Blocked Drain Prevention

If you’ve ever tried to clear a blocked drain, you’ll know that it’s not fun. It’s smelly, messy and a bit stressful if there are larger drainage issues to deal with. So it’s best to try to prevent your drains from getting blocked or clogged in the first place. This begins with knowing the top reasons why your drains get blocked.

Here is our list of the top ten most popular causes of a blocked drain:

  1. Too much hair down the drain

    This is one of the most common causes of a blocked drain in the bathroom sink or shower. The problem is even worse if members of the household have long hair, or people brush their hair in the shower. The easiest way to avoid a blocked drain from hair is to put a hair trap over your sink and shower drains (small, inexpensive strainers you can buy at a hardware store).

  2. Paper down the sink

    You should never put paper of any type down the drain. This includes tissues, napkins, paper towels, sanitary products, baby wipes or wet wipes. Most of them are coated and will not dissolve.

  3. Not enough water down the sink while using the waste disposal unit

    If you’re putting food down the kitchen sink into a food waste disposal unit or an InSinkErator®, you could end up with a blocked drain if you don’t let enough the water run long enough. It’s also best to avoid too much fibrous food going down the drain. Refer to our list of items that should not be put into a food waste disposal unit.

  4. Oil, grease or fat down the sink

    Some fats will harden as they cool, and most oils are impossible to dissolve with water down the drain. So it’s best to avoid putting any of these down the sink. Wipe out oily pans with a paper towel and put that in the rubbish. Pour fat into a cup, let it harden, then scoop it into the rubbish. Alternatively, if you live in a hot climate or it’s summer, pour the fat into a disposable container (a used tin, for example), let it harden, then put the container in the rubbish.

  5. Personal hygiene or toiletry products in the drainage system

    It might sound like common sense, but we’ve seen all sorts of things put down the drain, either intentionally or accidentally. Never put dental floss, cotton buds, cotton balls, medicines, contact lenses or other bathroom products down the sink.

  6. Fibrous food in the kitchen sink

    Some foods dissolve or wash down more easily than others. What you put down your kitchen sink depends on whether or not you have a food waste disposal unit. If you don’t have one, you shouldn’t try to wash food down the sink. If you do have one, refer to its instructions for its intended use. You can also have a read of our list of items that should not be put into a food waste disposal unit.

  7. Chemicals or cleaners down the sink

    Don’t attempt to unclog or unblock a drain or sink with regular household cleaners. These may actually cause the blockage to thicken or harden and make the matter worse. If you do need to pour something down the drain other than water, it’s best to stick to products that are specifically designed for drain unblocking. Use them only as directed and be mindful of their toxicity.

  8. Dirt or other foreign objects down the drain

    You should always rinse muddy boots or soccer shoes using the outside hose. Bringing these inside and rinsing them in the laundry sink will result in mud, grass, pebbles and insoluble matters going down the drain and clogging it. Never put kitty litter down the drain, no matter how small the amount. It’s designed to clump when it gets wet, so it will create a blockage as soon as water hits it in your drainpipes.

  9. Tree roots

    Sometimes the cause of your blocked drains is not due to what’s gone down the drain, but rather what’s happening outside. Over time, as the tree roots on your property spread, they may infringe upon the drain pipes that run from your house. You’ll need to call in a professional trained in clearing tree roots and debris from your drainage systemthe Sumich drain unblocking team can help with this.

  10. Not having your drains checked or maintained

    There is a lot that goes on under your sink, down the drainpipes and into your wastewater system. It’s important to have an experienced plumber or drain unblocker check your drainage system from time to time to ensure there aren’t any problems developing.

If you’ve moved into a new property or haven’t had your drainage system checked in a while (or ever), give us a call. Prevention is the best way to avoid more costly problems down the line.

Get in touch for a no-obligation quote.


There are a number of plumbing and drainage companies in Auckland, so why choose Sumich?

Founded by owner-operator Chris Sumich in 1991, Sumich Plumbing & Drainage has one of the most experienced teams operating in Auckland. Our team has a combined experience of over 100 years and we’ve seen a comprehensive range of scenarios and solutions over the years. Clients trust us to give honest, transparent advice and service.

As registered members of the New Zealand Plumbers, Drainlayers & Gasfitters Association, we are professional, licensed Auckland plumbers for all of your plumbing, drain laying, gasfitting and heating needs. Give us a call to see how we can help.