questionshow can i get wax out of a drain?


Personally, I would remove the trap and clean it out manually. Maybe even replace it if it's bad enough. You don't want to risk running boiling water down the drain and having wax solidify further down the system. Better to take care of it now and avoid future plumbing costs.


Stop now, before you make this much, much worse, and do what Unclefrog just told you to do (and what you also suggested). The more you try anything other than just just taking it all apart, and cleaning it out manually, the more expensive it's going to be when you finally give up.

I expect that you know how to do the manual clean up, or you wouldn't have suggested it. If you don't, now is not the time to learn, call a professional. If you do, here's a helpful hint with the cleaning. Use rubber gloves, and a solution of dishwashing liquid (for dishwashers, such as Cascade), and hot water. The object here is to try and remove the candle wax, and you will not be able to get water hot enough to melt it without being hot enough to burn through the gloves.

Clearly these were not beeswax candles (easier, by far to remove), but something commercial. Be prepared for some hard work ahead.


@shrdlu: I respectfully disagree about now not being the time to learn. Under the sink drain plumbing repair is one of the easiest things to learn on. Cleaning the stuff out may not be, but replacement parts are pretty cheap.

I imagine that the hot wax hit the room temperature water in the trap and solidified instantly. This should make it fairly easy to clean out. Unscrew the trap from either end (have a bucket or bowl ready to dump the trapped water into). There are plenty of how to videos online so you can see what to do. Visually inspect it. If you decide to replace it, take it with you to the store and buy the exact same product.

After you've dealt with the trap itself, remove the sink drain plunger and shine a flashlight down to look for any wax. That can easily be scraped with a flathead screwdriver and/or wire brush. Also inspect the drain going into the wall or floor. If you find wax (which I don't think you will), be more careful cleaning it out.


@thepenrod: Yeah, when I first bought the house, I was able to completely replace the kitchen sink and pipes and the garbage disposal with absolutely no prior experience with plumbing. There is a lot of great information out there online. I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do, just no idea of when I'll have the time to do it. I was hoping for some magical product that will dissolve wax...


You mean like this?

Paint thinner could also work. But the problem is once it's unstuck, preventing it from re-sticking down the line could be problematic :)


@thepenrod: Good advice, and excellent description. The point about this being not the time to learn is still valid, but I suspected (and the subsequent comment by @benyust2 bears it out) that the OP was perfectly capable. Not everyone is good at DIY projects. You obviously are. I used to be, but no longer care to (the twins of arthritis and a sense of time defeat that).

BTW, whether or not people have a dishwasher, good old Cascade (in the powder form) is one of the handiest things out there to have on hand. Excellent for removing stains left behind in the dryer by crayons (for example).

[Edit] Just saw the recommendation about the product from Amazon. Don't use it on your pipes; it'll just move it down to where you can't get to it, and then you'll be in serious trouble.


Thanks to everyone for the advice!


I don't have an answer, but another question. I ended up with wax down my kitchen drain last night (long story). The drains in both sinks completely backed up. After reading these responses, our plan was to dismantle the plumbing under the sink when hubs got home from work. In the meantime, I ran the dishwasher. When I got home, the sink was filthy. Perplexed, I cleaned it up using a damp rag, but out of curiosity, let the water flow very quickly to see if it was still backed up. The water drained fine. Hubs theorized that the high temp of the H20 in the dishwasher melted the wax, but we are now concerned b/c we are on septic. Should we just be thankful for the clearing of the drain, or concerned that we may have wax in the septic system?