Posted in BathroomDIYKitchenPlumbing

How to Unclog a Sink

Something stuck in the bathroom or kitchen sink that is causing a mess? Unclogging takes a few tools and can save you the expensive bill for calling in a plumber, especially in the middle of the night!

Clog Causes

Sinks tend to clog up because there is an abundance of remnants of hair, soap or other greasy products that can slow down or stop a drain.

Get the Plunger!

The first step to unclogging a sink is to use a plunger. Fill the sink with water to cover the plunger head, then plunge up and down vigorously, keeping the plunger sealed against the bottom of the sink. If you do not feel much resistance or feel the water swishing back and forth or, then air might be escaping through the overflow opening. To prevent this air escaping, simply hold a wet rag firmly in place over the overflow opening. Once the clog is loosen, run warm water or a drain cleaner through the drain to flush out the remaining debris.

Drain Auger / Drain Snake / Pipe Cleaner

If the plunger is unable to clear the clog, it is time to bring out the drain auger or commonly known as drain snake. With the auger, you can go down the drain directly with it or you may remove the trap and go into the horizontal drain line. This is dependent on where the clog is located.

Through the drain

If the clog is in the sink trap, drill the auger carefully down the trap to remove the clog. You may need to remove the strainer basket to move the auger down. The most suitable auger is one with the coiled cable wrapped inside a housing. The housing should have a handle and a crank on it for spinning the cable inside the drain. To start using the auger, feed the cable slowly into the drain and when you feel resistance, that will most likely be the clog. Start cranking the auger slowly until the clog is clear. Do flush the drain with warm water to loosen and clear any remaining debris.

Remove the trap

If the clog is beyond the trap and you cannot get reach it from above, remove the trap using pipe wrench to access the horizontal stretch of pipe. Simply wrap a rag around the area you are clamping onto

  • this can prevent the teeth of the tool from damaging the pipe surface
  • remove the two nuts that hold the trap. Be sure to put a bucket under the trap to catch the water contained in the trap. Follow the instruction above to clear the clog. Finish by pulling the cable back out, clean it and feeding it back into the housing.

Replace the trap

If you removed the trap, carefully replace it making sure not to over tighten the nuts. Once the trap is replaced, run hot water or a drain cleaner through the drain to clear it. If water backs up, there may still be some loose debris left behind by the auger. Try plunging to get rid of this debris and flush the drain with warm water after.

End notes

Pouring warm water down the bathroom sink does help to dissolve soapy, greasy materials that are coating the walls of your pipes.

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