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Clogged sink in residential home in need of unclogging service

Fixed! How to Clear a Clogged Sink

From brushing your teeth to rinsing produce, your bathroom and kitchen sink drains are among the most used areas in your home. It's imperative that your plumbing works properly, so you can complete daily tasks and chores without any hassle.

Without consistent cleaning maintenance, it's very common for your bathroom or kitchen sink drain to become clogged. Many materials go down your sinks, including food scraps and coffee grinds, grease and fat, and even hair and soap scum. Eventually, this debris accumulates and causes a clogged sink.

To help you clear a clogged sink quickly and effectively, our expert team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Mississauga put together this guide. Continue reading to learn some useful DIY strategies for unclogging your drains.

How Do I Unclog a Sink?

If you're not comfortable trying to clear clogged pipes on your own, or your attempts seem to be doing nothing, contact one of our professional plumbers. We'll help unblock your pipes in no time! But if you are ready to learn a few simple DIY tips and tricks to get rid of your pesky blockages, keep reading.

First, Remove All Standing Water

Do you see a few inches (or more) of water sitting in the sink? Before you start working on the drain, it's important to remove any standing water by following these steps:

  • Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from chemical drain cleaners or sharp objects.

  • Use a jug, cup or bowl and carefully remove water from the sink. Flush it down a toilet or pour it down a different sink. If there are food particles or other debris in the standing water, put a basket catch over any drain you pour it into. This prevents forming another clog.

  • Remove any visible food debris, hair or soap scum from your sink. If it's attached to a garbage disposal, do not put your hand or fingers near the drain.

Check the Garbage Disposal

If there's an issue with your kitchen drains, it could be that your garbage disposal is blocked. To avoid clogging your garburator, don't put too many scraps down it at once. Also, certain pieces of food like bones, eggshells and coffee grounds should never go in the garbage disposal. To clear a blocked garbage disposer, follow these steps:

  • Turn off your garbage disposal. Do not put your hand down until it has been switched off.

  • Use a flashlight to look down the pipe.

  • If the block is due to food, then you can use pliers to remove excess waste or manually turn your garburator blades using an Allen key.

  • If it's clogged because there's jewelry trapped in the garburator, you should call our expert plumbers right away.

  • If you can’t reach the clog, try using a plunger. Clamp your dishwasher's drain line before plunging to prevent dirty water from being pushed into it.

  • Run hot tap water down the garburator to help remove any residual debris. Never pour chemicals down garbage disposals.

Start with Boiling Water

If the clog is not too severe, you might be able to dislodge it with hot water. This technique works for shower drains, as well as kitchen and bathroom sinks. Fill up a kettle or pot with water. Bring to a boil and pour it down the drain. Repeat two to three times. It's important to use hot water, not warm water, so any hardened grease or soap scum will melt and get removed.

Try Baking Soda and White Vinegar

Another method to dislodge stubborn clogs without reaching for a plunger or drain snake is to mix baking soda and white vinegar. This is a natural and effective alternative to toxic chemicals. As a bonus, baking soda and vinegar works wonders to relieve stains and grime in your sink basin. The chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar powerfully dislodges debris. Simply mix one cup of vinegar and one cup of baking soda and pour down your drain. Use a drain cover to force the reaction through the pipe. You can flush with boiling water after to ensure residual debris is washed away.

Plunge Away!

If non-invasive drain cleaning methods haven't worked, it's time to up the ante by using a plunger. Keep in mind that if you have a double sink, make sure you use a tight seal, like a drain cover, to block the side you are not plunging. If you don't, the dirty water in one half of your sink will be pushed into the other side.

  • First, it's important to choose the right plunger. There are three kinds: flat-bottom sink plunger, toilet plunger and accordion plunger. For sinks, choose a flat-bottom sink plunger.

  • Pour a small bit of water into the sink. This will improve the plunger's suction.

  • Plunge a few times, starting gently and then getting more forceful.

  • Test by running some water into your sink and seeing if it drains.

  • If it's still clogged, repeat the process three more times and fill up a kettle of water. Once boiling, pour it down the sink.

Clean the P-Trap

Also known as a drain trap, a P-trap is a section of pipe below your sinks that looks like a “U” or the top portion of a “P,” (hence the name). Its primary purpose is to stop harmful sewer gases from seeping into your home, but it also prevents debris and jewellery from falling into your plumbing system. Needless to say, it can get clogged from time to time. There's no fast way to clear out a full P-trap. It has to be cleaned by hand:

  • Put a bucket underneath to catch any dirty water or debris.

  • Remove any screws holding the P-trap to the wall.

  • Take out the P-trap and see if it's clogged.

  • Clean out any debris and throw it away.

Use a Plumber's Snake or Wire Coat Hanger

Typically, using a plumber's snake is your last option for clearing out clogged drains, next to calling a professional plumber for help. Drain snakes look like a coiled, metal rope with a crank on one side. The coil is inserted into the drain. As the handle is cranked, it pulls up the coil and brings with it any debris. Many Mississauga homeowners use metal hangers that have been straightened out as alternatives to drain snakes. To get rid of stubborn clogs with your hanger, complete these steps:

  • Bend the hanger into shape: flatten into a straight line and add a hook at one end.

  • Insert it into the pipe and fish around until you make contact with the clog.

  • Once you feel debris at the end of the wire, pull it up. You may have to repeat this process a few times to get all the gunk out.

  • Once you have removed as much of the blockage as possible, pour boiling water down the sink to get rid of any remaining debris.

Hire One of Our Pro Plumbers Today!

If you've tried getting rid of a clog on your own, or don't have time to deal with a problematic drain, call our professional and efficient team. We'll help you clear away the clog in no time!

To book an appointment, we invite you to phone us at 905-817-0210. Our team is looking forward to meeting you and solving all your plumbing problems.