Most Common Types of Drain Clogs

August 11, 2020

clogged pipe

Clogged drains can create a handful of problems in your New Jersey home. Not only can they hinder your water flow, but they can also cause corrosion, flooding and even sewage backup, which is expensive to repair. If you have a clogged drain, be sure to check if you have been incorrectly disposing of any materials in your showers, sinks or toilets. Here are 10 of the most common culprits A.J. Perri plumbers have found clogging drains over time.


Hair, along with animal fur, is often to blame for a clogged drain, especially in bathroom and laundry drains. Hair can knot up and attach itself to parts of the drain by combining with other substances such as soap and grease.

While we cannot help that hair naturally falls, there are some preventative measures we can take. Remove any hair you see lying around in your sinks or shower and clean hairbrushes over a trash can. Use a drain guard in sinks and showers to catch hair from slipping down the drain. Be sure to clean drain guards often.


Soap residue can build up over time, especially in laundry and bathroom drains. Even residue from traditional bars of soap, which are made with grease or fat, can build up and cause blockage. This soap scum reduces the diameter of pipes, causing slow water drainage and backups. Soap can combine with other materials such as dirt and hair to make for an even more stubborn clog.

Prevent soap residue from clogging your drains by using soap-free washes.

Grease, fat and oil

Think twice the next time you go to pour meat trimmings or a pan of bacon grease down your kitchen drain. Grease, fat and oil are three of the biggest enemies of the plumbing world. These substances tend to solidify over time in pipes, causing serious problems to drainage systems.

Prevent grease, fat and oil from clogging your drains by soaking up excess amounts of grease and oil with a paper towel. Fat can be left to harden in a can or jar, then disposed of in the trash.

Food waste

Food waste is often responsible for clogging up kitchen sinks, and despite popular belief, even with a garbage disposal, those leftover pasta noodles of yours can still cause blockages. Avoid putting food waste down drains, even if you do have a garbage disposal. Set up a compost at home for food waste instead.


No one likes having excess dirt all over their shoes or clothes. However, when washed off in the sink or shower, dirt can build up in your pipes and cause issues in your drains. And yes, you guessed it, dirt can also combine with hair, soap and grease to cause even more blockage. It is best to shake or rinse excess dirt off of your clothes and body outside in the yard before cleaning them inside.

Hygiene products

Hygiene products such as “flushable” wipes, diapers, cotton swabs and feminine products pose a danger to pipes because, unlike toilet paper, they do not break down or dissolve when flushed. Never flush any of these hygiene products down the toilet, as they often expand and do not break down, causing serious issues.

Toilet paper build-up

Toilet paper should not cause any issues when used in moderate amounts. However, when used in excess, it can clog your drains and keep your toilets from flushing. To prevent this issue, use toilet paper in moderation. If possible, use small batches of paper as opposed to flushing the toilet multiple times.

Small objects

Small objects may end up in your drains and clog your pipes by accident. For instance, objects can fall down the shower or sink drain if the opening is not protected by a guard or be flushed down the toilet if they fall into the bowl.

Be sure to take extra care not to flush anything down the toilet that does not belong. Keep small objects from falling down and blocking your pipes by protecting all shower and sink openings with a drain guard.

Mineral build-up

If the water is hard where you live, mineral deposits can build up and clog your drains. This reduces flow and causes backups in your pipes. One solution is installing a water softener for your home. When this is not an option, you will need to regularly remove sediment buildup from your drains.

Call a professional if your drains and pipes no longer seem to be flowing, as mineral clogs can be difficult to remove.

Tree roots

Tree roots seek moisture and are naturally drawn to water in pipes. While it is more common to find tree roots invading the pipes of older homes, even the smallest crack in a pipe can allow tree roots to worm their way in. Once inside your pipes, tree roots quickly grow larger, stopping water flow and resulting in pipe damage.

To prevent pesky tree roots from getting inside your pipes, be aware of the root structure of the trees and foliage surrounding your home, especially if you live in a heavily wooded area. Be sure to also examine the state of your drains on a regular basis.

Some experts say the first sign of tree root invasion is a gurgling sound in the pipe system. Solutions can be complicated, so be sure to call a professional to fix this problem.

Keeping your pipes problem-free

With so many causes of clogged drains, it is important to take preventative measures whenever possible. Never put any materials down your drain that do not belong and avoid using harsh chemicals to clear drains. Instead, try plunging the drain or using a plumber's snake to dislodge any blockage. However, if your clogged drain becomes an emergency, be sure to contact a professional plumber right away.

If you are a New Jersey homeowner in need of help with a clogged drain, give us a call at [csad_phone]. From routine maintenance to emergency repairs, you can depend on A.J. Perri to provide quality work and skilled technicians that will have you saying, “I Love Those Guys!

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Last Updated: June 06, 2024