How clean black goo from sink drain? #202652 - Ask Extension


How clean black goo from sink drain? #202652

Asked July 27, 2014, 1:27 PM EDT

What is the best way to get rid of black goo in a kitchen sink drain? It collects really thickly under the metal strainer that sits over the drain. Sometimes it almost blocks the drain entirely. I remove what I can with paper towels, but it's hard to get it all. Also, what is this stuff? Is it a kind of mold?

Philadelphia County Pennsylvania

Expert Response

It sounds like a build-up of the fatty acids found in soaps, glycerine, and food scraps.  Mold could be growing on the build-up since there is plenty of moisture trapped for the mold to feed on. Here are a couple of solutions:
1. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain; follow with 1/2 cup white vinegar.  Let sit for at least 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes.  Then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain.  (NOTE: if you have plastic pipes, use hot tap water instead of boiling water.)  The vinegar and baking soda help break down particles stuck in the drain, allowing them to be washed down with the hot water.  Commercial drain cleaners can be used instead if you wish.  Also, health food stores sometimes carry biological cleaners that are safe and biodegradable.  The baking soda and vinegar solution is safe to use anytime and can be done weekly to keep drains clean.
2. If the drain is clogged, a flexible metal snake (purchased at your local home improvement store or hardware store) can be put down the drain to loosen the clog. Pull the "snake" back out and then flush drain with hot water.  NOTE: Do not use this method if you have already used a commercial drain opener.
3. Use a plunger to unclog and loosen anything in the drain.

Tracy Davis Replied July 28, 2014, 9:07 AM EDT

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