Did you know the most common plumbing issue, that everyone will face at one time or another, is a clogged sink? Since it is so common, it’s important that you know a few tips and tricks to try and fix a clog before calling in a professional.
1. Boiling water
When hair, grease, soap residue, and other debris get stuck in your drain, boiling water may be all your pipes need to loosen the blockage. It’s the simplest fix, which means it should be your first move when trying to unclog a sink. If you need to, you can try a second round of boiling water, and if that doesn’t work, try another one of the following tips.
IMPORTANT Note: Don’t try this method if your drain is attached to PVC pipes, as the boiling water could melt or damage the plastic.
2. Check the garbage disposal
If your sink has a garbage disposal, it may be the culprit. Usually, when using your garbage disposal regularly, you can just turn it on and it will clear up the clog by itself. If it won’t even turn on, your garbage disposal may be overheated. To check if it is overheated, you can reset it with the switch at the side or bottom of the unit. After resetting the disposal, try turning it on again to clear the clog.
If you turn on the disposal and hear a low humming sound, the unit could be jammed or broken. Before doing anything to fix your disposal, remember to disconnect the power to the unit and never stick your hand in the disposal. From there, you can try to break up the clog by turning the blades manually. Do this by inserting an Allen wrench into the hole on the bottom of the disposal and twisting until you feel less resistance, meaning the blockage is beginning to break up.
3. Use a plunger
Fill the sink with hot water until it’s about halfway full and creates a seal around the drain. Position the plunger over the drain and begin pumping up and down quickly several times. Remove the plunger and wait to see if the water drains. Repeat the process until the water drains freely. If the sink still isn’t draining properly after multiple plunging attempts, you know the drill. Time to try a different method.
4. Baking soda & Vinegar
Remove any water from the sink with a cup or bowl. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, using a spatula or spoon to push the powder down the drain if necessary. Pour one cup of white vinegar down the drain. Place a stopper or cover on the drain to seal the opening. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and run hot tap water down the drain. Use boiling water to break up more intense clogs. You can repeat this method a second time to see if that will help more as well.
5. Plumbers snake
You can use a snake to clear more stubborn blockages. There are manual and electric snakes that all work about the same, but we suggest a manual snake. When using a plumbing snake, you will put the coiled end into the drain and push until you find a blockage. Turn the handle for a few seconds and pull whatever debris may come out with it. Make sure not to push too hard, otherwise, you may be forcing the blockage further down the drain making it harder to dislodge.
6. Clean the P-trap
The P-trap, the elbow-shaped pipe under your sink, is another piece of the clog puzzle where you might be encountering issues. If you are willing enough, you can disassemble the pipe to clean out any debris that is causing the clog. This can get a little messy, so you’ll want to prepare yourself with gloves and towels.
Place a bucket underneath the pipe. Unscrew the connectors on the trap that hold the curved piece to the vertical and horizontal drain pipe. There should be a slip nut on either end of the P-trap. Remove the P-trap and clear the pipe of all debris, grime, and residue. Reconnect the trap. Once reconnected, turn on your faucet and see if your drain is clearing properly.
If none of these tips worked, it may be time to call us so we can come to diagnose the problem and get your sink back into working order asap! We’re available for any and all plumbing issues 24/7, 365 days a year! Give us a call at (509) 535-3447 for service in Washington, or (208) 649-9991 in Idaho.
How To Prevent Future Clogs
If you were successful in unclogging your drain, woohoo! Now you just have to worry about preventing any future clogs. The most important thing you can do is to avoid washing these harmful items down your drain:
- Grease, fats, and oils
- Coffee grounds
- Starchy foods, such as pasta, rice, and bread
- Fruit peels, pits, and stickers
- Paper products, such as paper towels and food wrappers
Instead, pour cooking grease in an old can and dispose of the container once it’s full. You can add certain waste, including coffee grounds, to mulch or compost piles. Use a drain cover to catch any bigger debris to prevent it from clogging up your drain in the future.