What Are the Common Causes of Drain Blockages?


As the premier plumbing specialists serving the Inland Empire, including Riverside, Banning, Beaumont, Palm Springs, and the surrounding Desert Cities, we at Inland Empire Easy Rooter & Plumbing take pride in educating our community about the common culprits of drain blockages. Our experience, honed over the years, equips us to deal with a variety of plumbing issues, and drain blockages top the list.

Why does this matter, you ask? Understanding the common causes of drain blockages can save you from potential plumbing issues. It can help you take preventative measures, keeping your plumbing system in prime condition and saving you time and money in the long run.


One of the prime suspects in the case of drain blockages is hair. It’s the silent culprit lurking in your shower and bathroom sink drains. When we shower, shave, or even brush our hair, strands are lost and they inevitably find their way down the drain. A few strands may not seem like a big deal, but over time, this hair accumulates and intertwines, creating an increasingly dense web that traps other debris and slows the water flow.

The problem exacerbates when hair interacts with other substances such as grease, soap scum, and dirt. This combination can lead to a hard, almost impenetrable clog. Using a drain guard to catch hair and regularly clearing it can help prevent the buildup. Additionally, routine professional cleaning is beneficial to remove any hair and debris that’s out of your reach.

Grease and Fats

Kitchen drains face their own nemesis—grease and fats. These substances are a leading cause of kitchen drain blockages. When washing dishes, remnants of fat and grease from our food often end up swirling down the drain. While they are liquid and seemingly harmless when warm, as they cool, they solidify and stick to the sides of pipes.

Over time, this buildup of fat and grease can narrow the pipe diameter significantly, reducing water flow or causing a complete blockage. It’s akin to a person’s arteries getting blocked by the accumulation of fat—the principle is the same, and the results are equally troublesome.

Disposing of fat and grease appropriately can help prevent this. Rather than pouring them down the drain, let them cool and solidify, then scrape them into the trash. Using grease-fighting dish soap can also help break down fats and prevent them from sticking to your pipes.


Surprisingly, soap, an agent of cleanliness, can be a contributing factor to drain blockages. Traditional bar soaps contain fat or grease. When soap combines with minerals in water, it leaves behind a hard residue known as soap scum. This soap scum sticks to the surfaces of pipes and over time, it accumulates, reducing water flow and creating clogs.

Furthermore, soap scum is not just a problem for your pipes—it can also build up on your fixtures, sinks, and tubs, creating unsightly stains. Switching to soap-free washes or regularly using a soap scum remover can help prevent buildup. Regularly cleaning your drains with a mixture of hot water and vinegar can also help break down soap scum and keep your drains flowing freely.

Foreign Objects

The drain system is specifically designed to transport water and certain water-soluble items, not solid objects. When foreign objects such as sanitary items, baby wipes, cotton buds, or even toys are flushed down the toilet or thrown into the drain, they can easily cause a blockage.

These items do not break down like toilet paper, but instead, stay intact, blocking the pipes. It’s essential to ensure only suitable items are flushed down the toilet or disposed of in the sink. Regularly educating family members, especially children, about what can and can’t go down the drain can prevent unnecessary blockages.

Remember, prevention is the best way to avoid the inconvenience and potential cost of severe drain blockages. But, when blockages do occur, Inland Empire Easy Rooter & Plumbing is here to help. With our expertise and commitment to providing quality service, we’re ready to tackle all your plumbing needs, no matter how big or small.

Tree Roots

One of the more significant and problematic causes of drain blockages is tree roots. Trees are always in search of water sources for nourishment, and unfortunately, your underground pipes prove to be tempting targets. The moisture that seeps out from your pipes, especially sewer lines, attracts tree roots, prompting them to grow towards and eventually into the pipes.

These roots penetrate through tiny cracks or joints in the pipe, causing the small initial openings to enlarge over time. Once inside the pipe, the roots can grow rapidly, taking advantage of the abundant nutrients and moisture. This growth results in a thick network of roots that can obstruct the water flow entirely, causing blockages, decreased pipe functionality, and even pipe breakage in more extreme cases.

Aside from these direct implications, tree roots can also trap other debris flowing through the pipes, such as grease, toilet paper, and food particles, exacerbating the blockage. Additionally, during colder months, these roots can retain water and freeze, causing further damage.

Regular inspections are the key to preventing and managing tree root intrusion. Drain cameras are a particularly effective tool, allowing plumbers to spot any root intrusion early and address it before it causes significant damage. If roots have already invaded your pipes, professional rooter services can cut and remove the roots, restoring your drains functionality.

It’s also advisable to be mindful of where you plant trees in your yard. Keeping them at a safe distance from your drain lines can prevent root intrusion. In cases where the tree is too close to the pipes, or the roots are too aggressive, you may need to consider removing the tree or replacing the pipe with one made from a more resistant material.

Need Professional Draining Cleaning in the Inland Empire?

At Inland Empire Easy Rooter & Plumbing, we’re experts at quickly identifying and resolving drain blockages. Our experience serving the Inland Empire, including Riverside, Banning, Beaumont, Palm Springs, and the surrounding Desert Cities has prepared us to handle any drain issue you might face. We understand that every minute counts when dealing with a blockage, and our team is committed to providing fast, efficient, and high-quality service.

Preventing a blocked drain can sometimes be as easy as being mindful of what goes down it. Regular maintenance and inspection can also help you avoid any unpleasant surprises. If you’re dealing with a stubborn blockage or need an expert’s touch, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team is ready to tackle any plumbing challenge you have, keeping your home’s plumbing in top shape and your life hassle-free.

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