Why is there clay-like soot in my sink pipes?
Clay-like soot in the supply lines is from minerals in the water. Over the decades, they coat the insides of the pipe, gradually building up and slowing the flow of water.
Suppose the clay-like soot is in the drain pipes. In that case, it likely has multiple causes: supply-line minerals, insufficiently rinsed soaps, detergents, and similar cleaners, maybe food particles, hair, laundry lint, the list is endless.
If the clay=like soot is in the drain pipes, it likely has multiple causes: supply-line minerals, insufficiently rinsed soaps, detergents and similar cleaners, maybe food particles, hair, laundry lint, the list is endless. To minimize the first cause (supply lines) buy and use a whole-house water softener.
Buy a whole-house water softener to minimize the first cause (supply lines). I am trying to find one that does not eliminate fluoride (an additive essential for tooth health). Most also eliminate chlorine, which destroys harmful bacteria in the water.
To compensate for the loss of fluoride, get a prescription mouthwash and fluoride treatment of the teeth from your dentist. To compensate for the loss of chlorine, run the taps (of sinks, any faucet from which drinking water may be drawn, e.g., outdoor drinking fountain at the hose bib) because, in just a few hours, stagnant water has not recently run taps can breed harmful bacteria.
To minimize the second cause (drain lines), make regular (weekly at first, monthly after) with a biological enzymatic drain opener such as Zep Drain Defense. You must leave it without flushing additional water down the drain for 5 hours, so, on the first of the month, when the family has gone to bed, use it in each drain, Including the washing machine (run washer on “hot” fill the tub, add a scoop of Zep, agitate, drain without rinsing.
Accumulated minerals kill water heaters, so your next water heater should draw its supply from the water softener. And replace those softener salts as instructed by the manufacturer. If you are experiencing a buildup of clay-like soot in your sink pipes, it could be due to a variety of reasons.
Here are some common causes:
- Mineral Deposits: Over time, minerals in the water can accumulate and form deposits in pipes. This is particularly common in areas with hard water, where high concentrations of minerals like calcium and magnesium can create a chalky or clay-like substance.
- Soap and Grease Accumulation: Soap and grease can combine with minerals in the water to create a sticky substance that adheres to the walls of pipes. This can build up over time and may resemble clay-like soot.
- Organic Material: Organic matter, such as hair, food particles, and other debris, can accumulate in pipes. When combined with other substances, it can create a sticky or clay-like substance.
- Mold or Mildew Growth: In some cases, mold or mildew growth inside pipes can create a black or dark substance that might be mistaken for clay-like soot.
- Sewer Gas Odors: If the substance in your pipes has an unpleasant odor, it could be related to issues with sewer gas. Sewer gas can sometimes produce deposits in pipes that have a distinctive smell.
To address the issue, you may consider the following steps:
- Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean your sink pipes using commercially available drain cleaners or natural solutions like a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
- Professional Inspection: If the problem persists, it may be beneficial to have a professional plumber inspect your pipes to identify the exact cause and provide a solution.
- Water Softening: If hard water is contributing to mineral deposits, you might consider installing a water softener to reduce the mineral content in your water.
Remember to take appropriate safety precautions and, if needed, consult with a plumbing professional to address the specific issues in your sink pipes.
That is a combination of decomposing waste products with bacteria and/or molds and mildews, that we call Bio-Slime! Looks like this:
It is feared almost as much as poo.
I was once called to fix a kitchen sink disposer at a condo. I was assisting. We first tried the air switch for the disposer. Nothing. In a hurry, my colleague pulled the disposer off of the sink mount, and was looking into the outlet with his flashlight to see what the problem was, when his flashlight quit working. He asked me to turn the over sink light on, so that he could see. I hit the switch that seemed like it should be the overhead lights. I was wrong. I turned the disposer on, and my colleagues face was covered in disgusting black bacterial gel! He spent the next 10 minutes puking into a trash can.
If you want to get rid of it, put some bleach down your drain every once in awhile. If you are on a septic system, boiling water can be quite effective as well.
