Luckily, there are a lot of certified plumbers that can effectively repair clogged drains in Toronto homes. But to get there, it is important to learn what causes a drain clog in the first place.


Causes of a Clogged Drain


Dirt, skin flakes, hair strands, and soap scum can cause most bathroom drain clogs. The gunk will accumulate over time, reducing water flow into the drain pipes freely.




  • Clean the drain stopper by removing the accumulated gunk. Use a drain plunger to clear away the clog. It creates a strong suction to loosen the debris in pipes.
  • If it fails to work, remove the drain elbow joint and clean it thoroughly.
  • Use a hair strainer drain cover to prevent hair from going down the drain.


Flushing items, such as feminine hygiene products, dental floss, cotton-tipped swabs, and pre-moistened diaper wipes, is the common cause for a clogged toilet.




  • The most effective way to prevent a nasty toilet clog is to dispose of waste and paper products in the trash can.
  • Use a plunger to remove the clog and clear the drain pipe.
  • A hand-powered drain auger is also an effective solution for a clogged toilet. It can reach between two to five feet down the toilet’s drain pipe.


Dumping food waste down the drain is one of the most common causes of a clog problem. This does not only cause clog up the pipe, it can also attract bugs inside.




  • Even if you have a garbage disposal in your sink, throw food scraps, along with tea leaves, and coffee grounds, to the compost pile.


Cooking grease can eventually cake on the walls of the drain pipe. In addition to that, detergent soap scum and tiny food scraps can create stubborn gunk, which can buildup over time and clog the pipes.




  • Soften the clog by pouring boiling water down the drain. Follow it up with a dollop of dish detergent and pour more hot water. Wait for a few minutes. Use a plunger and run hot water again until water drains freely down the pipe.
  • If the hot water solution does not work, use a chemical drain cleaner. However, it is not always recommended to use it as a solution to a clogged drain because it can cause damage to the pipes.
  • Proper disposal of kitchen grease and food scraps is still the best solution to prevent a clogged drain in the future.


Minerals dissolved in hard water can eventually cause a build-up of insoluble masses that block the drains. Mineral buildup in your drains and pipes can be difficult to remove once established. This often reduces the flow or cause nasty wastewater backup.




  • Install a water softener if the water in your area is hard.
  • Descale pipes regularly to remove sediments and build up.


Tree roots can work their way even in the tiniest crack or leak in your underground pipe. Once the roots infiltrated the pipes, they can quickly grow large, obstructing water flow and causing damage to the pipe.




  • The removal of tree roots from the pipes can be difficult and often require trenchless repair, excavation, rooter service or pressure jet cleaning.
  • To prevent extensive and costly repair, monitor the root structure of the trees and plants, as well as the condition of the pipe.


A clog is not only common in drains inside your house. External drains can also get clogged by leaves and small twigs, especially during the fall season.




  • For minor clog problems, you can simply remove plants growing inside the drain and fish out leaves and other plant parts that could block the passage of the water.
  • Keeping the surrounding clean also keep fallen leaves from clogging the drains.
  • In case of a major problem, call a professional plumber to clear the drainage.


Older-style pipes can eventually move out of place due to the shifting and settling of the ground. The movement of the ground pushes the pipes upwards, affecting the flow of household wastewater to the municipal sewer system.




  • There are no do-it-yourself solutions to this problem because it requires excavation and major plumbing work.
  • Upgrading your old drain system does not resolve the problem. You will need professional plumbing help to diagnose the problem. Video plumbing cameras will be used to explore the state of your underground pipes.


Throwing cat litter into your drain can cause terrible problems to your plumbing system. Cat litter absorbs moisture and creates clumps that are large enough to cause a clogging problem.




  • Although many claimed that using a commercial drain cleaner can help solve the problem, it can be harsh to the pipes. However, you can try a combination of plunging and toilet snake to clear the clog.
  • Instead of throwing the cat litter down the drain or flushing it down the toilet, put it in a bag and dispose of it properly in the trash bin.

Warning Signs


A clogged drain is easy to detect due to its obvious signs, which include:


  • Water begins to back up in your kitchen or bathroom sink, bathtub, toilet, or shower.
  • Water seeps slowly down the drain after forming pools.
  • Bubbling of toilet water
  • Drain emits an unpleasant smell
  • Gurgling sounds coming from the drains (usually happens after running washing machine/dishwasher)
  • Puddles of water form on the floor near the bathtub, shower, sink, commode, or laundry area.



Although most clogged drains are not an emergency plumbing problem, simply having a professional perform plumbing services helps prevent any potentially serious drain problems from occurring in the future. In some instance, a simple drain clog, when left unresolved, can cause costly damage to your plumbing system, as well as pose various health risks to you and your family. When you need reliable, high-quality service and plumbing advice contact Billy at 855-224-5599 whenever you need emergency plumbing services for clogged drains.

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