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Clogged Drains: What It Means for Your Plumbing and What Causes Them

Slow Drain

Humans shed up to 100 hairs a day from their heads. Many of these hairs come out while we shower, making their way into the drain that waits below. First, you may notice the water drains slower than before. Inevitably, the drain will clog with these hairs, leaving a standing pool of dirty water in your tub.

Slow drains are annoying, but they could also potentially signify more significant plumbing issues in the home. This blog will explore some of the most common causes of slow and clogged drains while also offering potential solutions.

What Slows Your Drain

While we may not intend to slow our drains, much of our daily life contributes to their eventual clogging. The below list of contributing factors to slowing drains is essential to consider when maintaining your home’s plumbing.

Food Waste

It’s food, which means that it will eventually break down, right? Well, while this is true in some ways, the food in your drains takes a while to break down. Even just minimal amounts of food could lead to a slowing drain.

What is even worse are the byproducts of cooking and food, such as grease and oil. When poured down your drain, these fats congeal and stick to other bits of food in the drain. Other problematic food products include eggshells and coffee grounds.

Personal Hygiene

While we are not suggesting avoiding self-care and cleanliness, the products we use in the bathroom all contribute to slowing drains. Shaving creams can dry to form hard, cement-like blockages in the pipes. The hair from our bodies further adds to any slowing drains in our bathrooms. Even the soap that we use to clean ourselves can build up over time, eventually stopping the drain.

Flushing When You Shouldn’t

While it may seem inviting to toss your used products into the toilet, this only contributes to slow drain problems. While there are marketed “flushable” wet wipes, it is recommended that you do not flush these products down the toilet.

Feminine hygiene products are another leading cause of slowing toilet drains. These materials are notorious for causing clogs, even though that these products are marketed as “flushable”.

Other foreign objects such as small toys, litter, and excessive amounts of paper products can lead to slowing drains.

Mineral Buildup

In homes where the water is hard, minerals will build up in the pipes over time. Eventually, the lines will back up. Mineral buildups are especially difficult to remove from the home, often requiring a professional plumber on the scene.

External Causes

Sometimes a clogged drain is at no fault of our own. Issues can occur with the main sewer line and other pipes outside of the home. For example, tree roots can often interfere with sewer lines, obstructing proper flow. Your septic tank may also have issues, causing sludge to back up into your home, leading to slow drainage. During fall, excess foliage may also lead to clogged pipes and drains.

Signs Your Drain is Slowing

If you notice your sink, bathtub, or toilet draining slowly, this indicates a potential clog. Make sure to handle this situation as quickly as possible to prevent any severe damage. If there is only one clogged fixture, you may be able to tackle the problem yourself. However, multiple blocked drains need the work of an expert plumber.


If you are confident enough to tackle this problem in your own home, consider using a plunger. You simply fill whatever sink or tub you are trying to clear out with a bit of water and plunge over the drain hole. You can also use a simple vinegar, boiling water, and baking soda solution to clear your drains. To prevent future clogs, make sure to have drain nets in each sink and tub.

If neither of these solutions works, you should seek professional help from a qualified plumber. If you do not, the problems will continue to worsen in your home. This could lead to eventual flooding, more clogs, or damage to your home.

We at Wolff's Plumbing & Heating have the knowledge and experience to clear your drains. Our Spearfish, SD plumbing & HVAC pros are here to help you with plumbing repairs. Call us today at (605) 638-9996 or fill out an online contact form to schedule your appointment today!