Why is there clay-like soot in my sink pipes?
Something greasy/oily went down the drain. It does not take much. It coated the pipe walls and random dirt down the drain stuck to it. That’s pretty much how everything gets “dirty”: cars, clothes, hands, etc.
And that U-shaped thing is the sink trap.
“Back flushes”? If liquid is coming into you sink from the drain then you have some sort of overflow issue. Based on how much stuff I see in your sink and assuming the water is getting to that level you aren’t too far from the sink overflowing.
You don’t want that to happen. A plumber is needed to troubleshoot your issue. Thanks for the A2A. You should have a Plumber come and clean out your Drain lines. There is something blocking the flow.
Every 10 days, or so, my bathroom sink becomes dirty with some sort of black/grayish-metallic powder that back flushes up from the drain. What is this, and how can I prevent/fix this problem?
This is the sink/contents in question. Has been happening for the past year I have lived here in this apartment.
The black/grayish-metallic powder that accumulates in your bathroom sink could be a result of a few different factors. Here are some common possibilities and potential solutions:
- Mold or Mildew: Moisture in the drain can create an environment conducive to mold or mildew growth. Regularly cleaning the drain with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or a commercial drain cleaner can help eliminate these issues.
- Mineral Buildup: Hard water can leave mineral deposits in the pipes, which may appear as a black or grayish residue. Using a descaling solution or a mixture of vinegar and water to flush the drain may help break down and remove mineral deposits.
- Decomposing Organic Matter: Hair, soap scum, and other organic matter can accumulate in the pipes and decompose over time, leading to unpleasant odors and residue. Regularly using a drain snake or other pipe-cleaning tools can help remove these blockages.
- Metal Corrosion: If your plumbing pipes or fixtures are made of metal, corrosion could be occurring. In such cases, it’s advisable to consult with a plumber to inspect and replace any corroded components.
To prevent the issue from recurring, you may consider the following preventive measures:
- Regular Cleaning: Clean your sink and drain regularly using appropriate cleaning solutions to prevent the buildup of mold, mildew, or other residues.
- Hair Catcher: Install a hair catcher or drain strainer to prevent hair and other debris from going down the drain and causing clogs.
- Avoid Harsh Chemicals: While chemical drain cleaners can be effective, they may also damage pipes and fixtures over time. Consider using natural alternatives like baking soda and vinegar or enzymatic drain cleaners.
- Improve Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in your bathroom to reduce moisture, which can contribute to mold and mildew growth. Use exhaust fans and keep the area well-ventilated.
If the issue persists or if you are unsure about the cause, it’s recommended to consult with a professional plumber who can inspect your plumbing system and provide tailored solutions based on the specific situation in your home.
I keep getting a build-up of black stuff in my sink – what is it?
I doubt it is mould. More likely, it is a form of iron oxide or other minerals. To get an accurate answer, take a sterile bottle, collect a sample of the water, and have it tested for hardness, iron and minerals, and whether or not it is safe to drink, including testing for lead. Your local health department can guide you on where to have the sample sent.
Several factors could cause the black buildup in your sink. Without a physical inspection, it’s challenging to pinpoint the exact cause, but here are some common possibilities:
- Mold or Mildew: Mold and mildew thrive in damp and dark environments. A constant moisture source in your sink or drain can lead to black mould or mildew growth.
- Bacterial Growth: Bacteria can accumulate in moist areas, and some bacteria may produce dark or black pigments. It can occur in drains and sinks that need to be adequately cleaned.
- Mineral Deposits: If you have hard water, minerals like manganese and iron can accumulate in your pipes and fixtures, leading to dark or black stains.
- Decomposing Organic Matter: Hair, soap scum, and other organic materials can collect in the drain and deteriorate over time, forming a black residue.
- Metal Corrosion: If your plumbing pipes or fixtures are metal, corrosion may occur, resulting in black particles in the water.
To address the issue, you can try the following steps:
- Regular Cleaning: Clean your sink and drain regularly using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or a commercial drain cleaner to eliminate mould, mildew, and bacteria.
