How to avoid drain blockage (eight things NOT to put down your plughole)

Drain blockages are entirely common and also, usually, entirely disgusting; no matter where it’s coming from, leaking water smells rank. From clumps of hair, fish filter tablets (but really) and small dolly shoes (parents will understand) to stranger things like false teeth and even clothing, there are some obvious no-nos when it comes to putting things down the plughole, take a look:

  • Baby Wipes – it’s so tempting to just flush a baby wipe (especially when potty training!) but don’t do it! They stick together and clog up drains in no time.
  • Hair – this is a tough one because hair easily travels down the plughole when bathing or showering. Usually it can be pulled back up the plughole if you notice a blockage…but not always! To try and prevent hair clumps in your drain, brush your hair before your bath/shower or invest in a ‘hair catcher,’ which could save you time, money and effort.
  • Fat – we all remember “fatberg,” right? That 15-tonne brick of fat found in the sewer below London. Well…enough said; don’t let fat float down the plughole.
  • Toys – there’s something about a plughole that is irresistible to children; they simply can’t resist sending gidgets and gadgets sailing down (clearly ‘IT’ is a thing of generations past). Even if little ones don’t it on purpose, the chances of a broken bath toy or other random paraphernalia taking an unplanned trip down the plughole are pretty high.
  • Coffee – If you use ground coffee rather than instant, make sure you get all of your grounds into the bin using a spoon or kitchen roll to help because over time coffee grounds can build up in drains, especially in the corners of piping.
  • Food Scraps – the odd piece of pasta here and there can do more damage than you might think. The thing about a lot of our foods is that they’re quite porous – especially carbs, like pasta and rice. They will soak up a lot of water and can easily expand to clog a drainage pipe.
  • Cotton Buds – Are meant for bins, not drains. It’s as simple as that.
  • …Fax Machines – No really! Scottish Water recently retrieved a fax machine from the sewers beneath the streets of Scotland. (Also – who’s using a fax machine?)

Usually a clogged drain is an accumulation of all of the above…things that have slipped down unintentionally. If you’re concerned about a blocked drain in your bathtub or damaged radiator pipes, call your local plumber; he/she may suggest a drainage contractor if the problem is serious, in which case, ask for references to ensure you hire the perfect person for the job.

For all your plumbing needs, contact the team at AACooper on 01689 485007 or

Sources: – Top 10 Things That Will Block Your Drains; – “Gutterly odd: the weirdest things found down drains”