So, I found a Quora thread that asked plumbers for the strangest things they've pulled out of clogged pipes, and the answers will elicit the same reaction from you that the pimple-popping videos do, which is a combination of amazement and mild horror. If this doesn't make you think twice before flushing or putting something down your garbage disposal, I don't know what will.
1."A whole chicken. It’d gone rancid, and the genius thought it would flush no problem. He took the legs off at least, managed to get it through the porcelain toilet without breaking it, but cracked the boot (fitting underneath), which was plastic. Of course, this wasn’t noticed until he tried to do a number 2. The poor person downstairs had nasty rancid chicken and poo water raining down into her apartment."
2."Two very old ladies who shared a second-floor apartment in a house called my dad, who had been recommended to them, because their toilet was plugged. It turned out when dad got there that the toilet had been plugged for several days, and not anywhere near the toilet. Dad investigated in the cellar and found that the connection to the house’s main sewer line was blocked. He explained to the ladies that he would have to take the sewer apart to unclog it, and that they must promise not to use the toilet until he told them it was fixed, and it would be a little over an hour. So he takes the sewer apart and clears the blockage. Meanwhile, upstairs one of the ladies forgot what dad had asked and left a large 'deposit' in the toilet, which she flushed...straight down and directly into my dad’s face as he was starting to reconnect the sewer pipes."
3."[I] was to unclog a toilet. ... The tool of choice was the closet auger, and I immediately extracted a Barbie doll which, combined with my name Ken, received laughter and even applause from the homeowners."
4."I went to snake a clogged sewer. The husband was on vacation. The wife stood by as I snaked the drain. She had been away for two months taking care of her sick mother. I pulled out wet wipes with condoms blocking the sewer. She was horrified since her husband didn’t use condoms since she was on birth control. I’m assuming a big fight ensued after he arrived home having to explain how condoms got in the sewer while she was away."
5."The weirdest thing I have personally retrieved from a drain was a pair of men’s Hanes underwear. I think someone had an accident and flushed them, causing a major back-up at a resort hotel."
6."I was 4 or 5 years old when I discovered the toilet. Little things went down easily. A tissue, a key. I tried a plastic pear that was in a fruit set that my mother kept on the table. Well, it went down through the hole, but that was it. I kept flushing the toilet until it looked a bit like Niagara Falls. So I did what any little kid would do — run off and hide in bed. Our one toilet was rendered useless, and my father had to take the day off to fix it. He took the entire thing apart, and inspected the sewer and found the poor misshaped plastic pear. There was no doubt I was the culprit, and my dad gave me a stern lecture about playing with the toilet."
7."I was working in a seaside laundromat where a dozen commercial washers were dumped into a trough between the two rows of washers, then emptied into a pit which was nearly full of sand. So I began to dig out the sand and noticed something shiny. The bottom of the pit, which measured about two feet by two feet, was covered by four or five inches of loose change, some of which was pretty old. One of my more pleasant finds."
8."I was a Machinist Mate on a submarine, and part of my job description was helping to tend to our fluid systems. One of these systems was our Auxiliary Seawater system. We used it to provide cooling water for a number of systems in the engineering spaces. To keep junk in the seawater from clogging the heat exchanger tubes, there was a strainer in the ASW lines. So we noticed that temps were starting to go up, and differential pressure on the strainers was rising, suggesting they might be clogged, and scheduled a cleaning. It was assigned to me. And, when I opened up the strainer to clean the two strainer baskets, I found about 30 pounds of clams, mussels, and even a few small crabs. In fact, there was so much seafood in the strainers that they were stuck at first and took some time before they could be worked loose."
9."I am not a plumber, but our drain to the street backed up about a year ago. I figured it was tree roots doing this and tried to snake it myself. I screwed that up, so I called in the pros. Plumber came out, snaked the line, got something, and told me to go to my basement and run the water a while. Everything seemed to be flowing the way it was supposed to, so I came back out to the front of the house. The plumber was bringing his snake back up, and I asked, “Ya think ya got it?' He just nodded his head, and I asked what the obstruction was. He pointed at the ground, and there was one of my long baseball socks, the ones that go up over your calf. I stared in disbelief. How the hell did one of my baseball socks get into the drainage pipe? I asked the plumber what he thought.
10."Years ago, when my youngest granddaughter was 4, I was visiting. Mom put the kid in the shower and went back downstairs. After the kid had been playing in the shower for awhile, Mom went back upstairs to dry the kid off and discovered a major flood that had almost reached the stairs. I don’t know why the water wasn’t coming through the ceiling. So we got a snake and tried to unclog the drain. No joy. Mom then called a plumber. The plumber ran a snake down the drain and came up to a point where the snake wouldn’t go any further. The plumber ran a camera down the drain and found an obstruction. I don’t remember how he was able to remove the obstruction, but he did. When he got the obstruction out, it turned out to be the plastic cap from a bathroom item.
11."Years ago, we had a bad clog in the dual-side kitchen sink. No kids or any other reason for the problem even though there was a garbage disposal connected to one side, but water would not go down either. I unscrewed the U trap and found that it was somewhat stuck in place. The pipe was full of spaghetti! It seems the wife put some excess cooked spaghetti down the disposal. Neither one of us realized that ground up cooked spaghetti would form such a blockage. Of course now, no more than a few stray strands make it down the drain."
12."After having my drain cable fight for an hour to clear a drain, it broke off, leaving some 20 feet of cable lost and stuck in the drain pipe. Then, I took half a day using a retriever head trying to get back my lost (expensive) drain cable, in a tug of war contest with the unknown. Finally got it free, bringing back my 20 feet of cable, and attached to the end of it was another 50 foot of cable that another plumber lost, telling no one he left the broken cable inside the drain pipe, for a forever problem."
13."My husband was a plumber who specialized in new construction and took pride in the quality of his work, so when a customer who had only just moved in reported that his drain was plugged, he was very concerned. Rather than just snake it, he wanted to know what the problem was. He determined the location and cut the pipe open. It was full of sheetrock mud! The sheetrocker had simply dumped his excess mud down the shower drain and had no water to flush it down since the water had not been hooked up yet, so it cured into a total plug right there under the shower drain."
14.Finally, "Years ago, I moved into a new build house. A couple of weeks after we moved in, sewage started coming out of the manhole on our patio. Since we had just moved in, I felt it was not my job to rod a new drainage system and got the construction firm to come round to the job. A worker lifted the manhole and tried rodding. No joy. On to the next manhole. Lifting that, he discovered a dry manhole apparently filled with concrete. He was about to jump down on it until I stopped him and used one of the drain rods to prod the ‘concrete.’ It went straight through. It was a polythene sheet put in to catch debris while the manhole was being built and covered with a thin film of cement and dirt. Underneath was eight feet of sewage. Had I not stopped this guy jumping in, he would have been the next blockage by drowning in sewage.
OK, I kinda wanna read more. Got any wild plumbing horror stories? Tell me in the comments below!