How to Unclog a Sink – A DIY Guide

There’s standing water in your kitchen sink and your first thought is: ‘how much is this going to cost me?’

The fact is, there’s never a good time for your kitchen sink (or your bathroom sink, for that matter!) to be out of action, but with a little bit of know-how you could fix the problem faster than you think – and hopefully without having to break the bank, too. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

So, where to start when it comes to unblocking your sink? We’ve compiled a handy guide which covers everything you need to know. Read on…

We’ll start with the basics: the causes of your sink blockage – whether it be a kitchen or bathroom sink. These could include any of the following:

  • Dirt, skin flakes, hair, food and soap scum finding their way down the drain pipes
  • Small toys being dropped or inserted into the plug
  • Cotton wool, dental floss, cotton swabs and feminine hygiene products being pushed down the pipes

So, are there any methods you can try to unclog your sink before you call out a team of professionals? The answer is ‘yes’ – and there are quite a few, too. Read on to find out how you can solve the problem yourself, if you have the time to.

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with a Plunger

Blocked sink? Your first line of defense is the humble plunger; you can pick these up easily and cheaply online.

But which is the best plunger to purchase? We say a plunger which shoots jets of water to clear out the drain pipe. While a little more expensive, they may just save you having to call out the professionals, which will mean more money in your back pocket in the long-run.

To unclog a sink using a plunger, start by removing the pop up drain from the sink. Then wet a rag or old cloth and use it to seal up the sink overflow drain. Now, grab a jar or pot of petroleum jelly and apply some to the bottom lip of the plunger. It’s at this stage that you’ll run the water in the sink, placing the plunger over the drain and plunging a good handful of times in a row. Finally, run more water in the sink and repeat the whole process if the problem persists.

If a plunger hasn’t done the job though, a hand-powered drain auger might do it – and these are relatively inexpensive as well. Easily reaching up to five feet down the toilet’s drain pipe, an auger can retrieve small toys and anything else that’s blocking the drain.

If you’re wondering how to unclog a sink without a plunger, you’re in luck. There’s a simple yet highly effective method you can try before you resort to ringing a drainage services team. To unblock your sink, all you need is a kettle and some electricity! That’s right; boiling water is your friend here – but be careful!

How to Unclog a Sink Drain with Boiling Water

The best thing about the hot water method is that if it works it’s literally the cheapest drain unclogging option you can try.

Simply boil your kettle, wait until your sink has finally drained and then pour the water down the drain. This method works best on metal pipes, so be very cautious as water over 175 degrees can melt PVC pipes. Not sure what your pipes are made of? Don’t take any chances, or opt to use hot water instead of boiling water.

How to Unclog a Sink with Baking Soda

Did you know baking soda – that trusty baking ingredient – could well be your best friend when it comes to unclogging a sink? Here’s what you should do if you have a blocked kitchen or bathroom sink to contend with:

Baking soda’s effective on its own but add some vinegar into the mix and you have a winning sink unclogging solution!

Start by boiling your kettle and pour the hot water directly down the drain, adding a little baking soda and white vinegar into the drain as you do. The water will react with the baking soda and work hard to unclog the drain.

To test if this method’s worked, simply fill up your sink and see if the drains fill up once more. Be aware that the baking soda and vinegar technique will only sort out smaller clogs, so if your blockage is a bigger one you may have to resort to another method.

How to Unclog a Sink with Standing Water

Is water collecting in your sink, be it a kitchen or bathroom sink? You’ll need to act fast so the water doesn’t overflow and make its way onto your floor. After all, this could be very bad news for your carpets!

If you’re wondering how to unclog a kitchen sink full of water, simply have a root through your kitchen cupboards again! Why? Salt may well have more uses than simply sprucing up your chips. Here’s what to do:

After removing standing water from your sink, pour half a pint of table salt down the drain. Let it sit for a few minutes before pouring hot water down the drain, too. This should clear the blockage, but you could also add a little vinegar into the mix, too.

How to Unclog a Double Kitchen Sink

Do you have a double kitchen sink? The methods by which you unclog your sink are usually the same. Here’s what to do if you have a blockage:

Although you technically have two sinks in your kitchen, the chances are you’ll only have the one drain pipe. What that means for you is you’ll use the same technique to unclog the blockage as you would if you had just the one sink.

Try the hot water method first, before getting your hands on a plunger. If all else fails, you could try a coat hanger. This is a little more invasive but it’ll help you get the job done if the blockage is more severe.

Grab a coat hanger and push the end (the curly part) down the drain. Then simply twist and pull until you feel it hook onto the baffle. Wiggling it up and down while twisting, you should remove the clog relatively easily. Now, just run some water into the clogged sink and you should find that the obstruction’s gone!

How to Unclog a Kitchen or Bathroom Sink: Preventative Measures

So, you’ve sorted out the issue of your blocked sink, now here’s a few handy tips to ensure it doesn’t happen again. After all, prevention is often better, easier and cheaper than the cure!

Refrain from putting food or tea leaves down the sink drain – Food can accumulate in the drain and clog at the S-bend, and if you do this a lot you’ll quickly have a problem on your hands

Be aware of foods that swell when they come into contact with water – Everything from flour, rice, semolina and pastry scraps will swell and expand when water’s added. If you allow any of these foodstuffs to make their way down the drains, you may have a clogged sink to sort – and possibly a costly maintenance bill later down the line.

Make sure you dispose of these items properly, rather than lazily flushing them down the sink. Also, ensure you’re on your guard when it comes to hot fats that solidify and don’t be tempted to pour any of these down the sink; they’ll cool, congeal and then set in your pipes. Instead, allow them to cool, before adding them to a container or food bag and popping in the bin.

Use drain catchers – Invest in a drain catcher, which will prevent food from going down the drain. They don’t cost much but could save you pounds (and a headache or two!) in the long-run!

If all else fails, keep hold of egg shells after poaching or scrambling your breakfast in the morning. Why? A few broken egg shells left in your plug will help trap additional solids which would otherwise make their way down your sink and cause a possibly costly blockage.

Have you tried all the drain unclogging methods listed here in this guide? If none have worked thus far, maybe it’s time to consider calling out a professional team. Providing a quick and efficient service, a specialist drain unblocking team will see to the issue in no time.

Experts in the drainage industry will have years of experience, so they’ll be more than equipped to tackle any problems head on. They’ll even clear up after themselves to ensure you can get back to your day as soon as possible. Often, a professional team is the answer when your busy schedule means that time spent unblocking the drain will set you back a little.

So, when a blocked sink threatens to ruin your day (or evening!), don’t panic! Instead, try the drain unblocking guides mentioned here first. Good luck!

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