No Drain-O allowed.
So I live in an apartment that is in a house that was built possibly in 1930 (so says the date engraved into the end of the front walkway). It has been a pretty decent place to live for the past 2 some-odd years but of course it has had it's ups and downs. One of the downsides is the pipes. While we've had no frozen pipes, bursting pipes, etc., we've had sinks that drain very slowly. We also have had my kitchen (we're on the first floor btw) sink somehow draining into the sink in the basement where the washermachine empties. It's really quite gross, I can't stop all gunk from washing down there (I try to not wash away anything solid) and that sink drains really slowly. This causes my kitchen sink to drain slowly. If I've taken a bath, if a lot of water drains at once in the tub (or sometimes it's random), this weird black silt comes up from the drain and covers the bottom of the bath tub. It doesn't just rinse away, usually I have to get down and scrub at it to get it off. Any idea what that might be? The thing is, we're not allowed to use Drain-O or anything like that. I guess in the past it ate through one of the old pipes and that caused a big mess. Is there anything else that can be used to help unclog drains? Something natural? Something that might be more gentle on the pipes? The landlord did have someone come and snake our main pipe that goes out to the street and we didn't have any real problems for awhile but now things are worse than before we had the pipe snaked. See, since the sink in the basement drains slowly, if anyone tries to do a medium or large laundry, the sink over flows and floods the basement. It also leaves the clothing less than ringed out, so I often have to do extra spin cycles to get the rest of the water out of my laundry before putting it in the drier. Not to mention the washer and drier are old too, so this can't be good for them. Our landlord is a good friend and while he does get things repaired, it can take some time. Any ideas to how I can do something about this?