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How to Fix a Clogged Sink

Tap flowing into white ceramic sink whilst somebody cleans a fork

Blocked sinks are a nuisance. You might have a blocked sink if you notice some of the following: slow draining water, overflowing sinks, and an unpleasant odor. They can end up being a mess and cost you money in the long run, but there’s no need to worry. Fixing your sink is easier than it seems. In this article, we’ll show you how easy unclogging your sink without any expensive tools or plumbing services can be.

Blocked sinks will often happen because of foreign objects getting stuck in drain pipes as well as residue from food and hair products accumulating over time that build-up under debris clogs the pipe with ease. This type of blockage, if not dealt with promptly, would lead to serious consequences such as flooding or worse yet sewage backup into kitchen cabinets. Oftentimes though, these issues don’t require much effort at all, and there are a handful of DIY methods to unblock your drain both time and cost-effectively.

Tools to Unblock Drains

There are several tools available to unblock a drain at home. These are inexpensive and effective at unblocking sinks and drains and can be readily acquired.

  • Chemical cleaners
  • Coat hanger
  • Plumber’s snake
  • Plunger
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Biological washing powder
  • Bleach 
  • Boiling water

How Do I Unblock a Drain?

Blocks in the plumbing can not only be unpleasant but also an expensive affair. Here we have a few quick, simple fixes that will help you get rid of any blockages and save yourself some money.

Boiling water

Try the following at home for your blocked drain. Clear any standing water from the sink. Bring water to the boil, and pour directly into the drain. Let sit for 5 minutes before observing whether blockage has eased. Repeat process if results are improving.

The fastest and cheapest method to unclogging a sink is pouring boiling hot liquid down drains since this allows gravity forces to work together with natural chemical reactions that soften clogs. Heating liquids also helps by making them expand so they can better breakthrough tough materials such as grease, hair products like shampoo or conditioner, cooking oils including bacon fat which could cause stubborn slow drainage.

Baking soda and white vinegar

The first step to fixing a clogged drain with baking soda and vinegar is making sure you have removed any standing water. This will allow you unprohibited access to the pipes and make it easier for the baking soda/vinegar solution to penetrate into them. Pour both an equal amount of white vinegar and baking soda into the drain, be patient as they foam up in the sink-hole before proceeding with putting on the plug again. Wait around 15 minutes then try running hot water from the tap; if draining seems faster than usual, repeat the process once or twice depending on results.

Clean the P-trap

When the sink won’t drain, it may be due to a clogged P-trap. The P-trap is a crucial component of your plumbing system. Located beneath the sink, and often found within cupboards under your kitchen sink, these pipes are not only potential hazards for obstruction but also can collect a lot of dirt and debris that could potentially prohibit water flow to other areas in the home. In order to fix this issue, find the cupboards below and remove the u-bend pipe with a pair of pliers. Be sure to have an old bucket on hand to collect the excess water and debris; then clean out all of your dirty pipe sections with warm water before replacing them.

Use a specialist pipe-cleaning tool (Plumber’s snake)

Plumber’s snakes are effective at unclogging a sink. These tools are designed to access the pipes that are generally inaccessible and can bend around the piping whilst dislodging any debris along the way. Again, remove your P-trap in order to gain access to deeper plumbing systems. Insert them until you feel resistance from clogging (either hair or some other type of obstruction), then use it as leverage for removing this material out by pulling on one end while pushing with another so it will loosen up and come free.

Wire coat hanger

If you find yourself without a plumber’s snake on hand, there is an easy alternative. Simply unravel a wire coat hanger and insert through the P-trap, as you would a plumber’s snake.

If you’re in need of a quick fix to help clear up any stubborn plumbing problems within seconds, then this DIY solution might be what you’ve been looking for.


Unclogging a sink with a plunger can be very effective. Place the plunger over the drain to create a vacuum. If your basin is an odd shape, fill it with water so that your plunger can create a seal around the drain. This will cause an air pocket that sucks out any gunk blocking your drain. Once all remnants have been removed from below, pour boiling hot water over what remains for just two minutes before flushing everything away.

Chemical cleaners

Chemical cleaners are the most commonly used tool for breaking down clogs. They rely on strong acid or alkali to dissolve sticks and other substances that usually block a drain line. There may be some risk in using these types of products because, as they can cause damage if not followed carefully with step-by-step instructions depending on which type you want to use.

Unblocking a sink can be an arduous task, but the steps needed to fix it are minimal. There are plenty of do-it-yourself remedies available for those who want to tackle this minor annoyance themselves without having to spend any money or hire someone else. However, if you still experience issues after trying all these DIY fixes, do not hesitate to contact a professional.

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