Black Stuff Coming Out Of My Sink Drain: What Should I Do?

Smelly, black sludge seeping out of the sink drain is enough to put a damper on a great day. All is well until you stroll into your bathroom, only to find strange, black gunk lingering in the drain. What is it?

Quick Answer:

Black sludge in a sink can be potentially dangerous as it’s typically a combination of grease, soap, hair, and other debris that can harbor bacteria and mold. Prolonged exposure may cause health issues, particularly respiratory. It can also lead to plumbing issues if not addressed promptly. While the sludge itself isn’t toxic, be sure to handle it with gloves and clean the area thoroughly.

How do you get rid of it? If you find yourself in a similar predicament, stick around to learn how to tackle the sludge slime creeping up the sink drain.

What Is The Black Stuff In The Sink Drain?

As you probably guessed, the black slime hanging out in your sink drain isn’t exactly a good thing. Usually, the gunk is composed of whatever goes down the drain. For example, if it’s your bathroom sink drain that is plagued by the slime creature sneaking up the drain, it could be made of things like:

  • Hair
  • Toothpaste
  • Soap film
  • Hand lotion
  • Phlegm
  • Skin cells
  • Grease 
  • Etc.
Hair in Drain

Now, that lovely mix of cast-offs doesn’t sound like an appealing combination to us. When this kind of material clings to your drain lines, bacteria have plenty of time to grow and spread. If this material builds up in your drain lines, it can begin to back up into your sink drains, leaving you with a smelly, nasty mess of waste.

The black sludge in your bathroom sink drain often indicates a clog beginning to form in your plumbing lines. If it goes unaddressed, the problem can multiply, building up further and further until the line is obstructed completely. That’s a nightmare we don’t want any part of. 

So, how do you clean it out? We’re getting to that next, so stick around. 

How To Clean Black Stuff In The Sink Drain

If the problem is minor enough, you may be able to tackle the issue by yourself. Cleaning the black sludge out of the bathroom sink drain isn’t a pleasant task, but it needs to be done. There are a few methods for tackling the issue, but it depends on the severity of the issue. 

Sewage Back-Up

If the problem is isolated to one or two drains in your home, you may be able to fix the problem without the help of a plumber. However, if black stuff is seeping out of all the drains in your house (or all of the drains in your basement), there’s a significant issue that needs addressing. 

When the sewage begins to back up in the drains in the basement, there may be a significant clog somewhere in the system. If you live in the city, there could be an issue with the sewer system that the city needs to fix. Alternatively, you may have a full septic tank that needs emptying. Or, there might be a large clog that requires the assistance of a plumber.

So, if the issue seems to be throughout your entire home or the entire lower level, it may be best to contact a plumber for help.

Remove The Black Gunk

Black Gunk

If the issue seems minor and is isolated to a single drain, the problem may lie with the plumbing on that particular sink. So, you’re in luck. Hopefully, there’s no need to call in a plumber, but that is yet to be determined. 

Here’s how to clean and correct the issue:

Clean the stopper: First things first, you need to clean the drain stopper. If there’s excess water hanging out in the sink, scoop that out and toss it down a non-plugged drain. Once the sink is empty, remove the drain stopper and clean the gunk. 

This might take a while, but make sure you scrub off all of the nasty gunk. Use rubber cleaning gloves, hot water, and a scrubber. If you leave any remnants of the slimy mess on the stopper, it’s basically an invitation to welcome it back. So, scrub it well. 

Check the issue: Before you get too carried away with the next step, check to see if the sink drains normally. If so, the problem may have been isolated to the stopper itself (things can get caught around the bottom of the stopper, causing the clog high up). If not, it’s back to the drawing board because there’s a clog there. 

Bring in the big guns: Okay, fine, it’s just the plunger. You’ll need it for this next step since you know that a clog is hanging out in your drain. While you could use the grimy plunger you use to tackle toilet clogs, we recommend steering clear of that one and investing in a sink plunger. 

Yep, believe it or not, sink plungers are a thing. Ensure you get a plunger that creates a tight seal over the drain. Fit the plunger over the drain and push down gently to create a solid seal. Turn on the faucet and allow a few inches of water into the sink. 

Pump the plunger up and down with a bit of force while maintaining the seal. Then, pull the plunger up to break the seal. The water should swirl quickly down the drain. If not, give it another try. If the plunger doesn’t seem to help after a few attempts, move on to the next step. 

Make A Drain Cleaner: When the plunger doesn’t work, it’s time to bring in a homemade drain cleaner. While you could use a commercial-grade drain cleaner, we recommend using a homemade option, as it’s easier on the plumbing. 

Here’s what you’ll need for the drain cleaner:

  • Boiling water
  • Baking soda

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda Shaker - 12 Oz

Start by boiling a few cups of water. Pour half of the water down the drain, then follow up with half of a cup of baking soda. Pour the rest of the water down the drain. Allow the cleaner ten minutes to work, then check if your fix worked. Turn on the faucet and see if the drain empties normally. 

Alternatively, you can use vinegar in place of the baking soda.

Call a plumber: If none of the above methods do the trick, it may be time to call in a professional. Clogged drains can indicate a larger issue at hand, like buildup that hasn’t broken down, forming a blockage. So, if your efforts prove fruitless, it may be time to enlist the help of a plumber.

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