How to Unclog a Sink Drain – 10 Proven Methods

A clogged sink, be it kitchen or bathroom, is extremely annoying. Before you contact a plumber to solve the issue, you can try some safe and proven techniques to tackle the problem and unclog a sink drain.  

How to Unclog a Sink Drain Using Natural Substances?

For small and moderate drain clogs, you can try natural substances that are available in every kitchen.

1. Boiling water

You need to boil a full kettle of water and pour the water into the opening in 3-4 steps. The technique is efficient for smaller clogs.

2. Salt and baking soda

  • Mix ½ cup of table salt with ½ cup of baking soda.
  • Then pour the dry mixture into the opening and leave it for 10-15 min.
  • Next, pour boiling water down the sink drain (from 1L to 4L).
  • Cover the drain right away to facilitate the reaction inside the pipe.

This variant works for minor to moderate obstruction.

3. Vinegar and baking soda

  • Spoon ½ cup (around 125 ml) of baking soda into the drain.
  • Add ½ cup of 5-9% vinegar.
  • Cover the opening.
  • Once the fizzing sound of the reaction disappears, add another 125 ml of vinegar.
  • Plug up the drain, and keep it covered for 15-20 min.
  • Prepare 4L of boiling water and pour it into the plumbing to rinse the remains.
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How to Unclog a Sink Drain Chemically? 

Chemical solutions for unclogging sinks require special attention, as they differ in contents and aren’t suitable for all piping. However, they can dissolve even stubborn blockages and clear clogged drains.

1. Drain cleaner

They are easily available at most stores at affordable prices. Before purchasing a specific brand, read thoroughly the instructions and see if it is suitable for the sink plumbing. Some drain cleaners aren’t recommended for plastic pipes, while others aren’t applicable for cast iron pipes, as they can further the corrosion.

  • Acid cleaner. Based on the reaction of the hydrogen ions with the substance obstructing the drain, acid cleaners are quite strong.
  • Caustic cleaner. The active ingredients of this type of cleaner are hydroxide ions that can be effective against small to moderate clogs.
  • Enzyme cleaner. Not as powerful as acid cleaners, enzyme-based cleaners contain bacterial enzymes that consume organic debris that block the drain.

Note: Avoid using chemical cleaners in case you’ve tried bleach and other chemical substances to unclog the drain, and vice versa. Combinations of various chemical substances can discharge hazardous gasses.

2. Bleach

Try pouring 250ml of bleach down the drain. 5-10 min later, let water rinse the plumbing unit for 5-10 min. If the clog is persistent and the sink begins to fill, close the faucet and wait till the water drains.

3. Caustic soda

In fact, caustic soda is an essential component of some drain cleaners.

Hence, you can make a DIY cleaner at home: 3 cups of caustic soda should be mixed with ¾ gallon of water. Wait till caustic soda is diluted and mix it well. Pour this mixture into the clogged drain. Leave it for 20-30 minutes. Next, rinse the drain and piping with boiling water (around 1 gallon).

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What Household Tools Can Help to Unclog a Sink Drain?

1. Sink plunger. Hold a plunger over the opening, keeping it straight. Fill a clogged sink with water (3-4” is enough) press the plunger down and lift it up (keeping the opening sealed) for half a minute vigorously. Then just pop it off to let the water run down the piping. For severe blockage, you will have to repeat the procedure several times and plunge for several minutes.

Note: Do not plunge a sink after using a drain cleaner, as chemicals can splash onto your skin.  

2. Bent wire and snake. Take a clothes hanger and try to straighten it as much as possible. Use one end of the wire to make a small hook and slide it into the drain, keeping the wire closer to the side (centered it can push the clog deeper down). Once you cannot push the wire down, turn the wire, trying to hook the clog. Pull the wire up. Let hot tap water run for 5 minutes. If this doesn’t help, repeat the procedure, keeping the wire closer to another side. “Snake”, a special flexible wire, is used similarly.

3. Dry/wet vacuum. Sometimes clogs can be removed using a wet/dry vacuum cleaner. With a vac hose attached to the blowing end, place the nozzle on the drain and turn on the vacuum. Let the vac work for 5-10 sec and check if the drain is still blocked.  

4. P-trap cleaning. Sometimes large clogs can be removed by cleaning a P-trap under the sink. Prepare a bucket and place it under the sink. Unscrew the P-trap and let debris slip into the bucket. You can use a small brush to clean the trap inside, then rinse it with water and reattach it back.

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If the problem persists, call in a local plumber to clear the clogged drain. At Re-Store Services, we offer a full array of plumbing and restoration services, including drain opening. Our emergency services are available 24/7. Just call us, and a qualified technician will arrive at your home in the shortest possible time to tackle the problem and provide recommendations on how to prevent drain clogging in the future.  

You can also read our latest articles:

For more detailed information, refer to the EPA Guidelines on Drain Maintenance.

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