How to unblock a clogged sink

Mar-2020 / 3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

There’s nothing more frustrating than having clogged toilets and blocked sinks. You’ll have dirty water floating about, a boatload of unwashed dishes lined up, and if you’re really unlucky, an unpleasant smell wafting about your kitchen that even white vinegar couldn’t mask. It is also important to note that sink unblocking should be done as soon as possible as these may cause further damage to your drainage system as a whole. Furthermore, damaged drainage systems may cause leaks into the walls and flooring of your home, possibly damaging the structural integrity of your property. 

Chances are, you will want to get this all over with immediately. Sadly, it’s not as easy as snapping your fingers and calling out, “unblock sink!” for this to happen. Now, you’re probably thinking, “I should just call a plumber.” However, before you do that and risk making an unnecessary expense, try and see if the problem is simple enough for you to work on and solve on your own. 

Calling a professional for the slightest of troubles can cost you hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds. Going DIY on some plumbing projects can be beneficial to your wallet. 

Here’s a list of techniques and cleaning hack that you can use not to get your sink up and running, but also to avoid spending thousands of pounds on something that could have been totally unavoidable:

Use A Drain Plunger

A drain plunger can be quite tricky if not done right, but if done properly, this technique is probably the quickest and easiest way to get rid of those blockages. Just make sure to clear the plughole of any debris, and keep the area between the plughole and the mouth of the plunger airtight. Gently pump the plunger until the blockage is dislodged. 

Pour Some Hot Water

Remove as much standing water from the blocked sinks as you can before pouring the boiling hot water onto the sink’s drain. The clog should start moving pretty quickly. You will notice this when the boiling water starts flowing down the drain. If the boiling water stands, let it cool, remove from the sink, and then try again. Usually, blocked sinks are caused by grease and fat poured down the drain which solidifies when cooled down. 

Get Experimental With Some Baking Soda and Vinegar 

If you think the clog isn’t so bad, try pouring some vinegar into your drain followed by some baking soda. The combination of these two items should cause a chemical reaction or fizzing that can help move the blockages out of the way. 

Baking Soda and Vinegar is a great drain unblocker. Drain cleaners and industrial-strength limescale remover can be too harsh on your pipes. It may cause a bit of damage that can even worsen the problem. It’s best to use a mild cleaning product that will do the job but won’t affect the integrity of your pipes.

Clean Out Your P-Trap

The P-trap is part of the drain line found under your sink. Because of its naturally bent shape, it usually houses a lot of debris. You will simply have to disassemble this drain line, with a basin big enough to catch the drain water ready, and scoop out all foreign objects out of the P-trap. Once satisfied, you may replace the drain line and check if the water is flowing freely into the pipes.

For a comprehensive demonstration on how to clean out your P-Trap, refer to this video by HowToWith GEO, a YouTube channel dedicated to making how-to videos for viewers needing assistance in completing their projects.

Use a plumber’s snake

This cleaning hack will need some expertise and precision that people who have unblocked the sink before can do easily. The plumber’s snake will require you to disassemble your drain pipe further. Here, you will have to remove the trap arm in order to reach deeper into the drain line which runs through the wall. This is where you will insert the snake, guiding it inwards until you feel resistance to break the clog. After pulling out the debris, you may reassemble the drain pipes and run some water to check if the gunk has been completely cleared. Repeat the process until water starts flowing into the drain hole freely. 

Wire Hanger

Straightened out wire hangers work quite similarly to a plumber’s snake. However, this will have a limited range compared to the aforementioned tool, as it is only a DIY alternative. Nevertheless, this will work for superficial clogs and minor blockages. 

  • To avoid sink blockages and drainage system damages, the Hull City Council advises its residents to do the following:
  • Do not get rid of food waste (even just a bit of food can accumulate to a major problem), cool fat or oils, and other solid matter through the drainage system. 
  • Likewise, do not put paper products such as nappies, female toiletries, and the like into the drainage system
  • Add degreasing agents like vinegar, lemon juice, cornstarch, borax, baking soda, and castile soap into drains to prevent clogging or build up in the drainage system

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