- Use a Drain Strainer: Install a drain strainer or hair catcher to prevent hair and other debris from entering the drain and causing clogs.
- Descale Pipes: If you have hard water, consider using a descaling solution or vinegar and water to remove mineral deposits from the pipes.
- Inspect for Corrosion: If you suspect metal corrosion, consult a plumber to inspect your pipes and fixtures. They may need to be replaced if corrosion is severe.
If the issue persists or if you need clarification on the cause, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. A plumber can conduct a thorough inspection and provide targeted solutions based on the specific conditions in your plumbing system.
call your water department, ask them where you can take a sample of your water for them to analyse it sounds to me like they are in need of some chlorine .
they should tell you to pick up a specimen jar at the health department and bring back to them. but different towns different rules
What is the best way to get rid of the black sludge in a sink drain?
What on earth is the creepy black stuff that wants to come up from the drain in our bathroom sinks? It’s slimy and weird. What can we do to get rid of it completely?
The “creepy black stuff” in your drain is made up of a combination of things, mostly decomposing hair, soap scum, toothpaste grit, shaving cream residue, skin cells, etc. It’s like a science experiment of mildew, bacteria and decomposing items increasing due to the lukewarm water used to wash your hands, face, etc.
What can you do about it? If you have a drain snake, then get it out and snake the drain. it is the simplest solution. But not everyone owns a drain snake. If you don’t, then here’s what to do:
- Put a pot of water on the stove; turn the burner on high; bring to a boil.
- While water is heating, pour baking soda down the drain. Baking soda can neutralize fatty acids, so it will work to eat away the grime while you are waiting for the water to boil.
- Once the water has reached a rolling boil, remove it from the pot from the stove and pour the hot water down the drain.
- Let the water and baking soda break up the grime for 10 minutes.
- When the time is up, pour 1 cup of bleach down the drain to kill any remaining mildew or bacteria.
Because sinks are used multiple times daily, repeat this process every few months. Keeping on top of it should keep the gunk from accumulating and clogging the sink drain.
To effectively get rid of black sludge in a sink drain, you can follow these steps:
- Boiling Water:
- Start by pouring a kettle of boiling water down the drain. This can help melt and flush away some of the sludge.
- Baking Soda and Vinegar:
- Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain.
- Follow it with 1/2 cup of white vinegar.
- Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes. The fizzing action helps break down the sludge.
- Rinse with hot water.
- Boiling Water Repeat:
- Pour another kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush out loosened debris.
- If the sludge persists, use a plunger to create a seal around the drain and plunge vigorously. Itcan help dislodge and push the sludge through.
- Manual Removal:
- If you can access the P-trap (the curved pipe beneath the sink), place a bucket underneath, remove the trap, and clean out any sludge manually. Wear gloves for this task.
- Enzyme-Based Drain Cleaner:
- Consider using an enzyme-based drain cleaner. These cleaners contain beneficial bacteria that break down organic matter, helping to eliminate sludge. Follow the product instructions.
- Commercial Drain Cleaner:
- If the sludge is stubborn, you can use a chemical drain cleaner. However, use these products cautiously and follow the label’s safety instructions.
- Professional Help:
- If all else fails or you’re uncomfortable handling the issue, consider calling a professional plumber. They can use specialized tools to clear the drain effectively.
Always follow safety precautions when using any cleaning products, and avoid combining different chemicals, as this can produce harmful reactions. If you have a septic system, be cautious with the types of cleaners you use, as some can disrupt the natural balance in the septic tank.
What are the causes for your sink pipe to get clogged?
Grease and oil buildup in the pipes. Oil and water bony mix so grease particles in suspension settle out of the stream of water. You rinse your dishes and grease coagulates inside the pipe because it cools down to a point it where it clings to the pipe instead of flowing through with the water. The initial thin coating attracts more grease over time eventually creating a thick layer. Over time the grease coating builds up reducing the effective diameter of the pipe resulting in reduced flow rate through the pipe facilitating more grease buildup. This process continues until food particles clinging to the grease completely block the pipe .
