How to Unclog a Sink
Oh no! You’re elbow deep in greasy, soapy water, and then you notice your kitchen sink is slowly starting to clog up. Clogged sinks are the worst. Not only do they make it difficult to wash dishes or brush your teeth, but they can also start to smell pretty bad. Before the water overflows and floods your entire kitchen, learn how to unclog a sink before it’s too late!
There are many ways of unclogging a sink, but we’ll go over two of the most common methods: Using a plunger and using a chemical drain opener.
A plunger is one of the cheapest and easiest tools you can use to unclog your sink because it’s so versatile. Not only does a plunger unclog sinks, but it also helps with clogged toilets and bathtubs as well as flooded floors. You can even use a plunger in the shower if you have a clogged drain there. You may also read our article on Tips to clean bath tub & How to Caulk a Bathtub.
The way plungers work is simple: they create a vacuum that helps to break up the blockage in your sink so water can flow down freely again.
To use a plunger:
- Place it firmly over the drain and make sure it covers it entirely.
- Push the plunger up and down several times, quickly. This will cause the water to start draining so you can see if it’s working or not.
- If it is, keep on plunging until all of the water has passed through the drain.
Chemical Drain Openers
Another way to unclog your sink is to use a chemical drain opener that helps break down any blockages in your pipes. These chemicals can be a bit harsh on skin and eyes, so it’s important to wear gloves and safety goggles while working with them.
You want to pour the chemical drain opener into your clogged sink, making sure it covers the entire area of the drain where you think the clog is. Then, place a towel over the drain because you don’t want to spill any chemicals on yourself or your clothing. You can even tape the towel down to make sure it’s secure. After that, let the chemical sit in your sink for at least 30 minutes before trying to flush it down with water and see if it works.
Use boiling water
Boiling water can help loosen the drain clogs stuck in your sink. After you have poured the boiling water over the clog, try to let it sit for several minutes before pouring it down with cold water. This will cause the clog to loosen up so you can pour it down the drain easier.
If neither of these methods works or your sink is still clogged, it might be time to call a plumber. Sink clogs can be caused by more significant problems that need trained professionals to fix them.
Note: Never use boiling water if your sink is attached to PVC pipes. Boiling water can damage or melt the PVC pipes once the water is poured in.
Use Salt and Boiling Water.
Another trick for clogs is using salt and boiling water to loosen up the clogs. Salt helps clear all the grease and debris stuck in the sink. All you need to do is pour about half a cup of salt down the drain and then cover it with boiling water.
Then, let it sit for at least 20-30 minutes before flushing it all out with cold water.
Vinegar and Baking Soda…
Before trying this method:
- Make sure there is no standing water in your sink.
- Throw in a cup of baking soda down the drain and add some vinegar or apple cider vinegar to the drain.
- Put a stopper in the drain and wait for about 15-20 minutes.
- Later, pour some hot water to loosen the clog and observe how it is draining; if it’s slow, repeat the process. If it’s still slow, call a plumber to fix the problem.
Or try baking soda and salt.
This is another combination for you to try. Take about a half cup of salt and a half cup of baking soda, mix them pour it down the drain, let it sit for a while, say, 20 mins, and flush down the mixture with hot water. Repeat the mixture if it didn’t work the first time.
If the mixture is not working, you can try some hot water and baking soda, pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, add some hot water, let it sit for about 10 minutes, and try flushing it with cold water.
Check the Garbage Disposal
If the clog is caused because all the debris and gunk are stuck in your garbage disposer in the sink, you can try to use the garbage disposer. Please turn it on and let the cold water run over it for a few seconds to clean the debris from it.
It will grind up all the debris at your disposal, but make sure not to put any of these items down there; bones, grease, pasta, rice, or really hard food like peels of onion skin or apple cores.
If this doesn’t work, it will be time for you to call a plumber.
Note: Remember, never put your hand in the garbage disposer to clear out the clog.
Also See: Disposing Hazardous Waste while Moving
Try the Plumber’s Snake.
If all your efforts with the baking soda, salt, boiling water, and vinegar have failed and you’re not getting any results, it’s time to call a plumber. They might tell you that there is another problem like an obstruction or even small pieces of cloth, which they’ll have to remove for you. Plumbers will use a plumber’s snake to clear out the clog in your sink.
