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How to Unclog a Sink Drain

How to Unclog a Sink Drain

The sink is crucial to our daily chores, whether in the bathroom or kitchen. We use it to wash our hands, prepare meals, and clean dishes. If it gets clogged, it can be quite a hassle. Changing your cleaning habits around the sink is essential to keep your plumbing system working well. Many of us use our drains as garbage disposals, which can cause clogging.

Luckily, you’ve found our blog post and want to learn how to solve this problem. We’ll explain why your sink gets clogged, how to unclog it, and ways to prevent it from happening again.

Why Is My Sink Clogged?

Many factors can lead to the obstruction of a clogged kitchen or bathroom sink. Grease, cooking oil, animal fat, and food particles are the primary culprits of a clogged sink.

Many foods like corn and rice will expand with moisture, making it easy for drain obstructions to form. The combination of foods and other greases can lead to a messy blockage.

Bathroom sinks are a different story. The primary culprits are dead skin, shaving cream, soap, dirt, hair, and personal hygiene products that can form an obstruction. Even if you have a drain cover, small and fine hairs can easily slip through, causing a blockage.

The key is to develop the habit of scraping the oils, grease, and food off the plate or pan before throwing it into the kitchen sink. But if your sink is clogged, we’ll show you how to unclog it.

Read more: How to unclog a bathtub drain with standing water.

How Do You Unclog a Sink Drain?

To unclog a sink, try a few procedures. If it doesn’t work, contact a professional plumbing service.

Boiling Water + Vinegar + Baking Soda

This natural cleaner combines boiling water, vinegar, and baking soda to dissolve grease and grime in your drain.

  1. Boil Water: Start by boiling water in a kettle.
  2. Pour Boiling Water: Pour this boiling water down the drain. This helps loosen the clog and heats the pipes.
  3. Add Vinegar and Baking Soda: Next, add a cup of vinegar and baking soda into the sink.
  4. Plug the Drain: Plug the sink drain and leave it for ten minutes.
  5. Flush with Boiling Water: Finally, pour more boiling water into the sink. The reaction between the vinegar and baking soda, followed by the boiling water, should help to loosen and flush the clog.

A kitchen sink with an unclog spatula in it.

Using a Plunger

A plunger can effectively clear grease and food clogs in your drain. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Run Hot Water: Let hot water run down the drain for several minutes. This helps soften the clog.
  2. Add Dish Soap: Pour a small amount of dish soap into the drain. This aids in breaking down grease.
  3. Use the Plunger: Place the plunger over the drain to create a strong suction. The pressure the plunger generates should help release and push the grease and food particles through the drain.

Reset Garbage Disposal

There’s a great chance your garbage disposal could contribute to your clogged sink. Turn the garbage disposal switch on and listen for unpleasant sounds.  If the disposal has been overheating, there’s a good chance that it hasn’t been working. As a result, it caused a backup in the drain. Resetting the disposal back to its factory settings will help the garbage disposal to run smoothly again.

Drain Snake

A difficult clog may require a plumber’s snake to loosen and dislodge the blockage. This snake is thin and coiled and can reach down into the drain. Once the drain snake reaches the obstruction, crank and turn the handle to loosen the gunk and pull it out.

Some snakes are electric-powered, which gives them a greater ability to tackle clogged obstructions. You can also make a makeshift snake using a wire coat hanger. First, you’ll need to unwind the hanger into a long wire.

Avoid pushing the sink clog further down the drain. Instead, hook it onto the wire and pull it out. The clog has cleared once you can run hot water down the drain.

How to Prevent Future Clogs

Nobody likes standing water in their sink. Not only does it look and smell terrible, but it can also create a foul odor throughout the house and make daily chores more complicated. Kitchen sinks, in particular, harbor a lot of germs that can cause illnesses. To avoid future clogs, it’s important to be mindful of what you pour down the drain and to establish a regular cleaning routine.
A man unclogging a kitchen sink by pouring water down the sink drain.

Read more: How to unclog a kitchen sink.

Avoid Dumping Foods and Oils Down the Sink Drain

The most effective way to prevent clogs in your sink is to be mindful of what you put into the drain. Avoid dumping food, cooking oils, grease, and other debris into the kitchen sink.

It’s best to dump your food in the trash and scrape the oils off before you clean your dishes. Ideally, you have a food catcher to prevent potential foods from slipping into the drain.

Regularly Clean Pipes and Garbage Disposal

Another way to prevent sink clogs is to perform routine pipe cleaning. The baking soda and vinegar mixture is a great solution when you let it sit overnight. Bubbles will form, dissolving the substances glued onto your pipes. Not to mention, baking soda helps absorb odor, eliminating the nasty smell of clogged sinks.

Install a Kitchen Sink Strainer

One way to prevent food and debris from entering the drain is by using kitchen sink strainers. They are especially handy for catching food particles while washing dishes or cleaning food before cooking. Strainers allow water to flow freely down the drain without clogging it. Once you’re done, simply empty the strainer and dispose of the excess food in the trash. You can choose from a variety of strainer options, such as silicone or steel mesh, to find the one that works best for you.

Store Cooking Oils and Grease for Later Disposal

It’s a good idea to store your cooking oils and grease in containers so you can dispose of them properly. Avoid pouring grease down your sink drain after cooking meats. Instead, put it in a container and discard it later. This will prevent the accumulation of grease and vegetable oils over time and keep your pipes clear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Vinegar Alone Unclog a Sink?

Using vinegar alone is not enough to unclog your sink. You need to combine vinegar with boiling water to dissolve the grease and gunk that has built up in the drain pipe. The clog will slide down once the gunk has dissolved, and your sink will no longer be clogged.

Should I Use a Chemical Drain Cleaner?

When your drain gets clogged, you might be tempted to use a store-bought drain cleaner to fix it. But these cleaners contain harsh chemicals like bleach, peroxide, caustic potash, and lye, which can cause serious harm if inhaled, ingested, or if they come into contact with your skin.

For example, bleach can irritate your respiratory system, skin, eyes, and mouth. These chemicals can also damage the enamel finishes on your bathroom or kitchen surfaces. Unfortunately, once enamel is damaged, it cannot be repaired.

Moreover, the harsh chemicals in these cleaners can also harm the environment. Even if used in small amounts, traces of these chemicals can contaminate the ground and water sources nearby. Therefore, it’s best to avoid chemical drain cleaners altogether.

Instead, consider using less risky alternatives like boiling water, vinegar, or a plunger to clear your drain. If none of these options work, hiring a professional is best.

A person wearing gloves and a cap uses a handheld thermal imaging device to inspect a plumbing system under a sink, possibly preparing for mold remediation. Cleaning supplies are stored in the cabinet.

Sink Clogged? Contact Us!

If you’ve tried the DIY methods above and your sink is still clogged, it’s time to call a professional.

All Dry USA specializes in leak detection, water damage repair, and more. If a clogged sink has snowballed into other problems, call us. We’ll make sure your home is clog-free and leak-free in no time.


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