How to Unclog A Sink Drain

The clogged sink drain is one of the common issues that is being faced by many homeowners today, among other different kinds of plumbing problems and it can be troublesome when your kitchen or bathroom sink drain starts pooling water after every use and you’re stuck waiting for it to clear out. It is very important to understand how a sink drain functions to know how to troubleshoot when you get clogs or leakage in the drains. 

A sink drain is designed to carry wastewater away from the kitchen sink or the bathroom sink. However, sometimes food debris, hair, plastic, and other particles make their way inside the sink drain through the kitchen or bathroom sink which causes obstruction in the flow of water, leading to an eventual clog. Usually, there are different ways to deal with different types of clogs that happen in sink drains. Sink drains consist of various types of pipes, out of which PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is one of the most common choices these days.

A couple of decades ago, most sink drains were made of metal pipes which corroded easily when they came in contact with water and even caused problems when chemical drain cleaners were used in them to fix clogs. Thankfully, that is not the case with modern plastic sink drain pipes. It is very important to understand this, as we can come to the best alternative easily when a sink drain gets clogged if we know how sink drain works and which type of pipe is used in our home.

There are various alternative methods of unclogging sink drains that homeowners can try at home to clear obstructions in sink drain pipes with the use of household items and simple tools that are eco-friendly. While these methods are easy to use, you can get the best results if you follow proper instructions and steps that will help you get rid of clogs in your kitchen and bathroom sink drains and you can unclog the drain and get back to using them as you always did in no time.

Unclog a Sink With Boiling Water 

The use of boiling water to unclog the sink drain gives an effective outcome when the clog is caused by substances like soap scum, grease, or mild blockages. When boiling water comes in contact with the clogs, it provides heat to the materials in the clogs which makes the materials soften, making it easy for them to travel through the drain pipe. You can use boiling water mostly with sink drain pipes made of metal. However, when we pour hot water into the drain pipe made of PVC it could pose some risks if done too frequently with large volumes of water. Here are the steps for using boiling water to unclog the sink drain:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil about 212o F ( 100o C) 
  2. Use a towel or mittens to handle the pot or kettle and bring it near the sink drain
  3. Remove standing water in the sink basin and see if there’s any debris that’s visible. If yes, manually remove them to create a way for water to travel. 
  4. Pour the hot water into the sink drain and wait for 5 minutes 
  5. Check whether the blockage is opened or not by flushing it with a pot of cold water. 
  6. If blockage persists, repeat the process a couple of more times.
  7. Call a professional if the blockage is not opened even with several attempts.

Unclog a Sink With a Drain Plunger

Roto-Rooter CA Drain Cleaning Company

A plunger is an easy and effective solution for unclogging the sink drain. The plunger works by creating a seal over the drain opening and using pressure to dislodge and push the clog down the pipe. To unclog using a plunger, you don’t need the knowledge of plumbing systems and even the nature of the clog inside the drain pipe as whatever is inside the drain pipe as a clog can be removed easily using a plunger without any harm inside the drain pipe. To get the best result out of a simple plunger, you should follow the correct way of using it. Here’s how you use a plunger to unclog a sink drain:

  1. Take a plunger that is in good condition and appropriate in size to your drain hole 
  2. Make sure that there is enough water in the sink so that the bottom of the plunger’s cup can form a seal
  3. Place the plunger over the drain hole in such a way that it covers the hole completely
  4. Make sure that you are holding the plunger handle upright and firmly
  5. Press down the plunger slightly and try to make a good seal
  6. Start plunging slowly and continue for a minute with vigorous up-and-down motion 
  7. After several plunges, remove the plunger pour water into it, and check whether the water flows smoothly or not
  8. If it doesn’t work, repeat the process a couple of more times and check again by pouring water 
  9. Call a professional if your drain is still clogged even after several attempts

Unclog a Sink Drain With Baking Soda and Vinegar

The use of baking soda and vinegar is the best and easiest natural way to unclog the sink drain as baking soda and vinegar can be easily available in our house. We don’t need to follow many safety precautions while using baking soda and vinegar as these everyday consumable items do not harm our skin when we touch them however, contact with eyes and open wounds should be avoided.. Baking soda and vinegar is an effective natural solution for the drain clogged by organic matter like soap scum, or grease buildup.

