How to Unclog a Sink Drain
Whether it’s the bathroom or kitchen, the sink is a hotspot for our daily chores. You need it to wash your hands, prepare meals, or clean dishes. So when the sink clogs, it can be a hassle.
The key is to change your cleanup habits around the sink so that you can maintain a well-functioning plumbing system. Many of us abuse our drains and use them as garbage disposal.
Fortunately, you’ve found our blog post and want to learn how to fix the problem. We’ll cover why your sink clogs, how to unclog your drain, and ways to avoid it moving forward.
Why Is My Sink Clogged?
A wide array of 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. Remember that the longer you soak lentils, potatoes, pasta, rice, and other carbohydrates, the larger they become. The combination of foods and other greases can lead to a messy blockage.
Bathroom sinks are a different story. The primary culprits of bathroom sinks are dead skin, shaving cream, soap, dirt, hair, and personal hygiene products that can form the obstruction. Even if you have a drain cover, the small and fine hairs can easily slip through, causing the blockage.
The key is to develop a good habit of scraping the oils, grease, and food off the plate or pan before throwing it into the kitchen. But if your sink is already clogged, we’ll show you how to unclog it.
How Do You Unclog a Drain That Won’t Go Down?
Unclogging a sink can be a complex process that may require trial and error. Sometimes one method may be more effective than others. We recommend trying a few of these procedures to see if the problem resolves itself. If not, contact a professional plumbing service to eradicate the issue.
Boiling Water + Vinegar + Baking Soda
Boiling water is highly effective at dissolving substances such as grease, grime, and gunk from your drain. Combined with vinegar and baking soda, you’ve got yourself a natural cleaner.
First, boil water in a kettle pot. Next, pour the boiling water down the drain to help dislodge the clog and heat the pipes. Then add a cup of vinegar and baking soda to the sink. Plug the sink drain for ten minutes and pour more boiling water into the sink again.
The reaction produced by the vinegar and baking soda should loosen the clog causing the boiling water to flush.
Using a Plunger
Run hot water for several minutes and allow the clog to soften. Add a bit of dish soap down the drain. Place a plunger over the drain to generate powerful suction. The suction should release the grease and food down the drain to come out.
Reset Garbage Disposal
There’s a great chance that your garbage disposal could contribute to your clogged sink. Turn the garbage disposal switch on and listen for unpleasant sounds. Your kitchen should have a switch next to the on-button that resets the device.
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.
A difficult clog may require a plumber’s snake to loosen and dislodge the blockage. This snake is thin and coiled that can reach down into the drain. Once the drain snake reaches the obstruction, you can crank and turn the handle to loosen the gunk and pull it out.
Some snakes are electric-powered, which pack a bigger punch to tackle clogged obstructions. You can also make a makeshift snake by using a wire coat hanger. 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 from the drain. Once you can run hot run down the drain, you’ve succeeded.
How to Prevent Future Clogs
Standing water in your sink can look and smell disgusting. It’s an inconvenience that can cause the entire house to smell and make your daily chores extremely difficult. Kitchen sinks are also a common place where many germs hide, which can lead to illnesses.
It’s vital to be conscious of what you pour down the drain and perform a cleanup routine to prevent future clogs from occurring.
Avoid Dumping Foods and Oils Down the Sink Drain
The most effective way to prevent clogs in your sink is always to be mindful of what you are putting into the drain. Avoid dumping food, cooking oils, grease, and other debris into the kitchen sink.
That will drastically reduce your odds of a clogged drain. 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
You can add kitchen sink strainers to catch food and debris, which prevents it from entering the drain. They’re perfect for catching food particles when rinsing your dirty dishes or washing food items before cooking. Strainers allow water to flow down the drain without getting particles and debris stuck.
Make sure to empty the strainer and throw the excess food in the trash. Different options like silicone or steel mesh strainers can get the job done.
Store Cooking Oils and Grease for Later Disposal
Try storing cooking oils and grease in containers so that you can throw them into the garbage later.
For example, don’t pour the grease down your sink drain once you’ve finished cooking your meats. Instead, discard it into a container to discard later to avoid the problem of grease and vegetable oils accumulating over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions we received on clogged drains.
Can Vinegar Alone Unclog a Sink?
No, using vinegar alone won’t magically unclog your sink. It’s the combination of vinegar and boiling water that helps to dissolve the grease and gunk that is sticking in the drain pipe.
Once the gunk has dissolved, the clog slides down, and you’ll no longer have a clogged sink!
Should I Use a Chemical Drain Cleaner?
Store-bought drain cleaners use chemicals to generate heat and gas, clearing the blockage in your drain. However, the chemicals used are very harsh, such as bleach, peroxide, caustic potash, and lye.
If these chemicals are inhaled, ingested, or come in contact with your skin, it may lead to a severe reaction. For example, bleach toxicity can irritate the eyes, mouth, skin, and respiratory system.
These harsh chemicals have corrosive qualities that can damage the enamel finishes within your kitchen or bathroom. Once the enamel is damaged, you can’t repair it. Also, there will likely be small traces of chemicals on the ground or nearby water sources, which poses a risk to the environment.
As a result, we recommend avoiding chemical drain cleaners altogether and going for less risky alternatives like boiling water, vinegar, or a plunger. If those options fail, hire a professional.
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.