Finding black sludge in your sink will put a damper on your day. If your bathroom sink is clogged, you’d expect to see hair, soap scum, or clumps of toothpaste. Not sludgy material. Clogs happen, but seeing sludge can be quite startling since it looks nothing like anything you’ve washed down the sink.
Usually, black sludge is made up of bacteria. These organisms actually live on your hair, skin cells, and in your phlegm and can even survive in lotions, toothpaste, shaving cream, and hand soap. Once in the drain, the bacteria feed on manganese and oxidized iron in the water. The buildup can accumulate on the sink stopper, in the drain, and the P-trap, waste pipe, or even the sewer line.
The sludge could also possibly be black mold, especially if its appearance is accompanied by a musty odor. Symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, headache, dizziness, or difficulty breathing can also mean you have mold. It’s therefore important that you clean up a clogged bathroom sink as soon as possible.
First, we’ll explain ways to clean black sludge in the sink. There are a few options, so you can try to:
Remove the plunger and see if the water drains as normal. Try again if it still doesn’t.
If your efforts so far haven’t worked, or the drain keeps clogging up, the P-trap may be filled with sludge. You could use a sink auger. But an auger is more effective for open sections of pipe. To clean the drain pipe, put on a pair of rubber gloves and:
To prevent sludge from building up, immediately wipe it away, using a tissue or cloth and throw it in the garbage. Do not wash hair down a drain and try not to overuse soap or shaving cream. Grease, sand, or tile grout can collect at the bottom of the P-trap, making it easier for sludge to accumulate, so keep these out of the sink. You can also maintain your drain with an enzyme-based drain cleaner, which prevents grease and oils from sticking to pipe walls.
Contact your local plumbing company if none of these methods work for you. If several drains are slow or frequently back up, sludge may be clogging the main waste line or the sewer. It might be necessary to access the nearest clean-out, but the blockage can be anywhere in the sewer line. Only an experienced plumber has the training and tools to remove it.
At NexGen, we specialize in drain cleaning and all types of plumbing services. Sink clogs and sludge can be easily addressed with our drain/sewer cleaning and hydro jetting equipment. If necessary, we can repair your sewer line and remove tree roots. We use state-of-the-art fiber optic cameras to determine the exact location and nature of the problem.
Check often for drain cleaning specials, as they can help you save on needed services. To schedule drain cleaning or request help in a plumbing emergency, call 833-729-9735.