Blocked drains are a problem that many households experience at some point, although thankfully they can normally be avoided fairly easily. Installing hair traps in bath and shower plug holes, not using the toilet as a bin, and refraining from pouring cooking fat into the sink are common pieces of advice when it comes to keeping drains clear.
But there are particular problems that can arise among certain people, most notably those with pets. Keeping animals usually involves various materials and substances that others might not have in the house, and some of those can wreak havoc on drains. Here are some of the worst offenders:
A lot of cat litters are designed to clump together when they get wet, which makes cleaning a lot easier and lets you use the same litter for longer without a total change. Unfortunately, that same quality makes this type of litter the perfect substance for making a tight seal in drains and pipes, blocking them firmly. Avoid this problem by throwing litter out in the trash instead of flushing it. Don't be fooled into thinking it's okay to flush non-clumping litter, either – it can still form blockages when it gets soaked.
Just like human hair, pet fur can build up in drains and block the flow of water. You might not think much of flushing small amounts of fur pulled out of pet brushes, but it can soon add up. If you bathe your pet, make sure you have a hair catcher fitted into the plug hole so you can easily remove any fur.
Wood shavings and sawdust are used in the cages of small furry pets because they're absorbent. But that means they swell up when they get wet, which is potentially disastrous if they're flushed down a toilet or rinsed down a sink plug hole. Bag them up and put them in the bin instead, or add them to your compost.
Dry pet food
If you've ever seen dry food that's been soaked in water, you'll probably have been amazed at how much it swells. If you have any waste food that needs to be disposed of, don't do it in the sink or toilet, as it will cause you problems in no time.
Pouring water away directly out of a small aquarium is a quick way to dispose of it, but make sure the plants don't go with it. They can become entangled with other waste, or even cause blockages all on their own.