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We all have an idea of the horrors that come with a severely clogged drain system. Wastewater rushing back through your drains, flooding and spoiling your home… But you might not know how such a horrible problem happens, and if you don’t, how will you prevent it? Many forces are working against your drainage system, from hygiene products to mother nature. The more you are aware of the common causes of clogs, the more proactive you can be in maintaining a healthy-flowing plumbing system.

Common Causes of Clogged Drains & How To Fix Drain Clogs

Plenty of common cloggers are known to throw a wrench in your drain line, so it’s all the more important to be cautious of what you flush down your drain and how often you should service it to avoid clogging.


Keeping your hair clean and healthy is an essential part of hygiene. Unfortunately, it’s also probably one of the top reasons drains clog. It binds with grease and soap scum, lodging in your drain line, and creating a substantial blockage. The best way to deal with hair is to prevent it from entering your drain in the first place. Use a drain guard to catch larger debris, such as hair, which can then be tossed in your waste bin instead.


Body soap, in cahoots with other cloggers like hair, will build up on the walling of your pipe, creating soap scum. Your soap is typically made with grease or fats, which then combine with the minerals in your water, leaving that all-too-common hard residue. Soaps with alternative ingredients, or even soap-free washes, will help prevent soap scum from clogging your home.


We all know what happens when dirt gets wet: mud. If you aren’t careful, washing too much dirt down your drain will lead you to a clogging disaster. It’s best to shake off and remove as much loose dirt as possible from what you plan to wash in your sink or tub before you do.

Food Waste

We have garbage disposals for a reason, but plenty of foods are prone to stop up your drain line anyway. Grease and oils are some of your pipe’s worst enemies, and scraps like tea leaves and coffee beans don’t break down as other foods. As much as you can, throw food scraps in your trash or compost instead of flushing them down your sink drain. And wipe up any oils with paper towels, and toss those in the garbage.

Hard Water

Depending on where your home is regionally located, you could find a high density of minerals in your water. These minerals will scale in your pipeline to the point of clogging your drain line, certainly not without the help of other common cloggers making it worse. A standard solution for hard water is installing a water softening system in your home to neutralize or remove those minerals working against your drain lines.

Too Much Toilet Paper

Although meant to be flushed, too much toilet paper down your drain at once can prove to be an all-too-common clogging problem. Using a plunger may very well solve your problem, but it might be too severe, requiring snaking or other drain clearing methods.

Small Objects

Sometimes you might find objects which are never supposed to be flushed down a drain but somehow make it there anyway. (This is especially common when children are in the household. You never know what they’ll flush!) The blockage might be close enough to your drain to reach and remove simply with your hands. Otherwise, you’ll likely need professional help from your trusted local plumber to remove the object.

Tree Roots

Little leaks in your piping can attract growing tree roots around your home. They can then invade your drain line and obstruct the passage of your wastewater to your municipal sewer system. Hydro jetting is an effective solution, utilizing highly-pressurized water to clear any build-up or blockages in your piping.

Effects of Clogged Drainage

It’s good to know the red flags for a clogged sewer line. This isn’t a problem that’s simply fixable on your own and usually requires a professional plumber with access to special equipment.

The signs you’ve got a clogged drainage system include the following:

Gurgling Sounds: If you’ve got a clog, you’ll typically have air bubbles traveling through your pipes as you continue to use your drains. Gurgling is most common among plenty of odd sounds, but you might also hear hissing, bubbling, or trickling.

Clogged Plumbing Fixtures: When you’ve got a wholly clogged drain line, your wastewater will have nowhere to go. And since every one of your fixtures connects to your one sewer line, all your sinks, bathtubs, toilets, etc., are affected and unable to drain correctly.

Slow-Moving Drains: Slow drainage in fixtures like your sink or tub means there’s only a partial blockage in your sewer line. Your wastewater is drainable, but you’re on your way to complete blockage if it isn’t taken care of soon enough. One way to tell if it’s either a fixture drain clog or an actual sewer line blockage is if you notice slow-moving drains or gurgling sounds in multiple fixtures throughout your home at once. You’ve likely got a clogged sewer line if you notice these symptoms in multiple drains throughout your home.

Dark or Discolored Water: Since your wastewater carries waste from fixtures such as your toilets, your water will be dark and discolored. Ew! Essentially, your wastewater has nowhere to drain and will flow back into the nearest point of entry, which is usually a low-level drain in your home. This can be hazardous, so use proper protective gear when directly handling and cleaning up sewage backflow.

Preventative Measures

To ensure matters don’t get worse, turn off your main water line to prevent more overflow than may have already occurred. Because you have a habit of using your sinks or toilet multiple times a day, you might forget and add more water to your problem! It also helps keep leaky pipes and automatically draining appliances – like your dishwasher or washing machine – at bay. Find your water main, generally found near your water meter or a corner of your home, and turn the lever until it’s completely off.

Using Baking Soda, White Vinegar, and Boiling Water

Baking soda and vinegar are effective solution for proactive drain clearing. Before using any chemical solution, remove any visible debris and standing water that will otherwise dilute it before it reaches your clog. Use a bucket or cup for water removal. Now to create your solution! Prepare 1 cup baking soda, and 1 cup vinegar (any will work, including white vinegar).

With both of your cups of baking soda and vinegar ready at hand, pour half a cup of baking soda down your drain. Take a long stick, coat as much of the interior of your drain as possible, and push it down as far as your stick allows.

Next, slowly pour half of your cup of vinegar into the drain. You should start to hear fizzing – the chemical reaction between your baking soda and vinegar. Once you hear it, cover your drain with a rag to trap the fumes. When you hear the fizzing stop, repeat the process with the rest of your baking soda and vinegar you’ve prepared.

After you’ve used all your solution, prepare boiling water. After 30 minutes, slowly pour your hot water down the drain. This will clear up and remove any remaining solution and debris softened by your chemical treatment. Regularly use your homemade drain cleaning mixture to keep your drain line healthy and clear as much and as long as possible.

When To Call a Plumber: Contact Deer Valley Plumbing

As proactive and preventative as you may be, there are some clogs too much for your typical home plumbing tools and remedies. At Deer Valley Plumbing, we offer emergency services and same-day scheduling to clear those clogs and get those pipes flowing again.

We offer drain-clearing methods such as hydro jetting, which ensures a powerful, long-lasting solution for handling any drain clogging you might face. Call us at 602-832-8418 and schedule your next service with us today!

We offer drain cleaning services in the following areas:

• Cave Creek drain cleaning • Tempe drain cleaning • Anthem drain cleaning • Glendale drain cleaning • Paradise Valley drain cleaning • Peoria drain cleaning • Phoenix drain cleaning • Scottsdale drain cleaning • Sun City drain cleaning • Surprise drain cleaning

Want to leave us a review or learn more about our services? Well, then check out one of our business locations today!

Phoenix plumbers
Glendale plumbers

Not near one of our locations? Well, check out our friends over at ACS Home Services!

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