We have all experienced a slow-moving drain from our bathroom sink. It’s interesting how we will see our water draining slower and slower, and do nothing until it’s clogged. We then decide to take action. Most bathroom drains get heavy use, especially Jack and Jill bathroom sinks. If you’re a family with teenagers, slow-moving drains are a common occurrence. Bacteria from your waste lines stick to the walls in your bathroom drains and typically cause the black material, also called black slime, to keep clogging up your drains. The bacteria tends to multiply and expand over time, especially considering that the organic nature of the debris that flows down these drains gives the bacteria a food supply to survive.
The Black Slime Has Many Names
When it comes to black slime in your drain, it’s always best to tackle the problem sooner than later. The black stuff has many names, such as black sludge, bio-slime, and biofilm. The slime is a living organism made up of hair products, skin cells, body oils, food, toothpaste, hair, phlegm, and anything else that can stick to the walls of your bathroom drain. Once in your drain, it attaches to whatever it can, including the stopper where hair gathers. Once the hair starts gathering, it forms a nasty ball of hair full of black slime.
The bathroom sink isn’t the only place the bacteria grows. It will also grow in your shower and bathtub drains as well. However, the bath and shower drain take longer to grow because the drainpipe is larger than the sink drains.
The Organic Approach To Black Slime
Black slime usually gathers toward the top of your drain. The slime sticks to the sink stopper and collects waste. Assuming you’re not the do-it-yourselfer and do not want to remove the stopper, then you have a few options. If you prefer the organic method, take half a cup of baking soda and carefully push it into the drain until it reaches the top. Then slowly pour vinegar over the baking soda. You’ll hear it fizzing. Wait 10-15 minutes and pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain. If It doesn’t do the trick, then repeat the process.
Better Yet, Make It Part Of Your Maintenance Plan
I’ve used the baking soda and vinegar process before. I have also repeated the process a couple of times. Although it loosened the drains enough to get them flowing, it did not work as well as I would have liked it too. After a few minutes with the water running, the sink started backing up again, which told me there was still junk in my drainpipe. This method should get used on minor slow-moving drains or, better yet, part of a maintenance plan for your drains.
Clear Your Drains With Conventional Drain Cleaners
We have heard the horror stories about drain cleaners that eat your pipes. Unfortunately, nothing is further from the truth, at least with branded drain cleaners. Please don’t feed into the, “Eat your pipe theory,” that usually gets passed on from one plumber to another. Most plumbers have never understood the science behind branded drain cleaners such as Drano and Liquid Plumr. Can you imagine a drain cleaner lasting 60 years in the market while eating your pipes? NO! These drain cleaners are not intended for tough clogs or clogged toilets.
Don’t Feed Into Scare Tactics About Drain Cleaners
You can safely use a conventional drain cleaner such as Drano Max Build Up Remover, Roebic Crystal Drain Opener, Liquid Plumr Clog Remover, and Zep Clog Attack. These are all recommended for small drains and are safe for drains and minor clogs. In fact, Drano Max Build-Up Remover contains natural enzymes and macrobiotics. These products are also safe to use for monthly maintenance. However, these products are not meant to replace your plumbing expert and should never get used on tough clogs or toilets. Carefully follow the directions and never leave those products where a child has access.
Cool, Cheap Tools For Clearing Hair
There are some cool tools that you can purchase for less than ten dollars that can clear the hair from your sink drain. The tools are FlexiSnake Plastic Drain Stick and a ZIP-IT drain cleaner tool. It would help if you only used these tools when accompanied by the other drain cleaning methods because they are only suitable for removing hair and will not remove the black slime. When you’ve exhausted all your efforts for clearing your drain, call your plumbing technician at Big B’s Plumbing. License #986152
An Ounce Of Prevention Is Better Than A Pound Of Cure
Prevention is best for any drain, and prevention and maintenance go hand in hand. Something as simple as pouring a kettle of boiling water down your bathroom drains weekly can help stop the growth of black slime. Family members must also ensure that their bathroom products, such as toothpaste, soap, and hair products, get washed down the drain. There are also many drain maintenance products on the market, both organic and traditional, that will do the job.
The Surefire Way To Clear And Clean Your drain
With all that said, there is still only one surefire way to get your drain cleared and cleaned – removing the stopper and clearing the obstruction.
- Ask A friend or family member to be on standby. This job works best with a helper.
- Second, remove everything from under your sink to give yourself a good place to work.
- Remove the spring clip from the clevis strap and the pivot rod. The pivot rod is held in place with the spring clip. The clevis strap has holes that the pivot rod goes into. Before removing the pivot rod, mark what hole it came out of. This will help when putting it back together.
- Now you can easily remove the pop-up stopper, giving you complete access to the drainpipe.
- Use a zip-it, coat hanger, or any other object to remove the hair and black slime from the drain. In most cases, you’ll find a hairball full of black slime.
- You’ll defeat your purpose if you don’t just clear the drain but also clean it. Once the debris gets removed, clean the drain with an old toothbrush using a household detergent.
- Remember to clean the stopper as well.
There you have it. Your drain is cleared and cleaned. Now reverse your steps to put it back together.