Most effective ways to unblock a sink

16 February 2022

General

The majority of us have experienced a clogged sink drain at some point in our lives. The strange odor in the kitchen, the way the water slowly drains out over minutes, or strange gurgling noises as it drains… these are all signs of a blockage that you might be familiar with. Fortunately, clearing a clogged kitchen or bathroom sink is something that most people can do by themselves. Keep reading to discover how!

How to Unblock a Sink

These are the most common methods to unblock a sink:

  • Boiling water
  • Plunge
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Plumber’s snake
  • P-trap cleanup

Boiling Water

When your drain becomes clogged with hair, grease, soap residue, and other materials, boiling water may be all that is required to eliminate the obstruction. When trying to unclog a sink, start with this option first because it’s the simplest.

Here is how to unblock a sink with boiling water:

  1. Put boiling water into the drain opening;
  2. Turn on the faucet to examine if the water is draining smoothly;
  3. Repeat the procedure if the water is still draining slowly or standing still in the sink.

If you have plastic PVC piping then this method should only be tried once. If the second attempt with warm water fails to clear the clog, it’s time to try an alternative solution. It’s important to listen to the noises your sink makes while the warm water makes its way down. If you hear anything strange, call a plumber!

Plunge

It’s time to pull out the plunger head once you’ve determined that the disposal isn’t the issue. Keep in mind that, while a toilet plunger can suffice if that’s all you have, we recommend using one with a flat bottom.

Here is how to unblock a sink using a plunge:

  • Pour boiling water into the sink until it’s about halfway filled and the drain is sealed;
  • Position the plunger over the drain and begin pressing up and down quickly numerous times;
  • Remove the plunger after the water has completely drained;
  • Repeat the procedure until the water drains completely.

If this doesn’t work then try another solution in our list or call a plumber.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are typical household ingredients that you’re likely to already have in your kitchen.

Here is how to unblock a sink using baking soda and vinegar:

  • Using a cup or bowl, remove any water from the sink.
  • Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, and press the powder down if necessary;
  • To clean the drain, pour down one cup of white vinegar;
  • Place a stopper or a cover over the drain to close it;
  • Allow the mixture to settle for 15 minutes;
  • Remove the cap and run hot tap water down the drain;
  • Use hot water to break up more persistent clogs.

Plumber’s Snake

The strength of a plumber’s snake will be required to dislodge a clog that fights back. It’s a specific plumbing tool which is a snake-like spiral coil that stretches down into the drain. When the snake encounters an obstruction, crank the handle to remove the debris and drag it out of the drain. When it comes to unclogging drains, electric snakes are more effective.

A wire coat hanger can be used as a substitute for a plumber’s snake if you don’t have one. With a pair of needle-nose pliers, unwind the hanger into a long strand of wire. The hooked end should be kept since it will be necessary to grab the debris. Use the pliers to adjust the hook’s angle so that it fits through the drain opening easily. Pushing too hard may result in the clog being pushed further down the pipe. Hook it and draw the debris up when you feel that the tip of your tool has touched a blockage.

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P-Trap Cleanup

A clog in the P-trap, often known as the elbow-shaped pipe under your sink, could be the culprit if the water is still not draining properly. This instrumental plumbing part that blocks sewage gasses from coming into our homes, naturally builds up gunk after some time. The problem can be solved by disassembling the pipe and cleaning out the debris that has clogged it up. Make sure you have gloves, goggles, and towels on hand because this work can get a little nasty. Turn off your water main if you are planning on doing it yourself!

Here is how to unclog a sink by cleaning the P-Trap:

  • Place a bucket underneath the trap;
  • Using a plumbing wrench, gently unscrew the P-Trap;
  • Clean the part and inspect it;
  • Firmly screw the P-trap back in its place.

Check under the sink while the water is flowing to make sure there isn’t any leaking from the pipes before you celebrate your accomplishment. Double-check that the gaskets are well positioned.

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Tips to Prevent Clogged Sinks

It’s important to take precautions to avoid clogs from recurring once your bathroom or kitchen sink is draining correctly again. Placing a sink strainer is the most effective way to stop debris from getting in, but certain substances can still obstruct your sink in no time.

 

Here are examples of debris that may clog your sink:

  • Coffee
  • Grease
  • Oil
  • Gum
  • Meat
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Bread
  • Peels, pits, and stickers from fruits
  • Eggs shells

Oil or grease should never be poured down the sink unless you want to call a plumber. You should pour cooking fat into an old can and toss it out when it’s full. Homeowners are also cautioned not to overload their waste disposals. If you do have a waste disposal system, you can make ice cubes with an equal combination of vinegar and water.

Grind a few of the cubes down your disposal about once a month to scrape away any food waste buildup and keep the unit fresh. Running hot water down the drain after each sink usage is another recommended habit. Whilst clogged drains should be a fairly simple DIY project, being prepared for plumbing issues is always advisable. However, sometimes only hiring a plumber will resolve the issue at hand.

Plumbing services

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