How to Prevent Blocked Drains

We take a lot for granted in our homes today. Running a tap, flushing a toilet or having a shower are things we do without much regard to what is happening behind the scenes. As far as we’re concerned, as long as the washing up gets done, our hair and bodies get cleaned and our waste gets flushed away, we’re not really that bothered about how it happens. 

Until the drains get blocked. 

Then we care. 

If you’re unlucky enough to get a blockage in your pipes or drain, you’ll know not only is it inconvenient when the water won’t go down the sink or the toilet won’t flush, but a blockage can also cause bad smells. 

A blocked drain can also cause pressure in the pipes, causing them to rupture and leak, which can cause damage to your property and problems with damp. 

You can try to unblock a drain yourself with one of the available products on the market or by using a home remedy with baking soda and vinegar. For a persistent, stubborn blockage though, you’ll need a professional drainage company, such as London Drainage

The best course of action, of course, is to prevent your drains getting blocked in the first place, so here are a few ways to keep water flowing freely through your pipes and drains. 

Don’t put food down the plughole

Your mum may have told you you can’t get down from the dinner table until you’ve eaten everything from your plate but, as adults, we quite often leave food behind, ignoring the problem of food waste in the world. 

Then what we do is give our plates a cursory scrape into the bin before putting them in the sink to be washed. Any bits of rice, potato and pasta you then find in the sink and lazily squish down the plughole instead of picking up and putting in the bin can cause your sink to get blocked. 

It’s not just those bits of rice, potato and pasta we squish down the plughole that causes problems. We think liquids are fine because they’re, um, liquid. But although grease and oil may go down the plughole as easily as milk and water, once they’re inside the pipes, it’s another matter. 

Grease and oil can coagulate and set solid in your pipe, causing a blockage. And if that doesn’t cause a blockage by itself, it can stop other small bits of food getting through, causing a kind of foody traffic jam and you’ll find your sink doesn’t empty of water as quickly as it should do. 

The moral of this story is: put leftover food in the compost, food recycling or general waste bin and don’t squish bits of food down the sink. Also, dispose of grease and oil by putting them in a sealable container and throwing it out with the rubbish. 

Buy a sink strainer

You may know better than to squish food down the plughole but to make absolutely certain only water gets into your pipes, buy a sink strainer to catch any big lumps trying to escape down the plughole. 

You can put one in your kitchen sink to trap food, your bathroom basin and bath/shower to trap soap scum, hair and beauty products, and also ensure you have a grate on your outside drain to trap leaves, twigs and other stuff that gets blown around outside. 

Sink strainers come in different sizes, so make sure you get the right size for your sink. 

Don’t flush stuff down the toilet other than the obvious

We know it’s tempting. There’s this big receptacle in your bathroom that, after you pull a handle or press a knob, takes anything unpleasant in there away out of sight, out of mind. 

But, seriously, don’t flush anything other than human waste and toilet roll if you want a working toilet. And you do want a working toilet, don’t you? 

Baby wipes, tampons, condoms, plasters and nappies are thick and don’t degrade, meaning they don’t break down like toilet paper does. 

Dispose of anything other than human waste and toilet roll by putting it in the bin. 


If you take care about what you put down your sinks, basins and drains, they should remain clear and unblocked, saving you the risk of leaks and damage to your property which will incur costly repairs. 


Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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