A clogged sink can result in bad odors and too much inconvenience. Thus, knowing how to unclog a sink on your own is very important.
A clogged drain can be a major disturbance to your everyday living. It can start as a minor issue but can instantly escalate into a major problem. A blocked drain causes poor water drainage, flooding, or corrosion.
In other cases, this issue leads to costly repairs and sewage backup. Preventing it begins with knowing the causes of a blocked drain.
How to Unclog a Sink? The Solution Depends on the Cause
Unclogging the sink depends on its cause. As you can see, such an issue can be a result of different factors. Fortunately, each cause has a matching good solution.
There are many things that can cause a clogged drain. This problem can take place anytime. Thus, you should know how to unclog a sink drain to prevent the problem from worsening.
While seeking professional help is the safest way to deal with a clogged drain, learning how to fix it on your own will save you money.
Causes of a Clogged Drain
It’s hair, which is one of the main causes of a clogged drain. Experts say it is the biggest culprit for drain clogging because it binds with sticky substances like grease. Prevention is the greatest way to manage hair blockage.
This means you should prevent the fallen hair strains from getting into the sink that can result in clogging in the end. Keep your drains equipped with protective covers or guards that can collect hair strands and remove the collected dirt regularly.
Soap can also lead to clogging of the drain. That’s because an ordinary soap bar is a product of a combination of ingredients including fat or grease. The fat in a soap bar mixes with the minerals present in the water, leaving a hard deposit called soap scum.
It stains clog pipes and bath fittings. To prevent soap from causing sink blockage, change to soap-free washes and pressure clean the pipes to eliminate dashes of soap buildup.
- Dirt from your body and clothes can accumulate and cause clogging in the long run. Your drain can wash away anything.
However, while you’re trying to clean the excess dirt off your clothes and your body when taking a bath, it can still accumulate and cause clogging in the drain. To prevent this, wash your clothes and your body outside before you take a bath or do the laundry inside.
- Flushing food waste through the drain even when you have a garbage disposal in the sink can cause clogging in the drain. Why not set up the composting pile to prevent food waste? It is important especially for wastes like coffee grounds and tea leaves that do not break down.
Besides, grease and oil can also cause the same issue because they solidify within the pipes, causing a blockage. Use a paper towel that can absorb oil and throw this in a compost.
- Dissolved minerals in hard water can also accumulate (we covered this issue in how to remove brown stains from your toilet bowl) and result in insoluble masses which will easily block the drain. The best solution is to install a water softener if you’re dealing with hard water.
If this is not the best option for your case, you may frequently descale and eliminate sediment or buildup. Mineral buildup clogs are hard to eradicate once established. In such a case, it is better to entrust the job to professionals.
Small objects can also cause harm to your drain. They can get into your plumbing system and cause havoc. Nothing else but toilet paper, water, and human waste can go down your drain, toilet, and sink.
Any other objects should go into the trash bin or compost pit. When something has entered your pipes and is causing a problem, seek help from pros.
Excess toilet paper can also cause clogging in the drain. If the water can run through the toilet when you flush it once, use the plunger to dissolve the remaining toilet paper. If the toilet is no longer flushing, leave it to a trusted plumber.
The smallest leaks and cracks in the underground pipes allow tree roots to grow. Once they get into the pipes, the roots will grow bigger faster, obstruct water flow and cause pipe damage.
Clearing tree roots from the pipes are not easy because it requires rooter service, trenchless repair, pressure jet cleaning, and even excavation. Inspect the roots of your plants and trees. Likewise, monitor your drain regularly to prevent extensive repairs.
How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink?
A slow draining sink is a headache. The best way to resolve it depends on the problem itself. Perhaps, the best solution for unclogging a bathroom sink is different from how to unclog a double kitchen sink.
Boiling water alone can get the job done. It effectively removes clogging in the sink which can be a mix of grime, soap scum, and hair. Once cleared, boiling water will restore your drain’s normal flow.
What you should do is pour some water every few seconds. This will help in softening and flushing the hardened substance.
However, boiling water is not the only solution for unclogging a sink with standing water. There are some things in your house that can help you with this.
How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with Standing Water
If there’s stagnant water in your sink, try eliminating it until you can almost see the drain.
Put the plunger’s head through the drain’s mouth and pump it up and down faster several times.
If it didn’t dislodge the blockage, the substance might be within the P-trap. Do not forget to plunge the sides of your sink.
How to Unclog a Sink with Baking Soda
Baking soda is an effective remedy for a clogged drain. All you need to do is to use it together with boiling water and vinegar. The combination of those three will remove greasy liquids that can clog your pipes.
Greasy liquids can accumulate within the pipes and become solid in the long run. This coating may get thicker when left unremoved. Get rid of it by following these tips:
Boil a pot of water and pour a ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of white vinegar on your drain.