Baking soda helps to scrub away debris and remove the wastes like grease, hair etc. that stick on the walls of the drain pipes. As baking soda can neutralise odours, it can be beneficial if unpleasant smells are being produced by your sink drain due to a clog. Vinegar is an acid that becomes a chemical component for baking soda to reach with and form salt and carbon dioxide (CO2) gas that reaches the clog and generates heat that helps to break down the clog. The steps to use baking soda and vinegar with water are as follows:

  1. Get a pot of water to a rolling boil at about 212o F (100o C) and bring it close to your drain
  2. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain and top it off with a cup of synthetic vinegar.
  3. Cover the drain with a drain plug and wait for 5 to 10 minutes for the ingredients to react with each other.
  4. Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to act as a heat source, further speeding the reaction.
  5. Let it sit for 10 more minutes and then proceed to pour a pot of cold water to check if the clog has dislodged. 
  6. Repeat the process again after half an hour if necessary. 
  7. Contact a drain cleaning expert if your second attempt also fails to unclog the sink drain. 

Unclog a Sink Drain With a Drain Cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners contain strong acids or bases that help to break down the clog formation as the chemical substances generate chemical reactions with the clog when they come in contact. Using Chemical drain cleaners are recommended only if other alternatives don’t work. We must follow safety precautions while using chemical drain cleaners as these strong chemicals may harm our eyes and skin if handled improperly. Use of mask, gloves and goggles is recommended while we work on cleaning up clogs using drain cleaners. Chemical drain cleaners are available in solid, liquid and gel form and each comes with operation instructions that must be followed to the point. As the use of industry-grade drain cleaners is a risky task, it’s better to call a professional to do the job for you if you don’t have the experience and knowledge about these things. Here’s how you use kitchen-grade commercial drain cleaners to clear clogs in your sink drain:

  1. Before opening the drain cleaner, make sure you are following safety precautions like wearing a mask, gloves on your hands and so on.
  2. Open the drain cleaner very carefully, don’t splash any of the chemicals on the surface or your body.
  3. Pour the amount of drain cleaner as required over the drain, following the instructions on the back of the bottle or the pack.
  4. Allow the drain cleaner poured over the drain to work for about 15 minutes (or according to the instructions on the pack)
  5. Flush the drain cleaner with a pot of hot water and see if the clog clears up.
  6. Call a plumber for further assistance if the drain clog still persists.

How to Prevent Drain Clogs in the Sink

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to sink and drain health. Sink drain clogging never occurs when you follow preventive measures while using the sink basin. Here are the list of steps that you can take to prevent sink drain clogs: 

  1. Use Sink Strainers: You can install a sink strainer near the kitchen sink. Debris, food wastes, hair et cetera can be caught in the sink strainer which can later be properly disposed of, keeping your sink drain safe from these deposits. 
  2. Scrape Plates Before Washing: Before washing dishes, you should throw all the food scraps into the compost bin or the garbage can to avoid these things getting stuck in your sink drain pipes causing a clog.
  3. Dispose of Grease Properly: It is better to dispose of grease, oil or fats in the trash rather than pouring them down the sink as they can freeze and obstruct the flow of water in your drain pipes.
  4. Run Hot Water Regularly: After each time of using the sink basin, you should form a habit of running hot water down the drain for a few minutes to wash away any debris, fat, and deposits of things that aren’t supposed to be there. 
  5. Limit Coffee Grounds: You should avoid washing coffee grounds down the kitchen sink drain. Instead, dispose of them in the trash or better yet, use them as organic fertilizers for your house plants. 
  6. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Using harsh chemical drain cleaners should be avoided as they can damage the drain and harm our eyes and skin. It’s better to focus on using natural methods like baking soda, hot water and vinegar periodically. 
  7. Don’t Flush Non-Flushable Items: You should avoid flushing non-flushable items like paper towels, cotton balls etc into the sink drain as these things can accumulate and get stuck in your drain pipes. 
  8. Educate Household Members: You should make each member in your house understand preventive measures for drain clogs by instilling healthy habits of waste disposal and sink drain maintenance. 
  9. Regular Professional Inspections: All sink drains should be checked by professionals on a regular basis so that any problem like mineral deposits, fat or food debris, or imminent leaks can be caught right at the root as this helps to save a fortune in future plumbing costs as well. 

Need of Professional Drain Cleaning Services

As far as possible, it is better to follow all the preventive measures that help to avoid sink drain clogs. But in case the problem of sink drain clog occurs, and the methods mentioned above do not give you satisfactory results, it is better to contact the professionals to come have a look at your clogged drain before it becomes a bigger problem. 

Among several professional drain cleaning service providers, Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Water Cleanup is the industry leader when it comes to sink drain cleaning services.  We have been providing effective drain-cleaning services to households and businesses around California since 1935. Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup is the best drain cleaning solution with cutting-edge tools and technology which provides drain cleaning services, repair services, plumbing services, and restoration works. Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup is the most trusted plumbing and drain cleaning service provider in California with a team of licensed professionals who bring their expertise in providing a one-stop solution to all your drain cleaning and unclogging needs. 

Contact now to get your faulty sink drains and bathroom drains checked and fixed. We also provide drain inspection and assessment to help you maintain your pipes and fittings in proper condition.