However, you can try to clear it up yourself. Just attach the snake to a drill and move it as if you were drilling. Push it as far as possible and then pull outwards to try removing the clog from your sink.
Use a Coat Hanger
If the plumber can’t stop by and you want to clear out the clog for some reason, you can use a wire coat hanger as a plumber’s snake. Just bend it into a straight line. Make sure there aren’t any sharp ends that could scratch the inside of your drain or shatter the glass in your basin.
After making sure, use it as a plumber’s snake and push it down to try getting the clog out of the sink. You can also twist and rotate the wire around the inner part of the pipe.
If this still doesn’t work, you can keep going down until you reach something solid. If anything is hard, push it down to see if it’s the actual clog or just an obstruction in your sink.
Be sure to take everything out before putting your hands inside the drain or ask someone to help you out.
Clean the P-trap
After everything, if the water is still not draining, as usual, there is a possibility of a blockage in the p-trap. It is an elbow-shaped pipe below the sink. This process could get messy when you need to clear out the pipe and free it from blockages.
- Remove the P-trap
- First, you’ll have to turn off the water supply running into your sink.
- Find out where your pipes are connected and disconnect them. It’s best to wear protective gear for this job if something bad happens. There could be leftover pieces of sediment causing blockages in the p-trap to protect your eyes and hands from any chemicals.
- Then open the P-trap to start removing the blockage. You can flush it with soapy water or vinegar and hot water to clear out any debris in the trap before you go ahead and remove them. When all of that is cleared, clean up the trap by rinsing everything away.
- Replace the P-trap
- If clearing out the blockage doesn’t work, it might be time to replace your current P-trap with a new one. If you need help, contact a plumber to help you finish the job.
- After everything is done and your sink is unclogged, check out our guide on how to maintain a clean sink that won’t clog up so easily.
How to Prevent Future Clogs
Finally! Your sink is in proper working condition again. You don’t want a clogged sink again now, do you? Because that was some work to do.
So, here are a few measures for you to follow to prevent your drain from clogging again:
- Avoid grease, oils, or any fats passing through your drain. If you need to throw away any leftover oil, contain it in a throwaway jar or can, and once it’s full, you can dispose of it.
- Do not dispose of any food particles or anything that could cause a blockage in the sink. Do not flush these types of waste down your drain as it would cause a build-up and eventually a clog.
- Be careful with what you put inside your garbage disposal. Never put anything that can’t be ground into smaller pieces as they will end up causing a blockage.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly, if at all. It is unnecessary to use it for food that would have been better off in a trash can or composted. So cutting up some vegetables and disposing of them would be an excellent way to save power and prevent future clogs in your sink.
- Don’t throw away paper material things, eggshells, gum, paint, veggie, or fruit peels in the sink because that would cause a drain blockage.
Clogged drains are the worst of things that can happen because, let’s face it, it’s kind of disgusting to clean out smelly gunk from the drain. So, prevent it from happening in the future, so you don’t have to do the dirty job again, and follow the tips above to keep your drain clean and fresh!
How do I unclog my sink if the blockage is in the p-trap?
If you find a blockage in the p-trap, you will have to unscrew the entire pipe and clean it out with some hot water and vinegar or baking soda or salt. However, if the pipe is damaged due to the debris and build-up, you may have to replace the p-trap with a new one.
How do I maintain a clean sink?
To maintain a clean sink, you should avoid putting food particles down the drain and dispose of them in a trash can instead. Be careful what you put inside your garbage disposal and use it sparingly, if at all. Don’t throw away any paper material things or anything that could cause a blockage in the sink.
Where can I find a plumber?
You can call your local hardware stores if you need any help with installing or replacing p-traps and plumbing components. They should recommend someone nearby who could help with this job. You can even check our blog on How to find a Handyman or Plumber.
What is the P-trap?
The p-trap is an S-shaped pipe usually found in the drain of your sink. It is there to catch debris that may fall into the drain and cause a clog. It’s used to prevent sewer gasses from coming up into the room through the drain. So it’s vital to keep this pipe clean.
How much does it cost to hire a plumber?
The average price range for a plumber’s services varies depending on location and how complicated the job is. But for a simple job like replacing a p-trap, you should expect to pay around 150$-300$. That is the price range that most plumbers charge. However, if your problem turns out to be bigger than expected, it may take more time then it would be best to ask them about their rates before committing to anything.