The 5 Most Common Causes of Drain Blockages in Bristol

Tired of slow draining water? Bad smells or strange noises coming from your drains? Chances are, you’ve got a blockage. 

There are different types of drain blockages and some are more serious than others. But any blockage, if left alone or not handled correctly, can turn into something much more serious. We’re talking sewage backups into your home or garden, damaged pipes, leaks and even flooding, which comes with a whole host of other problems. Pretty unpleasant.

Trent’s Drains have been tackling blocked drains in Bristol and the South West for many years. And we’ve dealt with it all. 

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the most common elements we’ve discovered clogging up the city’s drains. If you think you’ve got a blocked drain, it’s likely down to one of these…

#1. Hair

blocked drain hair

Unsurprisingly, all that hair that ends up down the drains can get stuck in your pipes. It sticks and binds to other substances. And it’s not just long hair. Facial hair and even dog hair can clog your drains. It may not seem like a big problem, but over time it can build up and cause a rather nasty blockage. 

You may start to notice the water in your shower draining more slowly, or pooling around the drain hole. That’s a surefire sign of a blocked drain. 

There are a few at home methods you can try to tackle the blockage. Some people swear by using baking soda and vinegar to dislodge the clog. Others use bleach. A common tool people can invest in is a drain snake or hook. Worth it if you often experience blockages due to hair. 

These methods all have varying levels of success. If, however, you find your water still isn’t draining properly, you might want to call in the professionals

Top tip: Invest in hair guards for your sinks and drains. They’re usually inexpensive and can prevent the majority of hair ending up down the drain.  


#2. Soap Scum

soap scum drain blockage


We all use soap. For washing our hands, dishes, etc. But, did you know that soap can cause drain blockages? Whether it’s bar or liquid soap, the greasy suds end up sticking to whatever else is lurking down the drain, acting like a glue. This is often a problem in areas with hard water, such as Bristol. 

Now, we still need to use soap. But there are a few preventative measures you can take. Regularly cleaning your pipes with boiling water or baking soda. Investing in mesh traps to catch soap scum. Preventing other substances from going down the drains will remove the chance of things the soap can attach itself to. 

#3. Food Waste

food waste drain blockage

When washing up or rinsing that evening’s dinner plates, food often ends up finding its way down your sink drain. It gets stuck and leads to blockages, preventing your water from draining properly. 

Make sure you scrape any waste food, sauce and even coffee grounds into a food waste bin or the compost. 

Oils and fat can cause real problems. It can solidify in your pipes and block them. You should siphon any oil or grease into a container and throw it away. Don’t rinse it down the drain. It’s very tricky to remove yourself. So, you’ll need to call a professional drain unblocker if you’re stuck. 

#4. Paper, Wipes & Sanitary Products

baby wipes blocking drains

It’s surprising how many people don’t realise they shouldn’t be flushing things like baby wipes and sanitary products down the toilet. A big contributor to the massive blockage found in London’s drainage system a few years ago was wipes and tampons. These items should be binned as they don’t break down like toilet paper. And remember, not all wipes that are labelled ‘flushable’ can actually be flushed.  

You might also be surprised to learn that toilet paper can cause drain blockages. Some brands of extra thick paper can contribute to blockages. Make sure you aren’t using too much paper at once if you don’t need to. 

#5. Roots and Leaves

dead leaves blocked drain

Outside of the home, another common cause of drain blockages is dead leaves or tree roots. Leaves can collect in gutters and end up blocking your outside drains. While tree roots can cause a whole heap of damage to pipes as they continue to grow through cracks in the plastic. When this happens, your pipes will need repairing or even replacing

Regular CCTV surveys can check your drains for the presence of tree roots, allowing professional removal before they cause serious damage. And for dead leaves, get out and sweep your garden regularly, disposing of leaves in your compost heap or garden bin before they can find their way into your drains. Don’t forget to clear your gutters too! Especially after heavy rainfall. 

What To Do With A Drain Blockage?

So, if you find yourself faced with bad smells and gurgling noises coming from your pipes, slow water flow and water backup, you’ve probably got a drain blockage. 

The best thing you can do is minimise the chances of something undesirable happening through our preventive maintenance or call a professional drain unblocking service. They will be able to assess the problem and take the correct steps to resolve it. For emergency drain unblocking in and around Bristol, contact Trent’s Drains today. 

We also share advice on our blog on how to handle blocked drains. So check back regularly for more helpful tips and guidance. 






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