The Ultimate Guide to Sewer Drain Cleaning: Everything You Need to Know

May 20, 2024 | Drains, Plumbing, Sewer

When it comes to maintaining a healthy home, one of the most often overlooked yet crucial tasks is sewer drain cleaning. A clogged sewer drain can lead to a host of problems, including water damage, unpleasant odors, and even health hazards. Understanding the importance of regular sewer drain maintenance can save you from costly repairs and ensure your plumbing system runs smoothly. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of sewer drain cleaning, common issues, preventative measures, and professional solutions.

Benefits of Routine Sewer Drain Cleaning

Regular sewer drain cleaning offers numerous benefits that contribute to a smoothly functioning plumbing system and a healthier living environment. Here are some key advantages of scheduling routine drain cleaning:

Prevents Blockages

One of the most obvious benefits of regular drain cleaning is the prevention of blockages. Routine maintenance removes buildup of grease, soap scum, hair, and other debris that can cause clogs, ensuring that water flows freely through your pipes.

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Reduces Odors

Persistent foul odors emanating from your drains can make your living spaces unpleasant. Regular cleaning helps to eliminate the trapped organic material and debris that contribute to these smells, keeping your home fresh and clean.

Extends the Lifespan of Your Plumbing System

Routine drain cleaning can help extend the lifespan of your plumbing system. Removing buildup and preventing clogs reduces wear and tear on your pipes, avoiding the need for costly repairs or replacements in the long run.

Improves Drainage Speed

Over time, drains can become sluggish due to buildup and partial blockages. Regular cleaning ensures that your drains maintain optimal flow rates, reducing the risk of slow drainage and slow draining sinks, showers, and tubs.

Maintains a Healthy Environment

Clogged drains can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold, posing health risks to your household. By keeping your drains clean, you prevent these harmful microorganisms from proliferating, thereby maintaining a healthier living environment.

Cost Savings

By preventing severe blockages and potential damage to your sewer lines, routine drain cleaning can save you money on emergency repairs and extensive plumbing work. Proactive maintenance is often more cost-effective than reactive fixes.

Identifies Potential Issues Early

Regular inspections and cleaning can help identify minor issues before they become major problems. Detecting and addressing potential issues early can prevent more significant damage and disruptions to your plumbing system.

Incorporating routine sewer drain cleaning into your home maintenance schedule can provide peace of mind, ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your plumbing system. Regular cleaning helps to prevent unexpected disruptions and maintains a healthier, more comfortable living environment.

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Common Causes of Sewer Drain Blockages

Understanding what causes sewer drain blockages can help you take preventative measures. Here are some of the most common culprits:

Grease and Fat

Pouring grease and fat down the drain may seem harmless, but over time, they solidify and create stubborn blockages. Always dispose of grease and fat in the trash rather than the sink even if you have a garbage disposal.


Hair is another frequent cause of drain blockages, especially in bathroom sinks and showers. Installing a drain guard can help catch hair before it goes down the drain causing a clogged drain.

Tree Roots or Tree Root Intrusion in Main Drain Line

Tree roots naturally seek out water sources, and your main sewer line is a prime target. Once roots infiltrate the pipes, they can cause significant damage and blockages. Regular inspections and maintenance can help detect and address root intrusion early.

Foreign Objects

Items like paper towels, sanitary products, and children’s toys can easily cause blockages if flushed down the toilet or washed down the sink. It’s important to remind household members to dispose of these items properly.

Soap Scum

Soap, especially bar soap, can leave behind a residue that accumulates over time, leading to blockages. Switching to liquid soap and regularly cleaning your drains can help mitigate this issue.

Baking soda and vinegar

DIY Sewer Drain Cleaning Tips

While professional cleaning is recommended for severe blockages, there are several DIY methods you can try to keep your drains clear:

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water down the drain can help dissolve grease and soap scum build-up in the main line This method is most effective for minor blockages.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

A natural and environmentally friendly solution to commercial drain cleaners, baking soda, and vinegar can help break down organic matter causing blockages. Pour half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then flush with hot water.


A plunger can be an effective tool for dislodging minor blockages. Make sure there’s enough water in the sink or toilet to cover the plunger, and use a firm, consistent motion to create suction and dislodge the blockage.

