Black Stuff Coming Out Of Shower Drain? (What’s It & What To Do)

So, you step into your shower ready to wash away the stress of the day, only to be met with an unpleasant surprise- black stuff coming out of shower drain. This disgusting sight is enough to make you cringe and wonder, what on earth is that black stuff?

In most cases, the black stuff oozing out of your shower drain is a combination of soap scum, skin cells, mineral deposits, and hair backing up into your shower. Over time, these materials can gather in your drain, forming a thick, black sludge.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore its causes, potential dangers, and, most importantly, what you should do to remedy the situation.

Why is there black stuff coming out of my shower drain?

What Causes The Black Stuff Coming Out Of Shower Drain?

As mentioned earlier, the black, gooey substance oozing out of your shower drain is a combination of hair, soap scum, mineral deposits, and skin cells backing up. However, what causes it?

1. Soap Scum

Soap scum is a natural byproduct of soap and shampoo in the shower. When soap mixes with minerals in your water, it forms a residue that can accumulate in your drain over time.

This residue can turn black from contaminant buildup. Some soaps and body wash, like soap bars, are more prone to creating soap scum than others, such as liquid or gel soaps.

Hard water also contributes to soap scum formation as it contains high levels of minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium ions. When soap interacts with these minerals, it forms soap scum more readily than in soft water.

Furthermore, poor ventilation can trap humidity in your bathroom, promoting soap scum formation. Additionally, soap scum is more likely to build up in your shower if you shower regularly.

2. Hair

Hair is a major contributor to drain blockages, especially if you have long hair or use the shower with multiple people. As you shower and wash your hair, loose strands can find their way into the drain.

Over time, these strands can entangle with soap scum and other debris, creating a thick mass of black gunk. Hair accumulation in your shower creates a breeding ground for mildew and mold, making the hair darken and develop a slimy or black appearance.

3. Dead Skin Cells

Every time you shower, you naturally shed dead skin cells, which can also contribute to the buildup of black sludge in your drain. When they combine with soap scum and hair, they create a sticky mixture that’s difficult to remove.

4. Mold and Mildew

In some cases, the black substance can be mold or mildew. Moist environments like shower drains provide an ideal fungi breeding ground. They can appear black or dark green and often have a musty odor.

What Problems Can The Black Stuff Coming Out of Your Shower Drain Cause?

Typically, the black stuff is not harmful on its own. However, you will likely encounter the problems below if you do not deal with this issue.

a) Drain Clogs

Over time, the black substance can accumulate and adhere to the walls of your shower drain pipes. This buildup can gradually narrow the diameter of the drain, making it easier for other debris, such as hair and soap scum, to become trapped.

Soap scum, a significant contributor to this problem, is a sticky residue. Therefore, it can trap other materials, making the clog more substantial and difficult to remove.

Additionally, the hair can become entangled and create a dense mass that obstructs water flow.

b) Reduced Water Flow

If you do not remove the black substance from your shower drain, the buildup can reduce the diameter of your plumbing pipes and fixtures, restricting the flow of water. This reduces water pressure, making it less effective for showering, bathing, and performing other household tasks.

Also, as the hair clumps together, it restricts the flow of water, leading to reduced water flow in your shower.

c) Unpleasant Odors

The black substance in your shower drain can provide an ideal environment for the growth of mold and mildew. These fungi thrive in damp and humid conditions, and the moisture in your shower drain provides them with the necessary conditions to flourish.

Mold and mildew can emit musty, unpleasant odors, making your bathroom smelly. Additionally, over time, the organic material in the black substance can decompose, leading to foul-smelling gases being released into the air.

Furthermore, the stagnant water and organic material in the drain can promote the growth of bacteria. Some types of bacteria can produce odors as they break down organic matter.

d) Health Concerns

Mold or mildew can pose health risks, particularly for individuals with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. Inhaling mold spores can lead to health problems such as allergic reactions.

e) Aesthetically Unpleasant

The appearance of the black substance is unsightly and can negatively impact the aesthetics of your bathroom. It can create stains on tile and grout, as well as discoloration on fixtures and surfaces, making your bathroom less inviting and visually appealing.

f) Potential Structural Damage

In extreme cases where water backup occurs due to severe drain blockages, it can lead to water damage to your bathroom’s structure, walls, and flooring. Repairing water damage can cost you a lot, and you may need to do extensive renovations.

g) Recurring Issues

If you do not address this problem properly, the black substance can keep returning, creating an ongoing maintenance problem. You may find yourself dealing with the same issues repeatedly, which is not only time-consuming and annoying but also costly.

