3rd October, 2018

How to Prevent Blocked Drains in Commercial Bathrooms and Kitchens

woman using a plumnger to fix a kitchen sink

Top Causes and Fixes for Commercial Blocked Drains

Blocked drains can be very messy, especially in a commercial kitchen or bathroom with high traffic.

Restaurant, cafe, hotel and public facilities need to reliably meet a higher volume of use. A blocked sink or flooded shower is unpleasant and inconvenient, but it can also cause a serious health hazard and shut operations down.

In this article, we discuss some of the common causes of blocked drains in commercial kitchen and bathrooms, and how to fix and prevent them in the future.


What Are the Signs of a Blocked Drain?

There are a number of early warning signs that you might have a blocked drain. These include:

  • A sulfur-like smell
  • Gurgling sounds coming from the drain
  • Overflowing plumbing fixtures
  • Drips, puddles and wet floors
  • Slow-draining basins
  • Changes to water pressure

Knowing these symptoms will help you identify issues before a serious problem develops.



What Problems Does a Blocked Drain Cause?

Blocked kitchen and bathroom drains are not only disruptive, they can lead to persistent and costly problems. Some of these include:

  • Unpleasant odours
  • Stagnant water, which attracts insects and pests
  • Water stains on your walls and ceilings
  • Excessive water bills caused by leaks
  • Sewage discharge on your property
  • Broken or burst pipes
  • Flooding


How Can I Prevent A Blocked Drain?

Many drainage problems can be avoided with regular preventative maintenance. Here we take a look at three of the top causes of blocked drains and the best ways to prevent them.



Oil might be a liquid, but it’s not ok to pour it down the sink. The build-up of grease from cooking oils is a common cause of clogged pipes, slow drains and water backup. The grease and lard in oil solidify as they cool, building up inside the drain and attracting more grime.

Solution and Prevention

Never pour oil down the drain. Place oil into a container and throw it away in the bin or phone a professional oil removal service. Sluice the drain at least once a week with 2–3 litres of boiling water to prevent build-up. If you have a grease trap, make sure you clean it every 4–6 weeks.

Food scraps


Many people throw food scraps down the drain without considering the impact it can have on their pipes. Food scraps get stuck and block your drain, but they also grow bacteria and mould, producing a sewage-like smell.

Solution and Prevention

Use a sink strainer to catch large residue and debris that could contribute to a blockage. Scrape food off plates into a bin or compost before rinsing in the sink. Never tip coffee ground down the sink. Coffee granules don’t break down in water and will clump together to clog your pipes.



Hair accumulates in bathtubs and showers, trapping soapy residue and skin particles in the drain to create an impermeable clump. Even small hairs from shaving a beard can collect on the pipe walls and build up slowly.

Solution and Prevention

Regular removal of hair from the drain is key. Put on gloves, remove the grate, and pull out any hair to prevent build-up. Brush your hair over the bathroom floor rather than in the shower, so you can sweep it up. Replace pop-up basin wastes with standard fittings to encourage more free-flowing drainage.


How to Fix a Blocked Drain

There are some simple things you can try to fix a blocked drain. Start by pouring several litres of boiling water down the sink. Use a plunger and then pour through more boiling water.

To correctly use a plunger, place the cup over the entire drain opening and cover the lipped rim with water. Push the plunger up and down to create suction and push the clog down the drain. If the drain is still blocked, use a chemical drain cleaner or, for a more environmentally friendly option, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.


Quick tip to fix a smelly sink

Have you noticed an unpleasant smell from your sinks on dry, windy days? This is caused by wind running over the top of the pipes, sucking water out of the traps. When the water level drops, smells from the sewer rise. To stop the smell, run your taps or showers for five seconds and flush the toilets to top up water in the drains.  


When Should I Call a Plumber For a Blocked Drain?

