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Blocked Drains are a Breeding Ground for Bacteria

Published: October 25, 2018 Last Updated: June 02, 2021

Not to try and scare people here but bacteria that can grow inside your drains isn't commonly spoken about. These types of bacteria can cause you and your family all kinds of grief, from feeling generally ill to having to be admitted into hospital.

Blocked Drains are a breeding ground for bacteria

Why take the risk and put off having your drains cleaned and cleared by a professional. A lot of people think that they can do it themselves these days using all different types of remedies found on the internet. Unfortunately, some of these remedies can actually aid in the advancement and growth of the bacteria.

Why bacteria grows in blocked drains?

According to a study conducted at Miami University, high levels of moisture create the perfect conditions for certain types of bacteria to grow and thrive. This is due to the fact that 80 percent of a bacterial cell's weight is water. The location of the drain/sink can determine what types of bacteria are found.

A good example was written in an article posted on the "Today" website, which claims that a kitchen sink can contain up to 500,000 bacteria per square inch, and could have more bacteria than a bathroom sink.

Do you have smelly drains? Let our experts help you.

What types of bacteria can grow?

There are many different types of bacteria that can grow and fester within your drains and sink. Some of the more common ones are as follows:

    Salmonella

  • Salmonella - Can cause typhoidal illness as well as gastrointestinal illness. Typically if a sink is exposed to raw meat, fresh produce and dairy products could pose a health risk. Fecal matter which can be found in bathroom sinks can also contain Salmonella.
  • Campylobacter Jejuni

  • Campylobacter - Normally affects children under the age of 5 and people between the ages of 15 and 29. The sink may breed this type of bacteria if exposed to unchlorinated water, vegetables, raw milk or raw animal food.
  • Escherichia Coli

  • Escherichia Coli - Many E. Coli strains are a beneficial gut bacteria. There are however six groups of bacteria called E. Coli that transmit illnesses through contaminated food and water. Sinks that are exposed to contaminated food or water or even if a person with E. Coli touches the sink can transmit the bacteria.
  • Staphylococcus Aureus

  • Staphylococcus Aureus - Better known as staph is a bacteria that causes infections to wounds, food poisoning, pneumonia and toxic shock. Staph thrives in wet conditions and is resilient and can survive in drier areas such as a sink that isn't used often. You only need to be exposed to as little as 1 microgram or less of staph can lead to staph related illness and infection. Sinks that are exposed to foods that require refridgeration can harbor this vicious bacteria. It may also be transferred if someone was to sneeze or cough on the sink that currently has staph.

What to do to protect my home?

When you start to smell strange odours coming from your drain to talk to a professional. Get your drains cleaned properly with a water jetter and the right chemicals that aren't harmful to you but are catastrophic to bacteria. Another would be to be very careful as to what goes into your drains. Half of the time it is what ends up getting down there that starts the breeding process. Whether it be food scraps or hair, all of these things contribute to blocked drains and ultimately aid in bacteria growth.

Credit and Resource

  • All of bacteria images were sourced from wikipedia and used under the public domain. Thank you to the people below for allowing the use of their photos.
  • Staphylococcus Aureus - Janice Carr
  • Escherichia Coli - Photo by Eric Erbe, digital colorization by Christopher Pooley, both of USDA, ARS, EMU.
  • Campylobacter Jejuni - De Wood, Pooley, USDA, ARS, EMU.
  • Salmonella - Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

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