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From time to time my kitchen sink needs to be unplugged, and each time I invariably find accumulations of a crusty, crumbly white material in the pipes. It looks a lot like old cheese, has no particular odor of note, is often in ring shapes (so I assume it is accumulating against the pipe walls), and can be quite hard at times requiring a fair bit of manual force to snap out of place.

These accumulations don't occur at our bathroom sink and bathtub drain, both of which have corrugated plastic hosing, so I suspect it is biological (feeding off sink detritus) rather than mineralogical?

Just curious!

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youtube.com/watch?v=ZnwIIKnWJtg, or for those who prefer the original... youtube.com/watch?v=8H3dFh6GA-A – user558 May 7 '11 at 10:53
If it's not a mineral deposit, then I'd post a photo so we can see what it is. Make sure you tell it to smile. – BMitch May 20 '11 at 16:29
up vote 2 down vote accepted

It sounds like calcium build up to me, are you sure it's not mineral? Is your water hard? When I have replaced the PVC pipes in my sink, I occasionally see exactly what you describe, but in my case it is because of our hard water.

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+1 sounds like to me. A little CLR will clean it right off if that's the case. – BMitch May 20 '11 at 16:28

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