I’m going to start this post out with a disclaimer: If you’ve eaten recently, or are thinking about eating in the next, oh, eternity, you might want to skip this one. The following pictures may result in a loss of appetite, spontaneous vomiting, and/or the desire to scrub your entire body down with bleach. Or maybe that’s just me. So read on, but only if you have a poorly draining sink and a strong constitution.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The poorly draining bathroom sink in the Farm House Rental is one of those pesky little issues that I’ve been meaning to deal with since I moved in. It makes things like brushing my teeth and washing my face a huge chore, and let’s be honest here… I don’t need another reason to be going out in public with paint all over my face, right?
It needed fixin.
And yet, it still took me two months to work up the courage to tackle this one. Not because I wasn’t sure how, but because I was terrified of what I would find. Plus, you know, I had to dig out my full body haz-mat suit in order to spend any length of time wedged into this space.
Here’s what we’re actually looking at in the picture above, but with more labels and less pink plastic tiles:
This will give you a pretty good idea of what goes on under the usual bathroom sink. I’m by no means a plumber or plumbing expert, but I’ve installed enough bathroom sinks to guess that either somewhere in the bend of the P-trap, or possibly where the stopper and pivot rod connect, something was keeping the water from going down.
I tried removing the actual P-trap, but, like many things in this house, the damn thing was rusted on so tight that no amount of leverage and swearing from my 5’3″ frame was going to get it off. Well, I mean, I own a hammer, I could have gotten it off, but I have a feeling there might be a clause in my rental contract about not smashing the bathroom to pieces.
Instead I focused on this little problem area. In a proper setup, the pivot rod there goes through one of the holes in the clevis, which is what makes the stopper open and close when you pull on the rod behind the faucet. Clearly that’s not what I had going on here…
In order to remove the stopper I had to remove the pivot rod by unscrewing the little plastic nut that holds it in place.
Then, brace yourself, I got this…
Ugh. Ugh. I can’t even…
That’s a mixture of hair, mystery substances, and pure evil.
Then I pulled the stopper out of the sink and I really think the only thing that kept me from vomiting was that I knew I was going to write this post and have to admit it if I did.
It would have been better (for cleaning purposes, but worse for curbing my desire to take a bath in straight bleach) if I could have pulled the trap and drain apart and cleaned everything that way, but instead I settled for digging out the clog with a long screwdriver.
There was about three times this much gunk when it was all said and done, but I seriously couldn’t bring myself to look at or take pictures of it. I’m that traumatized.
After I cleared most of the clog I shoved a paper towel in the hole where the pivot rod was and then ran the water for a minute to make sure it was draining fine without the stopper in place. (It was, thankfully.) Then I soaked all of the sink parts in bleach for 30 minutes before reassembly.
In the meantime, I literally cleaned every square inch of the bathroom first with bleach, then with a swiffer, then with my steam mop. That right there should tell you how grossed out I was by this, because half the time it’s a battle for me just to pick my clothes up off the floor, and here I was channeling Mr. Clean.
Once everything was clean and ready to be reassembled, I started by putting the stopper back in the drain, with the hole at the bottom of the stopper lined up with the hole for the pivot rod. Then the pivot rod went back in (through the clevis, this time), and I tested everything out to make sure it worked.
Would you look at that…
And, no water left standing in the sink.
Once I was sure everything was working I tightened everything up, checked for any leaks under the sink, then took a steaming hot shower and huddled in a dark corner for a while to try and get the horrifying images of this experience out of my head.
But, I was able to brush my teeth before going to bed, so all in all, it was worth it.
Anyone else have tips for tackling a clogged drain?