If you ever tried to clean cooking oil or shortening off your hands without soap you know it’s next to impossible to remove even with scrubbing. Ther is no scrubbing happening inside your pipes and any soap that flows by does not have the ability to remove the grease under normal usage. There’s no appreciable mechanical scrubbing going on in your pipes. Grease molecules are attracted to each other and bond with together.
You can break up clogs with baking soda and about ten cups of boiling water. Repeat if necessary. Some people add vinegar to the baking soda, let it sit and follow up with boiling water. You decide if the added acid the vinegar contains will slowly attack the metal pipes. The blockage is often be beyond the J trap depending on the slope and length of the straight pipe entering the wall so pour the boiling water with this in mind; possibly slowly for the first half and rapidly for the second half. Apply the boiling water treatment periodically or when your drain can no longer remove a full open cold water stream without slowly backing up somewhat.
Why is there clay like soot in my sink pipes?
Sink pipes can become clogged due to various reasons, and understanding these causes can help you prevent clogs and address them promptly. Here are common causes of sink pipe clogs:
- Hair and Soap Scum: Hair and soap residue often accumulate in bathroom sink drains. Over time, they can create blockages as they combine and adhere to the inner walls of the pipes.
- Food Debris: In kitchen sinks, food particles, grease, and cooking oils can contribute to clogs. These substances can solidify in the pipes, reducing or completely blocking water flow.
- Foreign Objects: Items like jewelry, toothpaste caps, and other small objects can accidentally fall into the sink and contribute to clogs.
- Mineral Buildup: Hard water can lead to the accumulation of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, in the pipes. These deposits can narrow the pipe diameter, restricting water flow.
- Toiletries: Items like dental floss, cotton swabs, and hygiene products can get caught in the pipes, leading to clogs.
- Tree Root Intrusion: In outdoor sinks or drains, tree roots seeking water can penetrate the pipes, causing blockages.
- Poor Pipe Slope or Design: Incorrect pipe slope or design can impede the natural flow of water, allowing debris to accumulate in certain areas and cause clogs.
- Grease and Oil: Pouring grease or oil down the sink can lead to clogs, as these substances solidify when they cool down, sticking to the pipe walls.
- Collapsed Pipes: Over time, pipes may deteriorate, corrode, or collapse, causing blockages and reducing water flow.
- Insufficient Ventilation: Inadequate ventilation in the plumbing system can slow down water drainage and contribute to clogs.
To prevent sink pipe clogs, consider the following preventive measures:
- Use drain strainers or screens to catch hair and debris.
- Dispose of kitchen grease in a designated container instead of pouring it down the sink.
- Avoid flushing non-biodegradable items down the drain.
- Run hot water periodically to help prevent the buildup of grease and soap scum.
- Schedule regular plumbing maintenance to identify and address potential issues before they become major problems.
If you experience persistent or severe clogs, it’s advisable to consult with a professional plumber for a thorough inspection and appropriate solutions.
Why does a sink drain smell like sewer?
First of all, some basic plumbing. Your sink drain is connected to the DWV system, which is connected to the sewer. Surprisingly enough, sewers smell like sewers. The fumes are not only unpleasant, they’re dangerous.
How do you keep fumes from the sewer from getting out through the sink drain? A device called a “trap” holds water, forming a plug that blocks sewer gas. You’ve finished washing the dishes and pulled the plug.
The water drains and the last little bit gets sucked down by siphon action, leaving the trap empty, and sewer gas can get into your home through the sink drain. Some way is needed to keep the last little bit of water from being siphoned out, leaving the trap empty.
Remember how I referred to “DWV”? That’s the drain/waste/vent piping. Note the word “vent” – a pipe extends from the drain stack up through the roof to a vent. It takes less force to suck Air through this vent than it does to suck water out of the trap. Gravity forces the water in the sink down the drain, but the vent breaks the siphon, so the last bit stays in the trap.