Despite the best DIY intentions, there are times when you need to call a professional. A qualified plumber has the expertise and sophisticated equipment to handle chronic and repeated blockages. Using electric eels (drain snakes), high-pressure water jetters and CCTV cameras, a plumber can locate and eliminate blockages caused by oils, food and hair, as well as:

  • Foreign objects, like cotton balls and buds, jewellery, bottle tops and small children’s toys
  • Faulty installation with insufficient fall for waste transfer
  • Cracked, damaged or broken pipes.

Your plumber will clean the blocked drain thoroughly and identify any issues that might cause long-term or future damage. Emu Commercial Plumbing are qualified and fully equipped to use CCTV pipe inspection technology, and Pipe Relining technology to inspect, identify and repair any damage to buried pipes. 



If you have a blocked drain or pipe, we can help.

Emu Commercial Plumbing services the greater Brisbane area. Our commercial plumbers are experienced in drain inspections using the latest CCTV technoloyg,  repairing clogs and blockages and using pipe relining for larger damage.

  • “Well organised, efficient and competitively priced.”

    Have been using Tony Bonehill & his team from Emu Plumbing for a number of years and have no hesitation in recommending them for all types of plumbing works. I manage a large property portfolio, and I need to be able to rely on my tradespeople, and I never have to second guess using Emu Plumbing. They are well organised, efficient & competitively priced!

    Toni J
  • “Quick, knowledgeable and competitive on price.”

    I have been in this industry now for more than 25 years across a number of different venues and was introduced to Tony and his team by another friend that owns and runs a restaurant in Brisbane. For more than the last five years he has been one of our top trade contacts, and I would recommend Emu to anyone that is interested in getting the job done right the first time.

    They are always on time, and they are clean and tidy workers (which is essential in a commercial kitchen). They clean up, take photos of the work completed and are always happy to do a quick site check to see if anything else may need attention in the future. Quick, knowledgeable and competitive on price.

    Nick P, Malt Group
  • “High standard of service and prompt response.”

    I would highly recommend Emu Plumbing to any Strata Scheme looking for an outstanding Maintenance Plumber. Their expertise, high standard of service and prompt response is why I have continued to use Emu Plumbing for all our plumbing issues.

    John T, AD Body Corporate
  • “Efficient processes, quality workmanship and quick turnaround.”

    Efficient processes, quality workmanship and quick turnaround, is why we at Sikorsky Helitech, a Lockheed Martin company, choose Emu Plumbing for all our plumbing services. In the Commercial world, downtime means money, so it is very important to our company that we have trades that understand an urgent “Call to Action” like Emu Plumbing.

    Paul C, Sikorsky Helitech
  • “Emu plumbing is the market leader”

    Precision Aviation Group Australia uses Emu Plumbing for all plumbing and gas fitting requirements that arise on site.

    Tony and his team leave no stone unturned in their support of our needs. They go above and beyond to ensure that the time frames and quality of the work are to the highest level and they continue with the customer comes first attitude when the work is complete. For any commercial plumbing or gas fitting requirements, Emu plumbing is the market leader.

    Chris S, Precision Aviation
  • “The best plumbers I have worked with, they never let me down.”

    I have worked with Tony and the Emu Plumbing Team over nearly 4 years. The level of professionalism, and most importantly honesty and integrity that the Team delivers every day is outstanding. Tony is always available for advice over the phone to our Tenants and Landlords.

    I would recommend Tony and the Emu Team as the best plumbers I have worked with, and they have never let me down. Now that is something that is hard to find!

    Stephanie C
  • “Very happy to recommend Emu Plumbing”

    I have had the pleasure of using Emu Plumbing several times. On all occasions they have been very helpful, informative and prompt, with their advice and service. The work they have carried out has always been completed reliably as promised and very professionally. Very happy to recommend Emu Plumbing.

    Ian D
  • “I have no hesitation in recommending the Emu Plumbing team.”

    A huge thank you to Tony, Al and Bryce for helping us get Mrs Brown’s Bar & Kitchen up and running! You’ve been incredible, and we’re very appreciative of your efforts, which went above and beyond the norm on many occasions. We used lots of second-hand and re-purposed items during our fit-out, and nothing was straightforward – but nothing was ever a problem for the boys. I have no hesitation in recommending the Emu Plumbing team, and am glad they’re part of ours.


