Is the water in your sink draining slowly or not at all? Is there a weird smell drifting up through the drain? Here are 3 ways to unclog your sink.
Before we get to the correct ways to unclog a sink, be sure to put your liquid drain cleaner away. Chemical cleaners eat away at your plumbing instead of just the clog. Over time, the hydrochloric acid in the cleaner can cause extensive damage. Sometimes, the liquid cleaner won’t work at all. This post from Angie’s List goes into more detail on why you should never use liquid drain cleaners in your home.
Now that you’ve put your cleaner away, let’s get to work!
For simple clogs close to the drain, especially in a kitchen or bathroom with two sinks, you can use a bent coat hanger to hook and dislodge the clog. This is a common clog where garbage disposals are.
Push the bent coat hanger down the drain and twist so that it hooks on the baffle. Move it up and down. Run water to see if the clog was removed.
You could also try to plunge the sink. Be sure to cover the overflow opening of the basin or block the second sink’s drain before doing so. Fill the sink with some water and pump the handle a few times. Repeat as necessary.
If neither of these steps work, you’ll need to try the next step.
Disconnecting the trap beneath the sink is another way to unclog your drain. The trap is the U or P-shaped pipe that can be found underneath the sink. Before starting any work, be sure to put a bowl or bucket under the trap to catch any water in the pipe.
First, loosen the fittings that attach the trap to the drain pipe. Depending on the material, you may need pliers or a wrench. Pour the water into the bucket and wipe out the inside of the trap. If there was nothing clogging the trap, do not replace it. Otherwise, replace the trap and you should be good to go.
If the above steps don’t work for your kitchen sink, you can run a snake or hand auger through the pipe. If you haven’t replaced the trap, feed the cable into the pipe in the wall. Otherwise, you can use a snake from the drain, including one with a basket strainer. Using a drain snake this way does require some modifications to the end of the cable, which are described in this post by Family Handyman.
Pull out a few feet of cable and feed it down the drain. You can then lock it in place by tightening the thumbscrew. Turn the hand crank, stop,and repeat until you feel something in the pipe. Crank the cable back and forth until it breaks up the clog. Then reassemble the trap if you haven’t done so.
It may be a good idea to flush out the pipe after removing the clog. Use baking soda and boiling water to clean the pipe. Once it stops fizzing, turn on the hot water for a minute or so.
If all of the above fails to work, and you still find yourself with a stubborn clog, you may need to get a professional plumber to your home.