We are painting indoors and my son used the downstairs wash sinks to rinse our brushes and roller. He had hot running water and a bucket to let them soak in but when I went to do wash last night the sink was still almost 3/4 full of water (from about 3 hours earlier).

I am thinking more paint got in then he thought. He did rinse the roller brush directly in there and that was a bit of paint on it. I used a plunger and ran hot water again. I even used some baking soda and vinegar. About 4 hours later it was down to just an inch above the drain.

This is a rental so I would like to get this working again.

I wondered if there was anything else to dissolve the paint. I was not certain about plumber's helper or such.

  • 1
    What kind of paint? The chemicals to get through a paint clog will vary quite a bit depending on latex vs. oil, etc. Nov 30 '20 at 18:24
  • I would hope it's latex-based paint. Trying to wash out brushes and rollers for an oil based paint in a sink and sending it down the pipes is a Bad Idea.
    – Jamie M
    Nov 30 '20 at 18:27
  • Not sure it's "Bad Idea", but it's kinda pointless to try to clean oil-based paint with water... ;)
    – FreeMan
    Nov 30 '20 at 18:31

I would suspect that it's something other than paint. We use our kitchen sink to wash out brushes and have never had issues with it clogging. You would have had to have washed a lot of very dried out paint down in order for it to have clogged.

If plunging hasn't solved the issue, you could try any of the chemical drain cleaners, or you could try a snake or auger. Hand operated snakes are fairly inexpensive and are handy to have around in general and don't have any of the drawbacks/concerns that people have with chemicals.


If it is paint - which I doubt it is - that is is backing it up, let the water go all the way down and then put boiling water down it. (boiling water works for a lot of things)

If it is a wash basin - without fixtures - you can also use muriatic acid to clean. For a sink you would need the acid and funnel and make sure acid is not sitting in the sink but in the drain. You of course cannot do this if your drain has a stopper or any other type of fixture. Please wear gloves, goggles, and mask with muriatic acid.

Beyond that you are looking at taking out the P trap and cleaning it which depending on how it was set up could be 15 mins all the way to going shopping and a half day project.

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