How to Remove Sludge Buildup From Drain Pipes

Updated April 17, 2017

When sludge builds up in the drainpipes, it can cause the drains to flow slower, along with emitting a foul smell. Sludge is a product of different things going down the drain--toothpaste, food particles and maybe some grease. Mold and mildew can also cause sludge problems. If you use chemicals to clear away the sludge, they may eat holes in your pipes. Taking care of your drains will keep them running like they should.

Pour 354ml. to 1/2 gallon of bleach into the drains. You can clean out all the drains at once, or do it in stages. Leave the bleach in the drains overnight. Do not pour any water through the drains. The bleach loosens and dissolves hair and sludge.

Bring two or more gallons of water to a boil for each drain the next morning before using the drains.

Pour the boiling water down the drain. This will wash away the sludge the bleach has loosened.


Wipe away any bleach that spills in the sink with a damp paper towel. If you don't, the bleach can cause permanent stains.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Boiling water
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About the Author

Gail Delaney is a writer in South Dakota and has articles published online at various websites. She is the garden editor for BellaOnline, with years of gardening experience. Being the caretaker of her parents led her in the direction of medical issues, especially natural remedies.