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What Is Causing That Drain Clog?

drain bubbles

Our plumbers handle a huge number of different jobs, from installing new piping for homes to extensive commercial plumbing services. But we know that when most people think of “plumbers,” the first job they think of is “drain unclogging.” Drain clogs are the most common plumbing hassle and drain cleaning to fix clogged or slow drains are one of the most important parts of our day-to-day operations.

A reason clogs are so common is that there are so many different things that can cause them to start in drain pipes. Below we’ll try to answer this most frequently asked of all plumbing questions, “What’s clogging up my drain?”


Hair clogs are the bane of bathroom drains. Sink, shower, and bathtub drains often draw in a lot of loose hair. The hair strands become stuck in the p-trap, the curved section of pipe beneath the drain. Once lodged there, the hair will begin to ensnare other hair as well as debris, leading to a tangle that can slow down the drainage or stop it completely. These clogs are tough to clear out thoroughly without the assistance of professional plumbers. We recommend using drain covers to slow down hair accumulation.

Soap scum

It’s hard to stop soap from going down drains around the house. If you’ve ever seen soap caked onto a soap dish, you’ll have some idea of how tough and obstinate soap scum build-up is. Not only does this build-up threaten to clog the drain, but it can also create chemical reactions with the pipe material leading to corrosion. (A potential chemical reaction between soap and liquid drain cleaners is one of the reasons no professional plumbers recommend using these store-bought “cleaners.”)

Food and FOG

This is the big trouble for kitchen drains. Food particles and fats, oils, and grease (FOG) wash down the drains—but often not all the way. FOG is particularly tenacious: when the hot liquid cools down, it changes into a waxy solid that is tough to remove from pipe walls without using professional tools like hydro-jetting. This organic accumulation can also lead to unpleasant odors from the drains and the appearance of drain flies.

Hard water minerals

Many homes have problems with hard water, which is water with high levels of calcium and magnesium. The minerals leave scale behind in the pipes, which slow drains and even clog them entirely. Professional drain cleaning can remove this scale, but we also recommend you look into having a water softener installed to attack the trouble at its source. Your entire plumbing system will thank you!

Small objects knocked over into the drains

Finally, bottle tops, children’s toys, and other small objects that might accidentally fall down a drain are another leading cause of clogs. Again, we recommend putting drain covers over your drains to stop this problem from happening in the first place.

Solving any of these drain clog troubles is as easy as contacting us for drain cleaning in Frederick, MD or elsewhere in our service area. We also offer routine drain cleaning to see that your drains have as few clogs in the future as possible.

Mallick Plumbing & Heating: The Service Contractor of Choice in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.