bathroom sink clogged after snaking with black sludge

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by bozomedic, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    [​IMG]
    Hi,

    Need some help quick! My bathroom sink was draining rather slowly along with a toilet that when flushed, makes a gurgling sound in the shower stall. The toilet does not overflow. (when the shower drain is closed, I do not hear the gurgle)

    I decided to snake out the bathroom sink. I first disconnected my trap. I used a hand turned 25 foot snake that is 1/4" and snaked out the drain via the pipe leading into the wall for the bathroom sink. When I retrieved the snake, there was some hair on it and a whole lot of black sludge :eek: . I reconnected my trap and figured all I had to do was flush the line with hot water. As soon as the water went down the drain, jet-black-smelly-sludge came up the drain and now the sink will not drain at all. I am afraid to flush my toilet not knowing what will happen. If you can help, I need some real quick! (from looking from the basement below the bathroom,it does appear that the sink drains into the same line as the toilet which is directly connected to the main stack) THanks so much
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2007
  2. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    I'm not an expert but I'd say that you move things around and caused it to get worse. I do it again and again until it drains good.

    I cleaned up all the drains in my house when I demo'd it and I'll tell you that I pulled a lot of nasty stuff out of there before I was done. I had the hurl effect several times.

    Tom
  3. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Oh..and I did try plunging as well. I have not used any chemical cleaners. Every other fixture in the house drains fine....so far.
  4. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    do you think I should get a larger, maybe 3/8" snake and a longer one as well? Or do you think that one is sufficient. There is a home depot down the street.
  5. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Actually the snake I am using is more like 15 feet long. Any more suggestions? I am a total noob to plumbing. Thanks.:confused:
  6. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    [​IMG]

    still plunging...no dice.....
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2007
  7. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Ok...the toilet flushes ok..just really loud for some reason....but the sink still hasnt drained..and yes, the water in the sink is black and smelly...I tried putting a wet rag over the overflow opening and plunging like crazy....nada...still not working...maybe it's my plunging technique, I don't know.....but like I mentioned earlier, the drain was slow but the water was clear....after I snaked the drain, then the water is black and it wont drain....

    1) is it possible I brought the clog closer to the sink or moved it further to a point where I can no longer reach it with the snake?

    2) is there a better technique to snaking than turning the snake drum clockwise real fast when I hit an obstruction?

    3) is there a better plunging technique?

    4) does it sound like I need to snake out the main stack? (if that is the case, I would think my toilet would over flow as well as the shower since they are connected directly over the stack in the basement)

    Any help will be appreciated....and yes, the black sludge is getting on things...the wife is not happy:mad:..gotta get her a new toothbrush:D
  8. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    still snaking and still plunging.....nothing working yet.....any suggestions?
  9. TMB9862

    TMB9862 New Member

    Messages:
    206
    The sink is draining slowly or not at all?

    I'd take the trap off (have a bucket or tray underneath as you will get all the sludge in the sink and in the trap coming out). Clean out the trap, and see where you stand. The slip nuts and washers should be re-usable so you don't really stand to loose anything. I also usually pull the trap and snake from there, not from inside the sink.

    As for needing a longer snake, do you have access to the pipes below the bathroom? Take a look at them. In all likelihood the sink waste dumps into the 3 or 4in for the toilet. If that's the case and the toilet flushes normally you know the clog must be in the 1.5 or 2in before it empties into the larger pipe. So long as your snake is making it into the unclogged pipe you don't need a longer one.

    I wouldn't try any chemical drain cleaner at this time either. They do have their place but I wouldn't use it in a clogged drain.
  10. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    :)

    FIRST off i would suggest a professional drain cleaner, or if you still want to do it yourself???

    go to h/d and rent a electic power snake, 3/8" cable nothing bigger,
    spread a lot of newspaper or get a good drop cloth at H/D.

    power snake drain out 35" or so wear good work gloves, and have old rags,
    to hold under cable when you pull back out of drain!!:(

    :( IMPORTANT NOTE DO "NOT"!!! RUN MACH. WHEN PULLING CABLE OUT OR IT WILL SPLITTER ALL ALL OVER, UNPLUG MACHINE, TO BE SURE!!:(

    JERRYMAC MASTERPLUMBER
  11. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    you have gone this far so calling a pro will sometimes cost you more.
    This is a good idea but remember that you really want the machine as close to the problem as possible, if you are to far from the drain opening you could end up kinking the cable and/or wrap it around your arm.
    if the lav sink is five feet from the toilet then cabling it this far is a bit much

    any type of house cleaner that says degreaser like 409 will clean the black stuff.
  12. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    I would try using the same snake that you have but remove the trap first. I thought that is how you were doing it in the first place.

