Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)
The battle was fierce, lasting a few days, culminating with a full day of intense action. The Monster would win one battle, and then another. (And then another…) But I was resilient. I persisted, pushing through adversity after adversity.
At one point, after several humiliating defeats in the protracted fray, I began to feel my will to fight slipping away. It was then that I reached out to a fellow soldier who had passed through many such battles before me. He gave me just the tactics and inspiration that I needed for the final push.
In the end, through sheer power of will, I was victorious over the evil, vile, Black Sludge Monster and he was banished to that horrid place from whence he came; disintegrated into eternal oblivion!
I had a really bad drain clog in my bathroom sink. I finally decided to have a go at unclogging it. I fished a wire hook down the drain, only to come up empty. So I removed the trap under the sink… gross!! Bad smelling, cloudy water with flaky black stuff in it dumped out into the bucket I had there to catch whatever came out. I cleaned all that out and replaced the trap.
When I ran the water, it was still clogged. And, now, thanks to me moving the trap, the seals no longer held. Very bad leaking!! Ugh. Now I had two things to fix!!
It was too late to get to the store before bed time, so I just left the sink undone and instructed my fellow cohabitants to desist from any sink usage until further notice.
Then this happened.
So, after a brief health emergency break, I finally got to a hardware store for a new trap. I replaced the trap and… voila! Oh wait… It’s STILL LEAKING!!!
Frustrated, I decided that I had to get some office work done, so I left the still-clogged, leaking drain and reminded everyone to use it as little as possible. (At least it was leaking less?)
As I complained to my friend and co-worker over instant messages about my predicament, he suggested I try to focus on the clog first instead of the leak. Perhaps the leak was simply because the clog wasn’t letting the water go where it is supposed to go. Good thoughts.
So, properly inspired, I headed back for a final push.
I had read a blog post by his wife (she’s a famous blogger!) about drain care not more than a few days earlier, so what he was describing was familiar, and I had intended to do that after fixing the leak. As she describes in her post, I boiled a large pot of water, poured it down the drain (it SLOWLY drained down) then I dropped a good amount of baking soda down and poured vinegar in after it.
FUN! Do you remember making tiny volcanoes this way when you were younger?? I forgot how much fun this was! 🙂 And it sure did seem like it could eat/clean away anything in its path.
Sadly… our problem was a tad bigger than a one-trick fix.
A second pot of boiling water did not show any progress. (In fact, I think it was slower.) So I tried again. Baking soda/vinegar/boiling water. Still slow. Painfully slow. A third time… a fourth…
Finally, slightly exasperated, but still properly inspired, I filled the sink with regularly hot water and grabbed my plunger. I covered the air flow hole with my left index finger and began to plunge…
Three quick pulls later I heard a marvelous, wondrous sound! A loosing of the terrible drain demon and a pleasant sucking sound…
AND THE WATER DRAINED DOWN!!!!!
Oh, joy! Oh wondrous, fabulous joy!!!
Then I looked in the tub.
It seems that the Black Sludge Monster can not be defeated quite so easily! This horrible, awful (copious) abundunce of dark, thick, black sludge was sitting in my tub around the drain. Lots of it.
I ran the water in the sink to see if the clog was really gone, and the water disappeared down the drain immediately. That was good; one great victory one. Glancing again at the tub, though, I discovered that the water was being directly routed toward the tub drain. As the water entered the sink drain, it came up the tub drain. (Really! As fast as it went down it came up!)
So, after sucking up the gross stuff with my wet/dry vac, I went to work with what remained of my baking soda and vinegar supplies on the tub drain. Boiling water (ridiculously slow drain—though the tub drain had been free flowing before I plunged the sink drain), followed by baking soda, vinegar (fun!) … short wait, then more boiling water.
Nothing. VERY slow drain.
OK… I’m done with this, Black Sludge Monster! BACK to where you CAME FROM!!!!, I screamed.
Grabbing my weapon (plunger), I filled the tub with a little more water, plugged the air flow with a wet rag and went to work. Slightly more stubborn than the sink, it took a few more aggressive plunges but…
VICTORY WAS MINE!!!
That lovely sucking sound, followed by watching the stopped water flow quickly down a beautiful swirling spiral, through the newly sparkling clean drains (thanks to the massive amounts of baking soda and vinegar used on them!) and out of my house!
I tested both the tub and sink drains and they both performed marvelously.
The Black Sludge Monster put up a dastardly valiant fight, but… I was victorious!
Thanks to perseverance, good (smart, inspirational) friends, and …
If you can remember to do the baking soda/vinegar followed by hot water once a month it should keep things running smoothly!
“Famous” you crack me up!
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Yes, I’m going to do the same process on our kitchen sink drain, too. I think we need more help than the baking soda/vinegar/boiling water treatment can give them alone, but it seems like it helped the bathroom problem immensely! Thanks!
And, you ARE famous! 🙂
Thank you for the funny take on how to fix this annoying problem! We are living in an older home and I am not used to dealing with this! Nice to have ideas and hopefully a solution!
Thanks, Mellissa. It’s always an adventure owning an old home, huh? 🙂
Greg, thanks for posting your story because I’m going through the same issue, but in reverse. The problem started with the bathtub (which was slow draining for a long time), plunged it and brought up hair but not black stuff. As soon as the tub was draining just fine, the bathroom sink started draining very slowly and then not at all. Plunging just brought up tons of black rubbery-looking stuff that smears in between my fingers. I’ve snaked twice and brought up some hair clumps and some black stuff, but still not working. I just put a chemical de-clogger (Pequa) down the drain, but I have a feeling it’s not going to work.
I’ll try the hot water, baking soda and vinegar trick followed by copious amounts of plunging ’til the cows come home. I just feel like a pansy calling a plumber. Thanks for posting your experience as I believe (and hope) that it’ll help me.
Sure thing, Joe. We’re definitely not alone, this post is currently (by a lot) my most commonly found post via Google search. Many people are attempting to defeat the vile black sludge monster! 🙂 Good luck!
Ok, my drains are cleared, thanks to a plumber. But now what?? Black sludge all over my garage floor running down the driveway. Thick. How do I clean that??
You did a great job without having any experience on that. You proved that, never giving up can solve anything. I am not your type but hope to be like you someday. Inspired after reading your article. That sucking sound and your scream made it historical to me as well as you….
I want to thank the amusing take on the way to fix this specific annoying trouble. We are moving into an older residence and I was not used to working with this. Good to have concepts and with any luck, a solution!! Thank you, dear!!
We are living in an older home and I am used to dealing with this. I think I will solve this problem. Thank you so much for the tips.
Thank you for the great read!
I began reading this in my quest to get rid of the black slime that continually builds up around the bathroom sink and tub drain; your story made it into an adventure … a hero’s quest! Thank you again for the great read and the realistic, practical, and non-toxic steps required to defeat the slime monster 🙂
Very cool and funny article, thanks for sharing
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Hey! I like your blog. Thanks for the info you provide. Keep it up!
I hate dealing with drain issues! Thanks for the advice!
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Another masterpiece …..
I always use your techniques and found a great response. I like your presentation and the way you simplify a complex thing. And most importantly, keep helping all the online community members, like the way you do now. God bless you…
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Thanks for the humurous post Greg!
I loved your way of articulating the cleaning hack in a fun and exciting story.
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