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5 Surprising Health Risks of Dirty Drains

Similar to dirty sinks, dirty drains can pose a serious risk to your health. Dirty drains can expose you and your family to illness-causing bacteria, even if you keep your bathroom and kitchen clean.

If you think that your drains need to be cleaned, professional services are the best way to reduce health risks and protect your plumbing. Leaving dirty drains for too long can cause serious health risks, not to mention costly damages to your plumbing system.

Exposure to Bacteria and Pathogens

Blockages pose the greatest risk because dirty water is unable to be carried away from the home. When it backs up, you are exposed to bacteria that could cause serious illness. The longer water sits, the more bacteria grows. Dirty drains have to be cleaned often to ensure that they aren’t a hazard to you or your family.

Aggravating Respiratory Problems

Dirty drains grow more than bacteria; they can also harbor mildew and mold. Both of these fungal growths produce spores, which then travel through the air and can cause symptoms like coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and nasal congestion.

People with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are more likely to experience worsened symptoms living in a house with mold or mildew.


The unpleasant odor in dirty drains comes from bacteria and decaying organic matter. As these decompose, they release foul-smelling gases like hydrogen sulfide and methane, which can lead to headaches.

That classic “sewer smell” associated with dirty drains indicates that there’s a buildup of grime that needs to be professionally removed. Over-the-counter drain cleaners may dislodge dirt, but it also erodes pipes. Instead, it’s best to work with a plumber who has the right tools and know-how to flush your drains without damaging the infrastructure.


Insects make unwelcome house guests for people with dirty drains. Dreaded cockroaches, flies, and even mice and rats can be attracted to the decaying organic matter in drains. The moisture within the drainpipes also makes a prime environment for many bugs.

While the sight of these pests is horrible enough, cockroaches and rodents carry bacteria and pathogens that can cause diseases and trigger allergic reactions.

Hazardous Waste Exposure

Another major issue with a dirty drain is the eventual buildup and clog that causes backflow. When this happens, dirty water, bacteria, and pathogens enter your sinks and tubs. They can even overflow onto the floor.

Dirty drains can also cause blockages to form, eventually causing pipes to leak or burst. This can lead to structural damage that poses a hazard to you and your family. In addition to harboring mold growth, leaks and bursts can also contaminate walls and floors.

Schedule Drain Cleaning Today

Contact the experts at Flatirons Plumbing in Arvada, CO, to schedule professional drain cleaning services at your earliest convenience.