How to Clean a Clogged Sink Drain

A clogged sink, whether in the kitchen or bathroom, is a problem that causes a lot of inconvenience. If it’s not taken cared of quickly, the dirty standing water can cause foul smells to spread and linger inside your house, molds and bacteria will grow and stick to your sink, and mosquitoes and other insects can breed in the stagnant water. You should know how to remedy a clogged sink drain by yourself and know when it is time to call a professional.

When Water is Flowing Slowly

1. Remove the remaining water. Take off and clean the drain cover. Use a flashlight and check if there are particles blocking the drainage system that are within reach. Pull these out using your hands covered in gloves.

2. Boil water in a kettle or pot. When it boils, turn off the stove. Then slowly pour the hot water into the drain. This can help dissolve any oil, grease, or gunk that has accumulated in the drainage system.

3. If boiling water doesn’t work, try other items that can dissolve particles that are causing a blockage. Some options include:

Coke or Pepsi – They are loaded with phosphoric acid, which can effectively break down buildup in your drains. They are even effective in removing lime scale. Buy a big bottle of Coke or Pepsi and let it acclimate to room temperature. After that, pour it down the drain and let the fizz work its magic as it corrodes the particles causing the clog for about an hour. Run hot water to wash off any remaining gunk, and check if the drain is already flowing properly.

Vinegar and baking soda – Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. Leave it to set in for 15 minutes, then allow hot water to run.

Salt and boiling water – Pour half a cup of salt down the drain followed by the boiling water. After 15 minutes, wash off the mixture with hot water.

Baking soda and salt – Mix ½ cup of salt and 1 cup baking soda. Pour the mixture down the drain and leave it for a few hours. Then flush it out with boiling water.

When Water is Not Flowing At All

1. If you have a second sink, make sure to seal off the second side with a stopper or a wet cloth. Leave about one to two inches of water, just enough to cover the bell of a plunger. Place the plunger directly over the drain, making sure there is enough suction. Then plunge using a lot of pressure, and once you hear the suction clearing the clog, remove the plunger and run hot water to clean the drain well.

2. If the plunger doesn’t help, then try to fish out whatever is causing the blockage deeper in the piping. Use a plumber’s snake if you have one. If not, then look for a wire hanger or any sturdy metal wire, and shape a small hook on one end. Insert it into the drain and try to reach in and pull out the clog, being careful not to scratch your sink in the process.

3. If step 1 and 2 don’t work, you may have to clean your P-trap, the curve of the drainpipe under the sink. Have a bucket or pan ready to catch water or particles that may fall out. Remove the P-trap, check if there is something stuck, clean it out, then replace it. Let water flow through it to check if there is still a blockage or leaks.

When None of These Methods Work

Obviously, it’s time to call a professional. While waiting for help to arrive, remove any remaining water from the sink. Make sure to also clear the kitchen or bathroom so the plumber can work more efficiently.

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