Allow it to fizz and bubble.
Leave the mixture on for 5 to 10 minutes.
When the boiling water is ready, carefully pour it to the drain, turn on your faucet and observe how the water flows through the drain. Boiling water will melt the hardened grease with the help of baking soda and vinegar.
Different sinks can experience different clogs. For instance, a shower drain tends to accumulate hair. However, a kitchen drain tends to deal with clogging issues associated with food particles and grease.
Big food particles such as veggie peels can also get into your curved pipe underneath your sink. This curved pipe is the P-trap. Flushing big food particles can also lead to blockage.
To fix the issue, you should have channel-type pliers. Choose handy pliers because the water will leak from the drain once you remove the P-trap.Remove any existing dirt or debris and wash the pipe carefully before replacing the old P-trap.
You can also use a drain snake in unclogging a sink. If the problem has no connection with the P-trap, the blockage can be somewhere else. The clog may exist further down your pipes.
In such a case, try removing the clog by using a drain snake. If you don’t have a drain snake, it is best to contact a plumber instead.
Also, keep your pipes clean and dirt-free by using enzymes. Natural enzymes digest organic matter. They reduce the volume of organic waste accumulating in a septic tank.
Enzymes are widely available for various plumbing needs and when properly maintained, enzymes will keep your pipes clear and free from buildup if used regularly.
However, enzymes are not good at eliminating the existing clog right away. Regular use will help in keeping the pipes free from organic buildup, thus preventing clogs. Natural enzymes are also milder than the chemical drain cleaners.
How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink?
A clogged drain occurs not only in the kitchen. The same issue can also a big disturbance for someone who uses the bathroom. Knowing how to unclog a bathroom sink with chemicals can be a good idea.
However, if you’re allergic to chemicals or worried about your safety when using them, try solving the problem using a wire hanger. Follow these steps:
Get a wire hanger and bend it. This is a simple but good technique to unclog a bathroom sink.
Use the tiny hook of your wire hanger to remove the blockage – it can be dirt, hair strands, or any other nasty material.
Once cleared, pour a pot of hot water to remove the residue. Problem solved!
You can also use baking soda in unclogging a bathroom sink. Here, you still need vinegar and boiling water.
How to get started? Just follow the same steps for using baking soda for your kitchen sink. Check the steps given above.
Vacuuming may also help. A dry and wet vacuum is now a basic necessity not only for homes but even for offices, too. You can use it in removing the stubborn clog in your sink.
Here are the steps:
- Set the device first to liquid and cover the vent.
- Cover the drain tightly to let the vacuum exert a strong suctioning action.
- You can use a used plunger head.
- Turn your vacuum to its peak setting so that it can effectively eliminate the nasty dirt that causes clogging in the drain.
Other Useful Ways to Unclog a Clogged Drain
Sodium hydroxide or caustic soda is also a good solution for a clogged drain. However, you should be careful when doing so because sodium hydroxide can burn and damage your skin. Follow these steps:
- Wear rubber gloves and put on protective goggles for your eyes.
- Instead of warm water, use cold water mixed with sodium hydroxide. Mixing caustic soda with water will form a fizz and generate heat.
- Pour the mixture in your drain and leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
- When finished, flush the drain with boiling water.
- Repeat the steps until the drain regains its normal flow.
If caustic soda is unavailable, consider pipe cleaning. It involves removing the sink trap underneath. Here are the steps:
- Put the empty bucket and collect the standing water within the pipes.
- Slacken the slip nuts on the pipe ends to shake out the sink trap. You must do it for a while to remove stubborn gunk.
- Also, make sure you wash the trap before you reinstall it. Test it as well for leaks to ensure you’ve reinstalled the sink trap properly.
All of these tricks provided above can help you solve the problem regardless of the cause. They are more effective especially if you try fixing the issue as soon as you notice it.
These tricks can do wonders. They also save you money as you don’t need an expensive tool or material in the job. Vinegar, baking soda, and boiling water are common things present in homes.
However, professional help becomes a necessity when the problem is still there, or your action worsened the issue. You must be extra careful when trying to unclog a sink on your own as causing additional damages can be seriously expensive. Fortunately, there are lots of professionals out there whether you can wait a few days for them fix the clogged drain or if the issue is really bad and you need emergency plumbing.
Truly, it is not impossible to get it done even if you are not an expert in plumbing.
If all things failed to help you, however, calling a certified plumber is always the safest and most certain way to get rid of a clogged sink drain.
Seek help only from a trusted plumbing contractor or company in your area. Searching for one should not be a problem. The internet will give you plenty of options that can be too overwhelming.
Don’t settle for the first one you’ll see online. Instead, read some reviews and get some suggestions from your friends, relatives, or neighbors.