What are the contents of most sink drain clogs?

So, bet you can guess what I did today.

My bathroom sick was draining slowly, so I undid the catch, pulled out a snake, and cleared the guck that was in the pipe. Drains beautifully now.

Most of the clog material I pulled out was hair (which, I seriously wonder how that much hair got down the bathroom sink, given that my wife uses her own sink and I don’t do that much grooming, but I digress). But there was a lot of other black, squishy material that the hair clumped up with.

What’s that stuff? I mean in general, I know none of you have spy cameras in my sink, but what are the usual contents of a drain clog?

Soap scum and similar residue.

I think it’s mostly soap scum combined with dirt and hair. What else goes down there? When I clean mine out, it’s the black squishy stuff stuff you described.

add toothpaste to the mix.

so you thought.

So you thought.

I suspect the black stuff is mold/mildew growing on the hair and soap scum.


Oh, come on, can’t you ivory tower eggheads ever just speak in plain English instead of this academic mumbo jumbo???

Actually he mis-capitalized Glycerinic Lineolate Organic/Opportunistic Polyplasm.

In other words, rotting hair & soap. :smiley:

Well played, sir. decorous applause

In kitchens its often when someone tries to put potato peelings down the disposal.

I watched a documentary* on this phenomenon, and the answer was:


When my bathroom sink clogs my plunger often pulls up very rubbery off-white stuff; it doesn’t run between my fingers if I pinch it. Never have figured that out. It can be very hard to dislodge with my plunger. Management has made a general threat to charge tenants the cost of a plumber visit if one is needed for a clogged drain, so that makes me very stubborn. So far I have always been able to clear it myself but it is d–n hard work sometimes.

Two of the clogs in my townhouse were “flushable” wipes (stupid neighbors). I haven’t seen any scientific studies on the topic but it’s a widely reported phenomenon. Obviously not what your clog was made of, the wipes are pretty obvious when pulled out and usually mostly intact.

I’m in favor of FTC rules banning the word “flushable” from anything that doesn’t disintegrate in water and pass through a colander in 10 seconds. In fact they should add mandatory warnings telling people to put them in the trash.

“Flushable” feminine hygiene products are another perennial revenue producer for plumbers. They’re called “blind mice” in the argot. A severe blind mice infestation can keep an auger crew busy for an hour or more.

Fingernail clippings?

People have covered bathroom sinks and toilets.

For kitchen sinks, the typical culprits are grease/cooking oil, peelings/scrapings/food scraps, and dirt.

Yes, yes, of course. That’s exactly what I meant. Thank you for helping clarify. :smiley:

I’m going to guess that this is congealed toothpaste lather glop (ctlglop). I think every time you brush your teeth and spit it out, you get another layer of ctlglop deposited inside the drain – just like dipping candles, with every dip you get another layer of wax on your candle.

I do some gardening, so when I wash my hands some dirt and sand is always there. This goes down the drain and settles in the trap. I imagine this will clog it up eventually, as it gets embedded in the ctlglop. Periodically, the toilet will clog up too, for utterly no apparent reason. (What, I unexpectedly shit a brick now and then? What was in that burrito I ate anyway?) I am getting into the habit of proactively plunging out all the drains (kitchen sink, bathroom sink, tub, and toilet) once in a while whether they need it or not.


Buy a sink plunger. Then learn how to plunge a bathroom sink. You have to cover up the air vent (its under the front rim) but if you do it right you’ll be surprised how easy it is to plunge out.