Why Is My Drain Clogged? A Michigan Plumber Explains

Every homeowner can agree that clogged drains are an annoyance.

The most common drain clogs are typically found in:

  • The kitchen sink
  • The bathroom sink/shower
  • The toilet

Below, we’ll break down why these drains typically clog, ways to fix those clogs and how you can prevent clogs in the future.

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Why is my kitchen sink clogged?

Your sink is most likely clogged because too much food or the wrong food was washed down your drain.

While the garbage disposal is a great tool, the more food you put down your drain, the more grime can build up and cause a clog.

There are also certain types of food that shouldn’t go down the drain. They can cause a clog because they either obstruct the drain or cling to the inside of your pipes. Oils, fats and grease are especially terrible for your drain because they congeal together and trap other food from going down the drain.

To prevent future kitchen sink clogs, avoid putting the following food items down the drain:

  • Bones
  • Coffee grounds
  • Corn husks
  • Eggshells
  • Fibrous fruits/vegetables (e.g. celery, carrots, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, onions)
  • Fruit pits
  • Oils, fats, grease
  • Pasta, bread and rice
  • Potato peels

You should toss the above items into the garbage or compost.

To get rid of a clog in your kitchen sink, a quick DIY solution is to:

  • Pour ½ cup of dish soap into the drain
  • Run lukewarm water

The dish soap helps to remove any built-up grease caked to your drain. If the clog is particularly stubborn and doesn’t dissolve, reach out to a professional plumber to handle the clog.

Why is my bathroom sink/shower clogged?

If your bathroom sink or shower is clogged, the main reason is probably hair.

You can fix a clogged sink or shower drain with a simple DIY solution:

  • First, run warm water down the drain
  • Then pour a handful of baking soda down the drain and rinse it with hot water
  • Lastly, pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar into the drain
  • Wait 30 minutes then run hot water again for a few minutes

If your sink or shower stays clogged after you tried the DIY solution, contact a professional plumber to help clear the clog and prevent damage to your pipes.

To prevent future clogs in your bathroom sink drain, make sure you don’t brush your hair over the sink. Excess toothpaste in the drain is another reason why your sink may be clogged. If you accidentally use too much toothpaste, throw it into the trash and not down your sink.

To prevent future clogs in your shower drain, it’s a good idea to buy a hair catcher or drain protector. They’re inexpensive and can save you a lot of money and trouble in the future. You can also brush your hair before jumping into the shower, which will reduce the amount of loose hair that ends up in your drain.

Why is my toilet clogged?

When toilets get clogged, it’s most likely because of excessive toilet paper or wipes being flushed down the drain. Another reason could be from scale build up in aging drains, causing a rough drain surface, which interrupts the normal flow of water.


To unclog your toilet, start by:

  1. Making sure there’s enough water in the bowl to cover the plunger head by tossing in a cup of water
  2. Angling the plunger to fit over the toilet’s drain hole so the plunger seals the hole
  3. Moving the plunger up-and-down 5-6 times
  4. Flushing the toilet

If the clog sticks around or you’re afraid that adding more water will make the toilet overflow, contact a professional plumber to handle the clog.

To prevent future toilet clogs, do not flush the below objects:

  • Baby wipes—even if labeled as flushable
  • Cat litter
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Floss
  • Hair
  • Nail clippings
  • Paper towels/tissues
  • Pills
  • Q-tips or cotton pads/balls

Need help unclogging a drain? Contact Thornton & Grooms

We make getting your drain unclogged as easy as possible for you with upfront, flat prices and same-day service.

Once we get there, you know you can just sit back and relax. With over 80+ years of experience serving Michigan homeowners, we’ve seen every kind of drain clog out there.

Schedule service today!