Black Water


The Most Common Causes of Blocked Drains

Black Water

What is blocking my drain?


The most common causes of blocked drains


Blocked drains are a problem at some point in every household. It can be a worrying time as home owners and tenants immediately become concerned about the cost of clearing such blockages, whether it be paying for the blockage to be removed if it is the homeowner or potential penalties being a tenant if the landlord finds them to be responsible for the blockage.


We are going to go over the main causes of blocked drains in the UK and hopefully put your mind at rest.



Grease and fat.


One of the most common causes of a blockage is grease and fat deposits that have built up over time in the pipes. They often stick to the sides of drainpipes, gradually obstructing liquid trying to pass through. Of course they are often in the drainage system because they have been poured down the sink after cooking. General advice is that good practice is to collect cooled fats, oils and grease from roasting trays and frying pans into a disposable container. This way they can be disposed of without them ever going down the sink.


Also it is worth giving plates and pans a wipe with kitchen roll before they go into a dishwasher or sink. Other forms of food waste should be disposed of carefully and not down the sink. Imagine the problems that small bones could cause!





Often we don’t think about small amounts of hair washing down the plughole, however over time this build up can cause water to drain away more slowly. A sink strainer is advisable for showers, baths and sinks where hair is likely to accumulate to prevent it entering the drain in the first place.

Soap can also be attributed to blockages, so this is worth considering.

Flushed Items






Certain items are not biodegradable or are simply not designed to be flushed down the toilet. We are frequently called out to deal with flash wipes. Under no circumstances should these be put down a toilets as although they are small they are very strong and a build up can cause a substantial blockage very quickly. Toilet (wet) wipes are quite similar to flash wipes and although they often say they are suitable for flushing, the BBC compiled a report in 2018 suggesting that none of the toilet wipes they tested passed the disintegration tests for the UK water industry.


It is also of note that other items such as nappies or sanitary products should not be flushed. Nappies absorb water and expand causing considerable problems if flushed.


Surprisingly toilet tissue can cause blockages too if flushed in large enough amounts. If you are sitting on the loo for a while, it is a good idea to flush half-way through to avoid a huge build up that is then difficult to flush away.



Plant waste


Tree roots and leaves can cause blockages. Maintaining your garden will help to ensure that vegetation and garden waste is less likely to enter the outside drains. 

Tree roots are attracted to water sources and can potentially encourage cracking in pipes causing blockages.


At Rescue Rod we are equipped to deal with all of these issues and many more. Please give us a call on 01202 393541 or email us at

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Flash Wipes Blocked Drain
Ball of flash wipes

Photographs our engineer Roger took in Branksome, Dorset after he removed a mass of flash wipes.