How to Unclog a Sink

Picture this: You’re about to wash your hands in the kitchen sink when all a of sudden you realize that your sink is not draining. In a panic, you shut the faucet off and pull up the drain guard. You can’t see anything blocking the drain from your vantage point, so you realize that this is going to be a real battle.

Don’t worry – we’re here to help! Read on to learn about multiple ways in which you can unclog your sink. We’ll go over methods that can be easy to accomplish and other ways that require a little more expertise in plumbing. Let’s get started!

How We Came Up With This List

Experience, of course! Perhaps some troubleshooting as well. Sink clogs can happen for several reasons, so we’ve considered all of the common reasons that cause them and have come up with a few solutions that should cover most predicaments.

Idea 1. Plunge Your Sink

If you have a plunger sitting around, it’s time to put it work and make it earn its keep! If you don’t have a plunger, here are a few options we can recommend (that are also purchasable on Amazon for your convenience):

To plunge your sink, you’ll want to create the proper conditions for the negative pressure effect to occur. Here are the steps you need to take:

  • Fill your sink with water. Most plumbers recommend you use hot water if it’s available. You should fill the sink to about halfway full at the most.
  • Place the plunger over the submerged drain. Next, you’ll take your handy plunger and place it atop your drain. If you have any additional drain as part of a double sink configuration, then you’ll need to block that drain with a cloth or with other means for this method to work properly.
  • Put the plunger into action. Push the plunger in and out in a quick motion for at least 30 seconds. Then, remove the plunger from the drain and see if the water begins to drain properly.
  • Continue plunging. If you don’t notice any water draining, then it’s time to continue plunging. Keep at it for at least 5 minutes until you’ve exhausted this option.

If you’re unable to remove the clog with your plunger, then you’ll need to explore other options.

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Idea 2. Combine Vinegar with Baking Soda to Burn Away the Clog

If you were unable to unblock the drain clog with a plunger, then you’ll need to consider this next idea. You’ll use a combination of vinegar and baking soda to completely burn away the obstruction in your drain. It’s kind of like a poor man’s “liquid plumber.” Read on to learn how you can easily unclog your drain with household products you probably already have on your shelf at home!

  • First, get a pair of rubber gloves. If you don’t have any at home, be sure to buy some at your local superstore or look at these pair online.
  • Take a bowl and bail the water out of the sink. You need to completely remove all the water and place it into a bucket nearby. This step is necessary for this process to work.
  • Take 1 cup of baking soda and push it down the drain. You can use any household implement such as a spatula to push the baking soda into the drain opening if that should be necessary.
  • After pushing baking soda into the opening, pour 1 cup of vinegar into the opening. Then, you can put a stopper into the sink to ensure that all the vinegar moves down the opening.
  • Give the solution about 5 to 10 minutes to do its magic. After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn the faucet on and run some water down the drain to see if the clog has cleared.
  • If this process fails, then you can consider putting an additional 4 or 5 cups of hot water down the drain. You can also repeat the process of pouring baking soda and vinegar down the drain.

If vinegar and baking soda had no effect on the drain clog, then it’s time to get serious about solving this problem.

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Idea 3. Make Use of a Cable Auger

If the problem still won’t resolve, then it’s time to bring out the big guns. A cable auger is like a more sophisticated drain snake (which, by the way, is another great option if your clog won’t respond to a plunger or baking soda and vinegar solution).

Here’s what you’ll need to do if you plan to unclog your drain with a cable auger:

  • Locate your sink and place a bucket underneath the pipes beneath it. You’ll want this bucket in place because water will likely drain out during his process.
  • Remove the trap – the curved pipe that works its way below the the horizontal and vertical pipes.
  • If you have a PVC pipe, you should be able to unscrew the pipe with hand power alone. If you have another material, then you may need to use a pipe wrench like this one IRWIN Tools VISE-GRIP Pipe Wrench to free it from the connection.
  • If there is excess water in the trap, dump that water into a bucket or elsewhere. Make sure that the clog is not in the trap (if it is, then you can remove the clog and reattach it to confirm that the sink drains).
  • Next, you’ll need to remove the pipe that connects the sink to the pipe embedded in the wall. This is also known as a “stub pipe.”
  • Insert the auger into the stub pipe and keep pushing until you hit the clog. Crank the handle clockwise and push forward to continue auguring into the pipe.
  • Remove the auger and attempt to drain the sink after reattaching the trap and pipe.

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Last update on 2020-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Justin Curtis
 

I am not a professional plumber, but I do feel like I am pretty handy :). I would love to hear your comments about this post or others. Thanks for reading!

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