Dirt coming up shower drain

What To Do To Fix The Black Stuff Oozing Out Of Your Shower Drain

Now that you know what the black stuff in your shower drain is, its causes, and the potential issues it can cause, let’s explore what you should do to address the problem.

1) Remove the Black Stuff From Your Drain

You can take out the black substance mechanically or with hot water, vinegar and baking soda mixture, or chemical cleaners. 

2) Regular Maintenance

Prevent hair and debris from entering your drain using a drain cover or hair catcher. These devices can massively reduce the amount of material accumulating in your drain.

Also, clean your drain a minimum of one time every month. To do so, take out the drain cover, then dislodge clogs with a drain snake or a plunger.

You can also break down soap scum and debris with the help of baking soda and vinegar solution. Moreover, periodically pouring boiling water down the drain helps dissolve substances like soap scum contributing to the black buildup.

3) Preventative Measures

Switch from bar soap to liquid soap because it tends to leave less residue than bar soap, reducing the likelihood of soap scum buildup.

In addition, a water softener removes minerals from water, so consider installing one in your home if you use hard water. Softened water is less likely to form mineral deposits and soap scum.

Also, ensure your bathroom is well-ventilated to reduce humidity, which can encourage mold and mildew growth. To maintain proper bathroom ventilation, either open a window or run an exhaust fan while showering.

4) Deep Cleaning

Consider using a commercial drain cleaner if you’re dealing with a stubborn blockage or severe buildup. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and take safety precautions, such as knowing how long to flush Drano with hot water.

If your drain issues persist or worsen, seek professional plumbing assistance. An expert would have the tools and expertise to diagnose and resolve more complex drain problems.

5) Mold and Mildew Removal

Prioritize safety when dealing with mold and mildew, so put on gloves, a mask, and eye protection before removing them. Clean the affected areas with specialized mold and mildew removers.

Thoroughly read the provided instructions and adhere to them. In addition, ensure proper ventilation during the cleaning process.

To prevent mold and mildew from returning, address underlying moisture problems. This encompasses addressing leaks, enhancing ventilation, and employing a dehumidifier in your bathroom as needed.

What is the black sludge in drain pipes

How To Remove The Black Stuff Coming Out Of Your Shower Drain

Tackle this issue effectively through these steps:

Gather Your Supplies

  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles (if using chemical cleaners)
  • A bucket
  • A hair catcher or drain cover
  • Baking soda
  • A drain snake or plunger
  • White vinegar
  • A scrub brush or an old toothbrush
  • Commercial drain cleaner (optional)
  • Boiling water

1. Safety Precautions

Put on your rubber gloves and wear safety goggles to protect your eyes if you’re using chemical cleaners.

2. Remove Debris

Begin by taking out visible debris like hair and soap scum from the drain using your hands, a pair of tweezers, or a small tool ensuring you pull out as much as you can.

3. Boiling Water Flush

Boil a pot of water, then pour it carefully down your shower drain to help dissolve soap scum and loosen debris.

4. Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution

If you’re dealing with persistent black residue, create a natural cleaning solution by following these steps:

  • Pour baking soda (about 1/2 a cup) down your shower drain.
  • Follow it with white vinegar (one cup).
  • Let the mixture sit in your drain for at least 15-30 minutes to allow the fizzing action to dislodge the buildup.
  • Rinse the drain with hot water.

5. Mechanical Removal

If the blockage persists, use a plunger or drain snake.

For a plunger, place it over your shower drain, ensuring enough water covers the plunger’s cup. Following that, firmly press it downward, and then swiftly lift it upward to generate suction.

As for a drain snake, insert it into your shower drain, then use it to remove obstructions physically.

6. Commercial Drain Cleaners (Optional)

If the blockage is stubborn, use a commercial drain cleaner, but do so cautiously.

7. Final Rinse

After removing as much debris as possible, flush the drain with boiling water. This can help dissolve soap scum and other substances contributing to the black buildup. Be cautious not to splash boiling water on yourself.

Summary of The Black Stuff Coming Out Of Shower Drain

You can remove the black stuff coming out of your shower drain and prevent it with the appropriate approach. Regular maintenance, preventative measures, and proper cleaning techniques go a long way in keeping your shower drain free of black buildup and clogs.

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Why Is My Bathroom Floor Wet After Shower? (Fixed!)