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Major Plumbing Clogs and How to Avoid Them

Besides the sound of scratching nails on a chalkboard, there’s probably nothing more annoying than having to deal with a clogged drain. While you may have a plunger handy for small clogs, it’s most likely not going to be able to handle the biggest of backups.

Common Causes of Plumbing Clogs and How to Prevent Them

Whether your plumbing system is old or new — clogs don’t discriminate. As a homeowner, you want to keep your plumbing in tip-top shape to avoid costly headaches. Each plumbing fixture comes with its own set of clog problems and while regular maintenance and upkeep is key — clogs can happen at any moment. Here are some common ways clogs can occur as well as what you can do to prevent them:


The bathroom is probably one of the worst places for a clog problem. While you may get a clog from trying to flush too much toilet paper, there are other things that you should avoid flushing down the toilet that can cause some major issues.

Never flush the following items down your toilet:
  • Baby Wipes – Some baby wipe products claim they are flushable. It’s best to ignore this marketing tactic and put your used baby wipes in the garbage, instead.
  • Dental Floss – Dental floss is made of either nylon or teflon, neither of which are biodegradable.
  • Cotton Balls /Cotton Swabs – Although it may seem harmless to flush a small cotton ball or cotton swab down the toilet, they can cause serious clogs.
  • Diapers – Sure, diapers are disposable, but they are definitely not flushable! If you’re concerned about the smell, send the diapers to a mother’s favorite place — The Diaper Genie.
  • Paper Towels/Tissues – Unlike toilet paper, paper towels and tissues are thicker and therefore, are much harder to break down.
  • Feminine Hygiene Products – Tampons and sanitary napkins should always be thrown in the trash to avoid serious clogs.
  • Cigarettes – Remember when you used to flush your cigarettes down the toilet in high school? Well, you may have given your school some plumbing issues. Not only can flushing cigarettes cause water waste — they don’t break down. Plus think of all the toxic chemicals you are adding to the groundwater supply. Put your butts in the trash.
  • Kitty Litter – cat litter can lump together and harden leaving you with a big mess.

Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks

Your kitchen and bathroom sinks are probably two of the most used fixtures in your home. These modern conveniences assist with cleaning up after meal preps, washing dirty dishes as well as little faces smudged with chocolate.

You may even have a convenient garbage disposal in your kitchen however, that doesn’t mean you can just throw everything in and watch it magically disappear.

Never put these things in any of your sink fixtures:
  • Eggshells – ground up eggshells can get stuck in pipe walls and making a stubborn clog.
  • Grease, Fat Oils – These insoluble liquids are terrible for drains. They can build up on garbage disposal blades and thicken, thus causing clogs.
  • Paint – Oil based and latex paints are not only toxic, but can cause drain clogs. These types of paints should be disposed of as hazardous waste.
  • Coffee Grounds – You might as well put cement down your drain. Putting coffee grounds in your garbage disposal can build up over time and basically fill your pipes preventing other liquids and materials from flowing freely.
  • Chemical Cleaners – Chemical cleaners contain phosphates and other compounds and could damage pipes.
  • Hair – Hair is one of the most common causes of pipe clogs. While it may be easy to just rinse loose hairs down the sink, it’s best to wipe them up with a paper towel and throw them in the trash.

If you are unable to clear a clog on your own, contacting a professional plumber can help. Our plumbing team at Waldrop Plumbing – Heating – Air can assist you with all your drain and clog problems. Call (864) 536-0887 or contact us online to schedule an appointment in Greenville today.

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