Drain Snake

A drain snake, also known as a plumber’s auger, is a long, flexible tool that can reach deep into your drain lines to remove blockages. Insert the snake into the drain and rotate it to break up the clogged sewer line.

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When to Call a Professional

While DIY methods can be effective for minor blockages, there are times when calling a professional is necessary:

Persistent Blockages

If you’ve tried multiple DIY methods and the blockage persists, it’s time to call a professional. Persistent blockages can indicate a more serious underlying issue that requires specialized equipment and expertise.

Multiple Clogged Drains

If several drains in your home are clogged simultaneously, it could indicate a blockage in the main sewer line. This is a serious issue that requires immediate professional attention.

Unpleasant Odors

Persistent foul odors coming from your drains can indicate a blockage or damage in the sewer line. A professional can identify the source of the odor and recommend appropriate solutions.

Slow Drains

Slow drains are often a sign of a developing blockage. Addressing the issue early can prevent a complete blockage and potential overflow.

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Professional Sewer Drain Cleaning Methods

Professionals have access to advanced tools and techniques that can effectively address even the most stubborn blockages. Here are some common methods used by professionals:

Hydro Jetting The Sewer Line

Hydro jetting involves using high-pressure water to clear blockages and clean the inside of your pipes. This method is highly effective for removing grease, roots, and other debris.

Video Inspection

A video inspection allows professionals to visually inspect the inside of your sewer lines using a small camera. This helps identify the exact location and cause of the blockage, ensuring a targeted and effective solution.

Root Removal

For blockages caused by tree roots, professionals use specialized tools to cut through and remove the roots. They may also recommend treatments to prevent future root intrusion.

Pipe Replacement

In cases of severe damage, pipe replacement may be necessary. Professionals can replace damaged sections of your sewer line to restore proper function and prevent future issues.

Preventative Measures for Maintaining Clean Drains

Preventing blockages is always better than dealing with them after they occur. Here are some preventative measures you can take to maintain clean drains:

Regular Inspections

Schedule regular inspections with a professional to detect and address potential issues before they become major problems.

Proper Disposal

Avoid disposing of grease, fat, hair, and foreign objects down the drain. Use drain guards and educate household members on proper disposal methods.

Routine Cleaning

Incorporate routine cleaning methods, such as boiling water and baking soda/vinegar solutions, to keep your drains clear.

Landscaping Considerations

Be mindful of tree placement in your yard. Plant trees away from your sewer line to prevent root intrusion.

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Why You Should Have MD Sewer and Plumbing Do Your Routine Sewer Drain Cleanings

Choosing the right professionals for your routine sewer drain cleanings is crucial to maintaining a reliable plumbing system and a healthy home environment. Here are several compelling reasons why MD Sewer and Plumbing should be your go-to service provider:

Expertise and Experience

MD Sewer and Plumbing boast years of experience and a team of certified experts who are well-versed in handling all types of sewer drain issues. Their in-depth knowledge and practical skills ensure that every cleaning job is done efficiently and effectively.

State-of-the-Art Equipment

MD Sewer and Plumbing utilizes the latest tools and technology, including high-pressure hydro jetting and advanced video inspection systems. This cutting-edge equipment guarantees thorough cleaning and precise diagnosis, addressing problems at their root, and preventing future issues.

Comprehensive Services

From routine maintenance to complex repairs, MD Sewer and Plumbing offer a full range of services to meet all your plumbing needs. Their comprehensive approach ensures that any potential issues are identified and resolved promptly, providing you with complete peace of mind.


Sewer drain cleaning is an essential aspect of home maintenance that can save you from costly repairs and ensure a healthy living environment. By understanding the common causes of blockages, trying DIY methods, and knowing when to call a professional, you can effectively manage and maintain your sewer system. Remember, preventative measures are key to keeping your drains clear and your plumbing system in top condition.

For those who prefer to leave it to the experts, professional services offer advanced solutions like hydro jetting and video inspections to tackle even the toughest blockages. Whether you’re dealing with a minor clog or a major drain line issue, the right approach can make all the difference.

Don’t wait until a blockage disrupts your daily life. Take proactive steps to maintain your sewer drains and enjoy a smoothly functioning plumbing system. If you ever find yourself in need of professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted plumbing service. Your home’s health and your peace of mind are worth it

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