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DIY: clear your slow sink drain traps of mucky grossness

You may have overheard me furtively whispering to Heather last week:

What do you think about if I went way out of town and bought some Drano? My sinks are draining slower than molasses in January. It's disgusting. Every hand-washing episode generates a scummy, soapy, swampy pond in each of my bathroom sinks! I know Drano would work. I'll even offset my purchase of these nasty chemicals by bike riding. Maybe even over state lines! I'll put it in a brown paper sack. What do you think?? I know I'll get busted even if I get that far. I run into someone from our GreenGroup every time I forget to use my reuseable shopping bags. It never fails!!

Wisely, not wanting to be an accessory to my environmental crime, Heather suggested I try cleaning my drain traps before taking such drastic measures. So I did.

Sink_muck The first challenge was trying to get the stoppers out of the sink. My trusty Home Depot DIY book says to turn the stopper counter clockwise. I turned and turned to no avail. Then I found the installation guide for our faucets. A-ha! I needed to remove a nut from underneath the sink, and voila! The stopper was free. I used a combo of eyebrow tweezers and an old toothbrush to pull out what can only be described as black, hairy, goopy piles of mucky grossness. It seemed like a bottomless pit. I kept harvesting this nastiness until my tools came out clean. After my drains seemed free of obstruction, I ran some water to see if it drained more quickly. I forgot to read past the part in the Home Depot book about loosening the nut for the stopper removal. Because that part would have warned NOT to run water with the drain stopper nut off. I realized quickly that something was amiss when water started to run out the back of the drain and splattered onto my tile floor. Well, the floor needed a good cleaning as well, so no harm done. I replaced the stopper nut, ran the water and MIRACLE of MIRACLE, no more slough of despond! The water drained efficiently.

Thankfully all of our sink drains are of the same design, and I was able to clean them all, having figured out how to do the first. But I did want to note a few lessons learned:

  • Note to husband: If there is to be further spitting of loogeys indoors, said loogeys should be aimed at plumbing fixtures with large drainage pipes -- for example, the toilet. I pulled something out of one sink that looked like a slug, then sprinted like an Olympian to get it off my hands once I realized it was from the mucus family.
  • Note to all female members of the household: any and all strands of hair that fall into the sink MUST be swept out of the sink and NOT -- I REPEAT -- NOT be washed down the drain. As a further helpful hint, try not to brush or blow dry hair over the sink. Really bad idea.

All told, the drain cleaning process took about a half hour. I got to once again unleash my inner plumber. Didn't need to use any nasty chemicals. Not really that gross, but oh, I do enjoy exaggerating. And I promise, I wasn't really tempted to buy Drano. Really. You can trust me on that. I better stop here, I'm starting to sound like a politician.

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