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Commonly Overlooked Causes Of Drain Clogs

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A clogged drain is no fun, which means you likely want to do whatever possible to avoid such a problem. While most people know not to stick hair or toilet paper down the drain, it's important to know some of the more overlooked items that can lead to a clog.

Problem #1: Fats and Oils

Although it's no secret that one shouldn't put grease down a drain, there are other fats and oils that you may over look. For example, butter, margarine, and coconut oil can all cause a major clog if they collect in the drain. These tend to harden in cold water, so you may be able to rinse out the clog by pouring boiling water down the drain. This isn't a sure fix, though, since they may have trapped hair or other food particles as well. Certain fats and oils, like coconut oil or shea butter, are also commonly used in some personal care items, so make sure they aren't finding their way into the bathroom drain, either.

Problem #2: Gelatin

Gelatin desserts are easy to make and popular, especially with children. Just make sure any leftovers find their way into the garbage and not down the sink drain. The water will make the gelatin swell and stiffen. Even though water will eventually rinse it away, it may be too late if other debris has become stuck in it and formed a clog. Tapioca and agar-agar are similar food items that can behave like gelatin in your drain.

Problem #3: Flour

You may remember using flour to make paste or glue for paper-mache as a kid. It was a simple recipe – simply mix the flour with water to create a sticky paste. This same paste forms if you put large amounts of flour down your drains. As it dries, it hardens in the drain and becomes nearly impossible to rinse out, even with hot water. You will then need to call an emergency plumber to break through the flour paste plug to clear the clog.

Problem #4: Art Supplies

Whether you are rinsing brushes from a home improvement project or letting the kids clean up after some rainy-day creativity, paint and glue down the sink is a major no-no. Latex paints, such as what is used on most walls, is especially troublesome in a drain. Take the mess outside and clean the brushes in a bucket of warm water. Then, sieve out the solids and pour just the plain water down the drain.