    Ben B, Mrs Brown’s Bar & Kitchen
  • “Fast responses, extremely polite, and honest work”

    The team at Emu plumbing never fail to impress. Tony, Niles, Eli and Joseph are all beyond excellent in their work. Fast responses, extremely polite, and honest work. They’re very thorough and take time to explain situations to make sure everyone understands what is being done and why, they hold a great attention to detail and always clean up after themselves. I can’t recommend Emu enough.

    Thank you guys!

    Airport Hacienda Motel
  • “Prompt and excellent service!”

    I moved into a new unit to find no water was flowing through the pipes. My property manager sent Eric from Emu Plumbing who fixed the matter quickly.

    Someone turned off my water supply last night as water from my unit was leaking downstairs into the foyer! Along came Eric who again fixed the problem of my laundry taps and he even left ‘who gives a crap’ toilet paper. Fantastic!!

    Prompt and excellent service from your company – Eric was polite and efficient.

    Ronda D, Property Managed by Place New Farm
  • “The whole process from the quoting and booking to the completion of the job was effortless”

    Had the guys out doing storm water pipes for my new shed. 
    Very knowledgeable guys who did a great job. The whole process from the quoting and booking to the completion of the job was effortless!! Fantastic team. Highly recommended!

    Brad S
  • “They did a very thorough, excellent job, with photographic evidence, were very reasonably priced and very professional”

    I needed to call an emergency plumber on a Saturday afternoon for issues at the office where I work in Kingsford Smith Drive in Eagle Farm. I called two local after-hours plumbers without success. Emu answered on the first ring although already busy with a job down the road. They estimated they would be finished with the current job and would be at the office by 4.30 pm which they were. They did a very thorough, excellent job, with photographic evidence, were very reasonably priced and very professional/ I would highly recommend them and use their services again without hesitation.

    Teresa S, Odyssey Gaming
  • “Will use you guys again for sure”

    Very happy with your service and the work done…  will use you guys again for sure.

    Wayne W, Equipment Finance and Leasing
  • “I would recommend”

    Efficient, reliable and friendly service. I would recommend Emu plumbing!
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
    Chris A, Waterstop Solutions QLD
  • “The boys deserve some high praise”

    I just wanted to let you know what a good job your young lads did. We’re very happy with the result. The boys deserve some high praise – so efficient, thoughtful, pleasant and a work ethic to be treasured.

    Betty M
  • “Absolutely amazing and very helpful”

    We were in a situation where we needed a gas technician to come and assess if there was a gas leak at our property where a previous technician has disconnected our gas cylinder and therefore had no gas for hot showers etc. The team at Emu were absolutely amazing and very helpful when I rang them and told them about our situation. A technician was organised to come out and he managed to fix the problem.

    It’s nice to know that humanity still exists and that they helped as soon as they could, at a reasonable price too! A huge Thank You to the great team at Emu (Shakira, Nials and Tony), we will definitely recommend your business to others as well!

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Szandra P
  • “We really appreciate the way he went about his business before, during and especially after”

    Today we had Tyler from Emu Plumbing come out to our address in Coorparoo. He was courteous, helpful and fixed our issue without to much fuss.

    But what impressed us the most is the fact he cleaned up the mess created and went the extra yard to leave our site spotless. We really appreciate the way he went about his business before, during and especially after.

    Later that night, we had the guys from Urban Utilities to fix up the issue in the mains. They even commented on how the plumber cleaned. Thanks Tyler!

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    Tony W

Request an on-site quote

Talk to us today for a comprehensive on-site quote for pipe relining,
water jetter, CCTV pipe inspection and more!

Get Your Quote
or call us on 07 3358 3201

Confirm your Plumbing Health Check

To confirm your plumbing health check simply fill out the form below and one of our friendly staff will be in touch to book in your appointment.

Start your enquiry here

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.