We returned home after a night away to find mysterious stuff in our...

Asked June 20, 2016, 2:11 PM EDT

We returned home after a night away to find mysterious stuff in our bathroom sink.

See Jpg attached with 4 images.

We will appreciate if you can help us identify what this could be.

Some background:

The material is very dry and flaky.

Some larger granular clumps.

There was something like an air gun staple in the mix.

No odor.

I placed a small bit in cider vinegar - looks a little like a membrane attached to a more solid piece.

Very little to no bubbling action.

There is no indication of water backup or overflow in the bathroom or basement below.

Nothing appears to have fallen from the ceiling.

There is a fan and ceiling light fixture above the sink.


1. The cat - maybe could have eaten eggshells and thrown up. Cat has never done this before, never eats out of garbage. Plenty of past throw-ups, but always hairballs and always on the floor.

2. Some kind of plumbing issue - google searches identify calcium materials that look something like this. There is a fine screen on the faucet, with no residual materials on the screen. The sink stopper does not show any of the material having flowed up or down from sink. We have an instant hot water heater, about 10 years old.

3. Workman accident - We are having work done in our kitchen including electric and some new plumbing for dishwasher, sink and refrigerator. Asked the workman if he knew anything about this (he was on site the day we left). He saw the material, didn't know what it was. I'm guessing maybe this material was on a tool, or towel or something, and accidentally found its way to the sink.

4. Homeowner error - Either my husband or I accidentally deposited this material in the sink without knowing it. This seems the least likely, as it is pretty hard to miss and I can't image how it would have gotten there.

Hamilton County Ohio

1 Response

So sorry that you came home to this. And, I appreciate all of the information that you provided. It is impossible for me to give you a finite answer though. I think your reasoning is pretty sound and I will tell you that I would lean toward your option #3. I don't believe a cat would throw up in the sink; I hardly think it would have come from you and since you saw no additional residue lower in the sink, I doubt it was a plumbing problem.

From what I could determine from your pictures, it looks like drywall dust and a staple; you may want to ask additional questions of your worker...were there any additional people in the house who might have used this sink for washing equipment; as well, you might want to share these pictures with them. You did not share with me the extent of work that was undertaken in the home. I am guessing the residue has a pretty simple explanation.

My apologies for an incomplete answer. My appreciation for your use of this service. Please let me know if I can help in any other way.