How to Drain a Clogged Sink

You will notice all the warning signs—your sink taking it longer to drain; you will see some water pooling around your feet in the shower; or you are getting some unpleasant odors—all these things say that you are facing or already having a clogged sink. This is a nasty household problem that should be dealt with as soon as possible, or you will face the more serious problem of a burst pipe and a useless kitchen or bathroom.

Now, do not falter as there is a variety of ways to deal with the blockages and drain a clogged sink yourself before calling on that costly emergency plumbing service.

Boiling Water

Clogged sink remedies do not get any easier than this, where you can just boil up as much water your kettle can hold and then pour it down the drain. When pouring the hot water, do it slowly and do it in 2 to 3 stages, which will allow the water to work for several seconds in between each pour. Most of the time, this is the easiest and quickest solution to a clogged drain. If there is any hot water left, then you can reward yourself with a cup of tea!

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Mix about 1/3 of a cup of baking soda into a similar amount of vinegar. As the solution instantly fizzes, you should waste no time pouring it down your sink. The chemical reaction of the solution will help remove the hair, gunk and grime that have has built up in the drain pipe. Leave it to sit for about an hour or so (you can let it sit overnight if time permits), and then flush it hot water.

An alternative method to perform this step is by getting as much of dry baking soda as you can into the sink and then pouring on the vinegar next.

Salt and Baking Soda

Mix about half a cup of table salt with the same amount of baking soda and then pour the mixture down the drain. Leave it for at least 10 minutes, before pouring down boiling water. The chemical reaction produced in this method should dissolve the cause of stoppage in your sink.

Caustic Soda

As caustic soda, which is also known as sodium hydroxide, can cause burns on your skin, you should wear some rubber gloves and eye protection when performing this method. You can get this chemical from your local hardware store. Observing caution in handling it, add 3 cups of caustic soda into about 3 quarters of cold water in a mop bucket. Stir it well until you see it fizzing and heating up, and pour it into the sink to be left for at least 20 minutes. Finally, flush it down with boiling water. Repeat the process if necessary.

Baking Soda, Vinegar, Pressure and Gravity

For a clogged bath sink, you can mix some baking soda and vinegar, pour it down the drain and then place the stopper over it. After 45 minutes or 1 hour, fill the tub with water and then remove the stopper. The pressure of the huge amount of water should be sufficient to dislodge the clog that should have loosened by the baking soda-vinegar mixture. You could also try using a plunger or auger while the water is draining.

Dish Detergent

Pour in about a fourth of a cup of dish detergent to the sink and then flush it with hot water. The detergent would act as a lubricant to help break up any greasy residue in the drain pipe.

The Bent Wire Hanger

This is a simple, but surprisingly effective, solution. Get a regular wire coat hanger, straighten it out as best you can and then bend one of its ends over to create a small hook. Now, push it past the drain cover to start fishing the cause of the stoppage. You should be able to get all sorts of nasty stuff out of your sink drain with it, but remember to only pull the gunk out, and not push it further. When you have fished out as much as you can, you can finish it up by running hot water down the drain to clear things up nicely.

The Wet-and-Dry Vacuum

Do you know that this type of vacuum can be an effective tool in unclogging sinks? Set the device to vacuum liquids and cover the vent to prevent causing a mess. Create a tight seal over the drain—you can be creative by modifying an old plunger head into a seal. With the vacuum set at its highest setting, you will have a tool that offers enough power to draw the clog up the pipe and into the bag. This technique does not always work, but it is definitely worth the try.

Cleaning the Pipe

While there are many plumbing tasks that are difficult to do, this one is just easy. Follow these steps:

  • Place an empty bucket underneath the trap or the U pipe that is found beneath the sink to collect the water that would spill.
  • Loosen the slip nuts at both ends of the pipe using a plumber’s wrench.
  • After the trap is free, remove and turn it upside down to empty its contents into the bucket. You might also need to do some fishing inside it for debris and do the same with the pipes that hold it in place.
  • Rinse the trap well and replace all the components back together.
  • Run water down the drain to see if it is unclogged.

The Drain Snake or Auger

Though this is a fairly low-tech device, it can work wonders in draining a clogged sink. Basically, it is a long flexible metal rope with a spiral of metal at the end that you can snake down the drain pipe to take out the cause of the clog.

Tips to Prevent Having a Clogged Sink

There are preventive measures that you can take to keep your sink from getting clogged. One is covering the drain with food and hair catchers to keep debris from entering the pipe. You should also make it a habit to run hot water down your sink drain after each use to wash away any fresh buildup.

There you have it, the variety of ways you can get rid of the most stubborn blockages and drain a clogged sink! If none of these methods works, then maybe it is time to call on the professionals.

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