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Date: 1 September 2017. Drain Cleaner.


The sink in my galley began to drain slowly. Although I am careful to scrape any food stuffs over the side before washing dishes, I know that I miss sometimes. Keeping the sink and shower drains clear is easier when I stay on top of it. There are a few "tricks" that keep the water flowing well. Here are mine:

You should NOT scrape food stuff overboard just anywhere.

In areas such as where I am at with good tidal flow overboard is fine. Not everywhere though. For details, see the Addendum in the Fish Training 101 vignette. Thanks. J.

First and foremost, the easiest solution is to once a week treat your drains. I have two, one in the galley and the second in my head. My method is one I learned from a plumber in south Florida. Mr. Owensby said to add a tablespoon of Dawn dish detergent to the drain. Then pour in a teapot full of boiling water.

Side Note on the gizmo around the bottom of my teapot: That is the side part of a *spring-form pan. It exactly fit the raised part of my burner on the propane stove. Using it as a wind shield helped keep the burner lit when the breeze was blowing. Although I would not pay retail for such an item, quite frequently I see them offered in thrift stores for a dollar or two.

*Spring-form pans are used when making pineapple upside down cakes. They have a spring closure on the side that allows the part shown above to be removed from the cake. As long as your burner size is close to the pan dimensions, it will work as a shield protecting the flame while cooking. Dispose the bottom piece and just use the side as shown above.

When the hot water with Dawn treatment does not work there is another option for slow drains. This one requires a tool. Oh, my favorite! I love gizmos that make my life easier. The Zip-It does just that.

This is the item that makes the magic. Mine is called a Zip-It.

Zip-It is a plastic strip about 3/8" wide with teeth. The teeth grab whatever icky stuff you happen to have let slide down your drain. For me that would be tea leaves, puppy fur and bits of food. As shown above, the plastic does bend. If your drain is not straight it should still do the job.

Simply shove the pokey part down into your drain. Then pull it up, twisting as you go. In five minutes or less the hair and gunk will be removed. Wipe of your Zip-It. Rinse well in the now-draining sink. Put the tool away and you're done.

This works well in the shower, especially for gals like me with long hair. Mine is nearly waist length. Between Skipper and myself there is a lot of hair aboard Seaweed.

A few times a year I clear my drains with the gizmo. The galley does get the most icky stuff in it.

My version is stamped with the Zip-It brand name. Years ago it came from Home Depot or Lowes. The gizmo cost me $3 back then. Now they are found at dollar stores. Pick up a couple the next time you spot them.

Here is a similar one listed on Amazon. As of today (1 September 2017) the cost is $5.49 for three of them. These are most like mine with the width of the plastic part the same from the handle to the tip. I like the loop at the top too.

This is an affiliate link.

That means if you buy anything on Amazon via the link I earn a small percentage for my cruising kitty.

Using the link costs you nothing and
 does make a difference in my lifestyle.

Vastar 20" version - drain clog remover


A drain clog remover is definitely an item to pick up for your boat stores. I find having two of all essentials a great benefit to me. For lower cost items such as this one, having spares is a good thing.

One other thing you may have noticed is the size of my sponge. I take a regular sponge and cut it into thirds. Saving water is always important when your tankage is limited. I find I use less water and soap with a smaller sponge.

Side Note: when I first cut the sponges, I would cut them in half. Now I use thirds. My galley scissors work well for this task. And now my sponges last three times as long before I need to replace them. That is a bargain. I have small hands, so most would probably find a sponge cut in half the perfect size.

Picture repeated as I do not like to scroll.

Decorating on a small boat for me means buying a fancy dish towel for each season and holiday. When the newest one is bought I cut the old one into work rags.

It is nice to have a stack of absorbent rags on hand.

When the towels are a bit larger I set one aside for the galley sink. After washing the dishes I place a towel at the bottom of the sink, then stack my clean dishes on it. A drain-board would take up too much room and this works well.

Plus this is free.

The above picture also shows one of my sprouting bottles. It is actually an empty spice container. I use it to make a single serving of lentil sprouts. My method is in the Growing Lentil Sprouts article. I like lentils sprouted, not cooked. They add a nice texture to tuna salad. Tuna salad is a favorite.

The Fast Tuna recipe can be found in the Silverware and Spatulas article.

I am in the process of learning more about sprouting micro-greens. As I prepare to get underway I would like to have my own ready supply of *rabbit food to sprout.

*Rabbit food is the term my family has always used for salads.


It would be helpful if Google and YouTube did not provide contradictory information on how to sprout stuff. I'm still hunting a few seed varieties to try before laying in a supply of those I like best. I bought red and white wheat berries, buckwheat groats, barley, mung beans, black quinoa, and golden flax.

Additionally, I would like to try clover, alfalfa and broccoli too. The local Earth Foods store did not stock those seed varieties. I will look for them in the gardening section as per a suggestion by YouTube channel Khang Starr. Once I find out the ones I like, then I will price shop for a better deal.

In the meantime, I have not taken Seaweed from the dock for nearly two weeks. I am SUFFERING! That's a whole 'nother tale of ferrules, crimpers and Good Ideas with unintended consequences. And it is raining every blasted afternoon which gives me reasons to hate drips. I have named the drips after their creators. Argh.

Such is life afloat. It is a good life and know this: I would never be happier anyplace else. I love my Seaweed. She's the best.

Do you have a similar tool for clearing out your drains?
Any advice about sprouting is welcome. I have a lot to learn.

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2017, 2023

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