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4 Most Common Causes Of Commercial Drain Blockage

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When a drain in a commercial building experiences a blockage, the solution often requires something a little more heavy-duty than white vinegar and baking soda. That's because commercial drains see a lot more wear and tear and more general use than residential drains. Experts in commercial drain blockages are used to seeing unusual things in commercial drain pipes. Here are four of the most common causes of blockages.

Objects and Debris 

In a fast-paced commercial kitchen or industrial factory, it's not always easy to control everything that gets into the drain, despite the best efforts of employees and management. In commercial kitchens, it's not uncommon for utensils, like forks and knives, to end up down the drain, causing massive problems later on. Other common problems include sanitary items, like napkins, tampons, toilet paper, and paper towels.


Human hair has an uncanny tendency to find its way into drains too, even commercial drains. As hair accumulates and becomes entangled with the objects and debris that are lost down the drain, it can create a snarled mess. Even worse is when both objects and hair come into contact with the next most common cause of blockages.

Fat and Grease

Plumbing experts always implore people not to dump fat and grease down the drain. That's because drain blockage experts know that when fat and grease begin to line the inside of a pipe, it can turn into a big mess quickly, especially when it begins to collect the debris and hair that find their way down the drain. There's a name for these massive blockages of fat and debris: fatbergs. A fatberg is a dense, solid lump of fat mixed with objects, like paper towels and wipes, that become entangled in drain pipes, creating blockages that are difficult for even the most seasoned commercial drain expert to remove.

Organic Matter

Another common cause of blockages is organic matter, such as root systems, leaves, branches, or twigs, that find their way into the drainage system and become entangled.  

The Solution

Fortunately, experienced commercial drain blockage experts can remove most clogs with industrial drain snakes or augers, hydro-jetting (a process that uses highly pressurized streams of water to clean the inside of drain pipes), and also pressurized air. A professional may begin by feeding a pipe camera into the drain in order to locate the source of the clog and figure out the most effective way to remove it.

Contact a local plumbing service, such as American Services, to learn more.