    Tom
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    Your little snake made a tiny hole in a mass of sludge, that might have been the consistency of Jell-o. Before you did anything there was some space for water to flow through. Your snake stirred things up when it went through the mass, and when you pulled it out the tiny hole closed up and sealed the pipe. You can keep spending money renting snakes, or you can call a plumber who will have everything he needs to unplug it. Sometimes a mass of that style does not readily respond to simple snaking.
  14. Snaking will plunge right through this type of gunk and plunging won't budge it.
    The best way to clean this heavy drain sludge is with a good non-caustic enzyme-based drain cleaner like DrainCare (do NOT use a caustic drain cleaner like Drano).
    DrainCare will not harm your sink, fixtures or pipes, but it WILL eat out and dissolve all of that organic black sludge, soap scum, grease, makeup, hair, etc., etc.
    First, you run warm water down the drain (or in the sink), then pour in a liberal amount of DrainCare and let it eat overnight. Then flush it down the next day with very hot water (I always start that flushing with a full kettle of boiling water).
    If it is really badly clogged (and this sounds like it is), you may have to do it more than once, but it will eventually clean all of this stuff out of your line back to the bare inside of the drain pipe.
    Works for me when all else fails. I've been using it for years, and I keep a couple of jugs of DrainCare on hand at all times. When my drains get sluggish, I hit them with it, and voila!...cleared out!
    You should be able to find DrainCare (or its equivalent) at most big box stores, etc.
    Good luck!
    Mike
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
  15. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Thank you all for your help. I think this sums up my problem and solution:

    1)the sink drain was very clogged with organic waste. when I plunged the sink, it tried to bring that waste up, which it did, and looked like black gooey sand.

    2) the sink drained into a pipe directly connected to the vent. this vent then has a connection to the main stack. the toilet drains into the main stack after the sink and the shower drains to the main stack before the toilet

    3) since the sink was so badly clogged it was blocking the vent but not the stack. The toilet was therefore venting through the shower which caused the gurgling sound in the shower when I would flush the toilet

    After tiring of snaking and plunging the black gooey sand, which seemed to have no end, and still not getting the water in the sink to drain, the wife picked up some hair and grease drain cleaner from H/D. Worked like a charm! After flushing with very hot water it now drains very well and the toilet is not venting through the shower anymore.

    Since I am not a fan of harsh lye based cleaners, I think I will look for a more environmentally and wallet friendly solution to maintain my drains. Perhaps the baking soda and vinegar solution might suit me best. Anyone have success with this for maintaining clean and free-flowing drains?

    Thanks for all your help!
  16. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    Good you should not use the acid openers.
    I have been told from many customers that the baking soda and vinegar trick works great, but then again I'm a drain cleaner so I'm drain cleaning the drains they use it on. I would keep a cheap snake on hand and shoot it down your drains every 6months or so.
    The real problem you have is your bath sink drain is copper and your main stack is cast iron. these two metals will rot each other. The 1 1/2" drain is most likely down to less than 1" . Nothing eats this not even the acid openers. Yes the snake is a real pain but it is the only thing that will keep your drains working fast, aside from replacing the copper to plastic.
  17. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    I tried the snake bit. Didn't seem to work. I first used a hand turned 1/4" 25 foot snake then a drill powered one(broke the hand one). Still didn't drain. Like I mentioned earlier, the more I plunged and snaked, the more black sludge came up. I didn't know if it would end?

    Well, I will still run a snake down every six months. Does it really work to unclog a problem like I had? Maybe it is my technique. I need a good tutorial on how to properly snake a drain.

    I had the local rooto roter guy come out and snake the basement traps and did such a crappy job I had to go behind him (after shelling out $200.00). Actually I plunged the one trap and it worked great after that.

    Anyway, thanks for your reply. And yes, Linux beats Wondoze hands down any day. Just installed Ubuntu Feisty 2 months ago and gave my 9 year old desktop a new lease on life. Works better than any Gill Bates product out there!
  18. bozomedic

    bozomedic New Member

    Messages:
    19
    But of course this isn't a Linux for noobs forum now is it:D
Similar Threads: bathroom sink
Forum Title Date
Drain Cleaning Stubborn Bathroom Sink Clog -- Power Jetting company or Plumber? Apr 13, 2013
Drain Cleaning Dual bathroom sink clog Dec 9, 2010
Drain Cleaning Clogged Bathroom Sink Aug 25, 2009
Drain Cleaning Resistant bathroom sink clog Feb 15, 2009
Drain Cleaning Stopped up bathroom drain under concrete Aug 10, 2013

Share This Page