Washing machine suds from upstairs draining into kitchen sink

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by valrulez, May 12, 2011.

  1. valrulez

    valrulez New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Seattle
    Hi Guys.

    Great forum and website! Thanks Terry! Long time lurker from Seattle and first time poster. I know you guys appreciate comments that get to the point, so here is mine:

    Here's the scenario:

    1. New triplex built in 2009
    2. My washing machine is located upstairs to the left, above kitchen sink.
    3. Last night used too much Dr Bronners Sal Suds plus Oxy Clean.
    4. Resulted in a mess of foam coming out of upstairs drain hose and onto floor.
    5. Came downstairs and noticed foam coming from sink drains.
    6. Ran washing machine again with clear water, and noticed no obstructions, clogging.

    I know the upstairs washing machine drains near the sink/dishwasher.

    My questions of concern (since I am a plumbing newbie) is:

    1. Is there a potential problem? Or just too much soap?
    2. Is there a health hazard, meaning the bubbles went down the sewer and back up? My dishes were in the sink at the time. I know our main waste line (Toilet/Bathroom) runs in a separate pipe. Our neighbors have separate pipes too.

    Never had a problem with suds from upstairs washing machine, but guess this was the brilliance of adding way too much soap that suds.

    Thank you for your time!

    Val
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I'm not familiar with that brand of soap, but too much soap/detergent of most any kind will cause a problem. I wonder if your drain is too small. Newer washer pump out their water extremely fast, so the new requirement for washer drains is 2" pipe. Of course a clog in the drain will cause back up too. Perhaps a combination of a clog and too much soap? I suggest keeping the detergent use within the recommended limits and see what happens. If the drain is only 1-1/2", you may get by with controlling the detergent, perhaps a different brand that doesn't generate so much suds. Oxy Clean would not be part of the problem. If the drain size is OK and you cut down on the detergent and still have the problem, then a plumber that can auger the drain to the street would be the next move. Never use chemicals like Drano, Liquid Plumber, etc. These don't work and they are caustic and will damage the pipes and create a hazard for the plumber who will eventually have to be called. DIY snakes are too small and even if they reach the clog, will either just push through it or shove in deeper and pack it tighter.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You should not use any kind of sudsy detergent in a washing machine. And recent studies have found that most people are using about twice as much detergent as is necessary for good cleaning.
  4. jacobsond

    jacobsond DIY Junior Member

    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    ND
    As an appliance repairman I totally agree with that statement. I see it every day. Soap recommendations no more than 2 tablespoons of HE soap in your frontload washer. In my topload machine I use 1/2 or less of the little cup and my cloths get clean and Im a dirty guy. In a washer if you see suds your seeing wasted soap.As far as your drain goes soap foam goes everywhere and doesn't drain very good likely nothing wrong,but I wonder how it got around the traps?
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  5. valrulez

    valrulez New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Seattle
    Garysward,

    Thanks for your comments. The washer is a non HE type, I forgot to add, but it does look like it pumps water really fast. I am not sure if the drain is 2", I'll go measure.

    Jimbo/Jacobsond,

    Yeah it looks like too much soap. I am not sure how it got around the trap, but the force of the bubbles were strong enough that it popped the food strainer up from the sink.

    Quick question, are washing machine drains connected to kitchen drains usually? It seems as if my toilet/shower are seperate and meet somewhere along the line later.

    Oh and I forgot, do you guys think there might be lint in the line?

    Thansk for the help!

    Val
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Today's codes require the washer drain to connect separtately to the main or a 3" lateral, but in days past....who knows!!
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