Thick, greasy looking, jelly stuff in the drain pipes?

sunbumAugust 3, 2012

Just a quick question if anyone know the answer. Our house was built in 1998, we bought it about two years ago. The other day, I was installing a garbage disposal under the kitchen sink and had to re-do the drain pipes under there.

Anyway, when I took the drainpipes apart underneath the kitchen sink, they were about 50-60% clogged with a black/brown, greasy-looking, jelly type stuff that was just real nasty. It smelled kind of like sewage, not real strong but definitely stinky.

Is this normal? I dug out what I could and replaced most of the under-sink drain pipes. I just didn't know if this is normal.


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Common, but not normal. It's grease. Sort of like clogging of the arteries for your drain, which slows down the water and makes it clog again that much faster. Aside from scraping it out with a paint stick (that's what i do), it would proably be helpful to run plenty of hot water, followed by draining a basin full of hot water soapy Ajax water. Maybe a foaming drain cleaner would help, too, though one shouldn't get in the habit of using drain cleaners too often.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:58AM
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Thanks for the reply. I'm sort of wondering how far down in the 'system' that stuff goes. Don't guess there's a whole lot I can do about it short of what you suggest.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Grease down the drain is bad for your plumbing, bad for septic tanks, and bad for municipal sewage treatment plants.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 5:41PM
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It may not run that far...the pipes under the sink -- particularly the P-trap -- are where most of this stuff settles. However, you may need to re-consider what goes down the sink. Does anyone routinely pour grease of any kind down the drain while cooking, rather than disposing of it in the garbage. Do you have a garbage disposal, and if so are you putting anything in it that could cause grease buildup in the pipes?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 3:55PM
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I remember watching a TOH episode where the homeowner was adding a basement toilet. They needed to attach to a drain that came from the kitchen above. When they cut the pipe, it was filled with the same crap, nearly completely blocked. This was about 10 feet from where the pipe went up into the kitchen. They stated afterwards that they went in and snaked the drain line for the homeowner to clean that crap out.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 6:35PM
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The answers above are WRONG. It is NOT grease. It is biofilm. It's a jelly-like mold (biofilm) that grows inside moist pipes ... mainly the drain pipes, but sometimes the freshwater pipes too. It feeds on anything from food particles to soap to minerals to shaving cream, etc. There are 3 things you can do (I suggest doing all 3). (1) Clean it out. Run a brush down the drain while running water. To do a good job, I disassemble the drain, clean each piece with a brush, then reassemble. (2) Regularly (every few days for a couple months) put some clorox down the drain and let it sit for 30 minutes before running water down the drain. (3) Buy some enzyme cleaner that attacks this stuff. I forget the name, but you can google it. I put about 2 cups down each affected drain once a month and let it sit overnight. Make sure nobody is going to use that sink/tub/etc after you put the enzyme in, or it will simply wash away. It needs to sit and soak in and kill this stuff.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 10:50AM
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Greasy foods leads to greasy drains. Biofilm or not, bad habits of using the garbage disposer for those greasy foods, etc. lead to the same result. (And I'll bet it does have a healthy composition of grease.)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 5:59PM
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