What happens if the vent gets blocked?
Why is there clay like soot in my sink pipes?
The water will be siphoned out of the trap when you drain the sink (or, if a “slug” of water enters the drain stack from another source, such as flushing a toilet, it will suck the water out of the trap). Try pouring a pint or so of water down the drain (enough to fill the trap but not start a siphon). Does the smell stop? Fill the sink with water, then pull the plug. Does the smell come back? Sounds like you have a blocked vent. Time to call a plumber. Note that if you live in a high-rise, you should call property management instead of the plumber – the drain stacks and vents belong to (and are the responsibility of) the landlord/condominium corporation, and they need to call a plumber.
A sewer smell coming from a sink drain can be unpleasant and may indicate a problem within the plumbing system. Here are some common reasons why a sink drain might emit a sewer-like odor:
- Dry P-Trap:
- The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe beneath the sink designed to hold water and prevent sewer gases from entering the home. If the sink is not used frequently, the water in the P-trap can evaporate, allowing sewer gases to escape. Simply running water in the sink can refill the P-trap and solve this issue.
- Clogged Vent Pipe:
- The plumbing system has vent pipes that allow sewer gases to escape outdoors. If these vent pipes become clogged or blocked, it can lead to a backup of sewer gases into the home.
- Blocked or Dirty Drain:
- Accumulation of debris, grease, or organic matter in the drain can create a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to foul odors. Regular cleaning of the drain can help prevent this.
- Sewer Line Issues:
- A damaged or clogged sewer line can result in sewer smells. Tree roots, blockages, or cracks in the sewer line can allow gases to escape into the home.
- Faulty P-Trap Design:
- Some sink designs may have a poorly designed or improperly installed P-trap, which can allow sewer odors to escape.
- Leaking Sewer Vents or Pipes:
- Leaks in the sewer vents or pipes can release sewer gases. Inspect the plumbing system for any visible leaks and address them promptly.
- Dried-Out Seal:
- The wax ring or rubber gasket that seals the connection between the sink and the drain pipe may become damaged or dried out, allowing odors to escape.
To address the sewer smell from a sink drain, you can try the following steps:
- Run water in the sink to refill the P-trap.
- Clean the drain using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
- Inspect for visible leaks in the plumbing system.
- Check for and clear any blockages in the vent pipes.
- If the issue persists or if you’re unsure about the cause, it’s advisable to consult with a professional plumber for a thorough inspection and appropriate solutions.
How do I clean the inside of my bathroom sink? There’s an overflow hole that about the size of a US quarter. When I look inside, it looks dirty.
My wife regularly squirted bleach in there and, after a while, ran the water as hot as it would go, put the plug in and let the water run into the overflow for a while. It never really got dirty, as she would allow a few litres of fresh water to run down the overflow when using the basin.
I have continued with this, and the overflows are always clean.
If they are bunged up, then a bottle brush might be the tool you need. They come in different sizes; I saw one in Aldi last week that would have been perfect, about 3cm in diameter and about 60cm long.
This sort of thing.
Probably the easiest thing is to use an old toothbrush. It’s small enough to get into all but the smallest overflow holes and stiff enough to get the dirt out.
To be really thorough, use a good bathroom cleaner with some disinfectant. The stuff you see in there is nasty and has been growing for a while. Might as well kill the bugs while you’re cleaning out the nasty. Just squirt some Domestos in it every week jobs a gudun.
Is the gunk in your sink drain (when it gets clogged) dangerous (black mold etc.)?
It can be if it sits long enough. I rinse my drains with bleach, twice, before I try to clean any gunk out of them. I put about 1/2 cup of bleach in and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then I rinse that out with cold and hot water. Then I put another 1/2 cup of bleach and let it sit another 15 minutes. Rinse that and it’s ready to dig in. Typically the clog is my daughter’s long, curly hair. The bleach cleans the algae off the hair. Pulling clean(ish) hair out of the drain is less gross than pulling hairy algae out of the drain.