A month or so ago I decided to clean out the kitchen and bathroom sink drains with vinegar. I’ve done this one time before and it worked great. Because there is no p-trap the sinks can get a little stinky and cleaning them with vinegar makes them nice and fresh again. The process is simple. I close the through-hull seacock and pour white distilled vinegar into the sink; let it soak for a while (30 minutes or so). Then I open the seacock and flush with water. Easy peasy.
BUT…the last time I did it, the bathroom sink drain started acting goofy. Basically, it stopped draining as quickly as it should. We’ve just been living with it this way for a while, but this weekend Rich finally had enough.
What We Did
First we verified that the seacock was open all the way (it wasn’t so we tweaked it a bit). Then from the dock Rich was able to reach the through-hull with a bamboo skewer to pull out some gunk as I flushed water from the inside. When that didn’t fix the problem, we used the hose to force water into the through-hull backwards from the outside. Theoretically, no water should have flowed into the sink because there’s a check valve that closes. But that’s not what happened. Water and some green gunk came up into the sink so we knew something was blocking the check valve so it couldn’t close.
Rich took the sink drain apart and found a disgusting hairball caught in the check valve. According to Rich this is all completely my fault since I’m the only one on the boat with hair. To be clear, I never wash my hair in the sink or purposefully put hair down the sink (I do shed a lot but that all goes into the garbage).
I suggested doing the vinegar soak more often, but Rich didn’t seem to think that would help. Anyway, we’ll either repeat this process in another couple of years or I’ll start shaving my head too.