4 Methods to Clearing a Clogged Sink

pouring baking soda in a drain

If you're frequently faced with a clogged sink, you should know the most effective ways to clear stubborn sink clogs. It may interest you to learn that there are several easy, highly effective methods of unclogging your sink. Try a few of the methods below.

1. Using a Sink Plunger

A sink plunger can often prove to be an invaluable tool in clearing clogged sinks. This helpful tool works in much the same fashion as a traditional plunger and is very easy to use. To use sink plunger for unclogging purposes, simply fill the clogged sink with a small amount of warm water, and firmly position the sink plunger over the base of the drain. Proceed to give the drain a thorough plunging using powerful down-and-up motions. Continue in this fashion until the sink once again drains normally.

As plunging certain clogs can be a physically taxing procedure, it is important to take periodic breaks when dealing with clogs that require an extensive amount of plunging.

If your drain cleaner does not work, you should attempt to use a plunger to remove the clog from your drain. While a plunger is hardly a replacement for a harsher solution, it has the advantage of requiring no dangerous chemicals.

If you are using your plunger on your sink or bathtub, fill it up partly with water. This puts pressure on the clog and will make it obvious if and when it breaks. Once you have done this, you can begin. Place your plunger over the drain, pressing down to seal off the business end against it, and push down firmly. Repeat this process. Occasionally check to see if the clog is broken by lifting the plunger and allowing water to drain out, if it is able to.

Plungers, unfortunately, will leave pieces behind of whatever is clogging your drain, potentially allowing other sticky materials to build up in the same place again. If you have repeated problems with your drain and cannot solve them with a plunger, you will need to try another method.

2. Running Hot Water

Hot water is a fantastic tool for clearing up lighter clogs. To expel a clog with hot water, remove any drain guards or drain traps, and proceed to run a steady supply of very hot water into your drain. If this method fails to produce results after 10 minutes, you are most likely dealing with a heavy duty clog.

Additionally, as a preventative measure, it is recommended that you allow very hot water to flow into your drain for several consecutive minutes every week. This will help clear up assorted grime, grease and hair before these substances are able to form a clog.

3. Using a Drain Snake

A drain snake is a very useful tool for unclogging sink and bathtub drains. To use this tool, carefully insert the hooked end into your clogged drain and slowly move it downward until the hook has latched onto the source of the clog. Next, gently shake the clog loose and slowly retract the drain snake with the clog's source in tow.

A drain snake is the most powerful way to unclog a drain, and on top of this, it requires no chemicals whatsoever.

You can unclog your drain with a drain snake by placing the unclogging end in your drain and holding the handle carefully. Turn the drain snake's crank to extend the drain snake down your pipe. Continue to extend the drain snake until the crank becomes the slightest bit hard to turn, and then stop immediately. If this happens, you have probably struck the clog. Turn the crank in reverse until the snake is fully separated from your drain, and then remove it completely. You should see pieces of the clog on the end. Clean them off, and then repeat the whole process. You will know that you are finished when water can go down your drain.

4. Using an Unclogging Solution

If all else fails, you may want to try using a commercial unclogging solution, such as Drano or Liquid Plumber, to clear up your clogged sink. When pouring these products down your drain, make a point of only using a little bit at a time, as they contain potent chemicals that can eat away at your pipes if administered in large amounts. Once your unclogging solution has been applied, allow it to sit for 15 to 30 minutes so it has plenty of time to dissolve the source of the clog.

After your clog has been successfully cleared, it is recommended that you give the sink a thorough cleaning to remove any lingering traces of the product. Also, it is very important that you never mix two kinds of unclogging solutions, as certain chemicals found in these products can produce hazardous fumes and chemical reactions when combined.

Keeping Sink Drains Unclogged Naturally

Before you get out the big guns of chemicals and tools you will want to spend some time with natural cleaning products. You will be amazed at what some of the things around the house will do for your clogged sinks. It doesn't matter if you have hair, food, or a piece of a toy that fell into the drain, some natural products will help you remove them for clean flowing drains.

Even if you don't cook with vinegar, it is a good thing to have it around in your pantry. Vinegar can easily get rid of a lot of different clogs, and is a great cleaner for tiles, rugs, and other wall or floor coverings. Having both distilled vinegar and white vinegar on hand will get you through a lot of clogged sinks.

You can make your own drain cleaner out of household items. These items are non-toxic, so you don't have to worry about storing or using them.

First, pour 3/4 cup of baking soda down your drain. Next, add 1/2 cup of vinegar. The measurements don't need to be exact. Mixing these two components together will get a little messy so you might want to wear gloves, and even googles as a precaution, and possibly even a coverall or apron if you're worried about your clothes. While vinegar and baking soda aren't toxic, any splashing can potentially irritate your eyes or exposed skin. When the baking soda hits the white vinegar it will start to foam. So don't pour too much in all at once.

Wait 30 minutes for the baking soda and vinegar to do their work, then pour hot water down your drain. This should wash away whatever's left of your drain clog. If the drain doesn't clear, you can repeat the process a few times, or reach for one of the more physical options, like a plunger or a snake.