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How do I Clean Drain Pipes of Slime?

April Dowling

Bathroom odors are not uncommon, but they may have a surprising source. Organic layers of bacteria, also known as biofilm, occasionally coat the pipes connecting fixtures to the vertical tailpiece pipes under the fixtures. Over time, the bacteria layers form slime on the sides of these vertical tailpiece pipes. When water rushes past the slime and dislodges the bacteria molecules, unpleasant odors waft into the air. Fortunately, simple supplies are effective at removing layers of slime from drain pipes.

Use certain solutions to clean slime from drain pipes.
  1. Unscrew the screws on the strainer cover, using a screwdriver. Remove the strainer cover from the drain, so you can inspect the drain pipe. Set the strainer cover and screws aside.

  2. Fill a plastic cleaning bucket with 1 gallon of water. Add 2 tbsp. of liquid dish soap to the water, to create a soapy solution.

  3. Dip a large diameter bottle brush into the soapy solution. Scrub the underside of the strainer cover with the bottle brush.

  4. Extend the brush down into the drain pipe. Scrub the sides of the vertical drain pipe, using the bottle brush and soapy solution.

  5. Fill a pail with clean water. Dump the clean water down the drain, to rinse out the soapy water and remaining slime.

  6. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain. Dump 1/2 cup of white vinegar down the drain. These two solutions together create an acidic reaction that dissolves any debris in drain pipes.

  7. Pour 1 cup of lemon juice down the drain, to neutralize and eliminate the remaining odors in the drain. Replace the strainer cover over the drain pipe.