How to Clean Black Sludge in Bathroom Sink Drains


Black sludge can easily build up in the drain of the bathroom sink from mold and mildew development, as well as toothpaste and other particles you rinse down the sink and thereby allow to accumulate in the drain pipe. A moderately easy process, cleaning away the black sludge will take care of the blockage and leave your sink draining properly.

How to Clean Black Sludge in Bathroom Sink Drains
(Jeffrey Opp/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • 1 gallon boiling water
  • Plunger
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • Pipe snake
Step 1

Bring 1/2 gallon of water to a boil, and pour it down the clogged drain. The extreme temperature of the hot water will often break apart the sludge and remove the blockage.

Jeffrey Opp/Demand Media
Step 2

Plunge the sink five to six times with either a toilet plunger or a small handheld plunger. This will loosen up any remaining sludge, making it easier to rinse down the drain.

Jeffrey Opp/Demand Media
Step 3

Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the drain. The baking soda will deodorize and clean the drains while working as a nonabrasive agent that will break up the black sludge. Pour into the drain and let sit for a few minutes.

Jeffrey Opp/Demand Media
Step 4

Pour 1 cup of distilled white vinegar down the drain onto the baking soda. Cover the drain so the ingredients can work their way down through the pipe. The white vinegar and baking soda will create a foaming reaction, which will work its way down the pipe to disinfect and break apart the sludge, rinsing it down the drain with little work required. Both the vinegar and baking soda work as deodorizers, which will also eliminate the foul odor in the drain caused by the sludge.

Jeffrey Opp/Demand Media
Step 5

If problems persist, purchase a pipe snake from your local hardware or home improvement store. Run the snake down the pipe, which will break up and wash down any buildup in the neck of the drain, where blockage often occurs. This will leave the drain clear of blockage, and draining properly.

Jeffrey Opp/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • If none of the above solutions work, consult with a plumber, who will be able to handle the problem professionally.


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