How to unclog a sink

Cleaning Tools & Supplies

Clogged sinks are typically caused by a buildup of debris in your pipes. This can come from grease and food debris or items such as soap and hair ending up in your drains.

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Best ways to unlogg sinks

After a burst pipe, clogged drains are every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Not only can it be an expensive problem to fix, but it can be a recurring problem. Clogged drains are the most common type of drainage issue a homeowner can face.

Drains typically get clogged due to food debris or hair building up in the plumbing below. Even soap can cause drains to clog. You might think the only answer to clearing your drains is a chemical one. However, most people don’t realize that unclogging a sink can be a relatively quick and easy thing to do.

Causes of a clogged sink

If you’re experiencing water backup in your kitchen sink, chances are grease and food debris have built up somewhere in the pipes. This can be a stubborn clog to remove and if it’s gotten bad enough, may even require professional assistance.

Kohler K-EC2882-0 Verticyl Rectangle Bathroom Sink

In the bathroom, soap and hair are more likely to be the culprit. A lot of soaps and cleansers contain oils and other ingredients, which can cause buildup, clogs and water backup in your bathroom sink.

Methods for unclogging a sink

There are many ways to unclog a sink, but the best way to avoid a clogged sink is not to allow food debris or hair to travel down the pipes. By cleaning the garbage disposal on a weekly basis, you may be able to prevent sink blockages entirely.

Use a plunger

MR.SIGA Toilet Plunger and Bowl Brush Combo

A good old-fashioned plunger will do as good a job as most things. 

To unclog a sink drain using a plunger, fill the sink with warm water. This water helps create a seal around the clogged drain. Position the plunger over the drain, making sure it attaches by pressing the handle down into the middle of the rubber seal. Now, begin to pump, repeating five to eight times. Remove the plunger and see if the water clears. Repeat the process if the water remains.

If you see some gunk come up out of the sink drain, it means the plunging method is working. Keep it up until your sink fully drains. If you’re still experiencing a backup of water when you run the faucet, you’ll need to move on to another method.

Add some boiling water

If you don’t have a plunger and you need your sink cleared quickly, boiling water on its own may do the trick, particularly if combined with the plunging method.

First, boil around one liter of water on the stove. Pour the boiling water directly into the drain. If the water backs up, repeat the process. An important point to consider before using the boiling water method is whether you have PVC pipes. If you do, the boiling water could damage the structural integrity of the plumbing. By looking under the sink, you should be able to identify what type of pipe you have.

After you add the water, turn on the faucet to check that the water is draining; repeat the process 2-3 times. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to consider another solution.

Use a plumber’s snake 

A plumber’s snake is a formidable tool to remove blockages from your pipes. The tool is essentially a coiled spiral that goes down the drain, bending and shaking so that the buildup of food or debris that’s blocking your sink is loosened.

Mr. Pen- Wire Hangers

A DIY alternative to the plumber’s snake would be a metal coat hanger, but it’s always best to use the correct tool, as it was designed specifically for this problem.

The method of clearing blockages is simple. Slide the snake down the drain after you have removed the drain covering with a screwdriver. Next, move the snake down in a steady motion and run hot water down the drain to ensure the blockage is cleared.

Try some baking soda and vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar is a great way to clear a clogged-up sink. This common set of household items may help homeowners in a rush with a particularly stubborn blockage.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

The first step is to remove any water that may be backed up in the drain already. Next, pour approximately one cup of baking soda down the drain, making sure the bulk of it travels down the pipe. You could use a funnel to do this. Next, pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain opening and place a stopper or cover such as the bottom of a plate over the drain to seal the opening. Hold the cover in place with something weighted. Wait 20 minutes or so. Remove the cover before pouring hot water either from the tap or from a pot down the drain. If your pipes are not made of PVC, you can pour boiling water down to ensure the blockage gets a double clearing.

Use a chemical solution

There are a number of chemical drain-blockage clearers on the market. Typically, they follow the same protocol. Pour the recommended amount of drain cleaner down the drain. Leave it to sit for 15-30 minutes. Pour hot or boiling water down the pipe and run the tap to ensure the blockage is gone. Be advised that chemical solutions can be hazardous to the environment.

What you need to buy to unclog a sink

Drano Max Gel Clog Remover

Drano Max Gel Clog Remover

If you need a quick and simple solution to a clogged drain, this powerful gel does the trick without having to get your hands dirty. It works even through standing water in the sink to remove clogs in under 10 minutes.

Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

 

Flexisnake Drain Weasel

FlexiSnake Drain Weasel

Perfect for amateurs who want to try a snake before calling in a professional, this manual plumber’s snake has tiny hooks that help to catch, twist and remove stubborn clogs deep within your pipes.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

 

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Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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