How to Unclog A Sink | Easy Ways for DIY Unclogging

A clogged sink is a natural part of life. The common snail-pace drain, the awful and unpleasant odors that can drive you crazy are tail-tale signs of a clogged sink. To fix this annoying problem, there are several ways you can unclog your sink using tools like baking soda that can get the job done, these quick tips can help you save money that will otherwise spend on calling a plumber. You’ll need to unclog blocked drainage before it leads to a burst pipe or a useless bathroom.

Most of the time getting rid of the excess hair or filth that has built up on the surface of the drain simply does not work. And when your drainage is clogged, your best American Standard toilet may overflow.

You might have tried using a plunger, but it only works temporarily in unclogging the sink, so what’s the next time to a long-term solution? Keep reading to discover easy ways on how to unclog a sink.

What Causes the Clog?

fatty substances are the foremost drainage blockers and slow draining sinks in the kitchen

In most households there are four main culprits that block the drain, these are;

1.    Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG): fatty substances are the foremost drainage blockers and slow draining sinks in the kitchen. The go down the sink in a liquid state like hot grease in a pan or dissolved fat in warm dishwater, but the fat cools down as it moves through the pipe. This solid fat coats the pipes’ insides getting thicker and thicker until you have a slow drain or complete blockage. To prevent this issue wipe dishes away with a paper towel and throw away in the trash so it doesn't go down the drain.

2.    Food Particles: Leftover food particles like vegetables or a chunk of bone can get trapped in the curved pipe beneath the sink, which is also known as the p-trap can cause kitchen drain clogs. Make sure to use your filter.

3.    Hair: This is one of the most common causes of bathroom drain clog. Hair goes down the drain easily and gets accumulated inside the pipe building up until the line is blocked. This usually happens right below the drain.

4.    Soap Scrum: residue and particles from greasy soaps can coat the interior of pipes and cause a blockage. This can lead to extreme build-up that can cause the pipes to corrode. It's good to flush out your pipes with hot water for a few minutes at a time every month to reduce this issue.

How to Unclog A Kitchen Sink

If you’re also looking for ways on how to unclog a bathroom sink, you can use these easy DIY tips to unclog both your kitchen and bathroom sink.

Tip 1: How to Unclog A Sink with Baking Soda 

You will most definitely find baking soda in your kitchen, especially if you bake. But asides from baking, baking soda can be used in numerous ways around the house, and it works wonders on stinky, clogged sinks. Baking soda is a better alternative if you’re trying to stay away from harmful caustic chemicals that can be harmful to your skin and most of these chemicals are not guaranteed to dissolve clogs. Professional plumbers warn against using these chemicals, while some apartment buildings ban chemical cleaners. So, before buying a caustic chemical product to unclog your drain, try out baking soda.

a.) The Power of Baking Soda

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, is a naturally occurring mineral compound. It is formed from chemical processes of refined from soda ash extracted from mineral ore. Baking soda is a slightly alkaline powder that can dissolve mineral deposits and organic materials such as grease, which is somewhat acidic in composition. It can neutralize both acidic and alkaline substances. It also has slight disinfectant properties that can combat odor-causing bacteria and fungi.

baking soda can be mixed with a couple of things to unclog a drain
b.) How to Unclog A Kitchen Sink with Baking Soda  

Baking soda can be mixed with a couple of things to unclog a drain. The most popular mixture is the baking soda and vinegar solution, but you can also mix it with salt as well.

c.) Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is one of the most straightforward solutions you can use to unclog a sink. Follow these steps;

•    Pour hot water down the drain

•    After pouring the hot water, pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of vinegar.
This mixture usually has a fizzy sound which is because of the reaction taking place. Baking soda is an alkaline substance and vinegar is a mild acetic acid. When these two are mixed, they have a dramatic reaction to neutralize one another, and the fizzing action you hear is the clog dislodging in your drain.

•    Cover the drain plug to keep the reaction down below the drain surface if you have one and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before flushing the drain with 2 quarts of boiling hot water.

•    You can do this severally if necessary.

You can repeat this baking soda process twice if you haven’t cleaned the drain in a long time. This process can also be used as a regular maintenance method for preventing clog drains.

d.) Baking Soda and Salt

People believe that baking soda and salt can work to unclog sinks. This homemade solution is as simple as with baking soda and vinegar solution.

•    Mix ½ cup of table salt with ½ cup of baking soda

•    Pour the mixture down the blocked drainage

•    Leave for 10-20 minutes; you also let it sit overnight

•    Then pour boiling water down the drain

The salt, baking soda, and boiling water will produce a chemical reaction that should dissolve some of the toughest and nastiest blockages. These two methods can be used clean and freshen your garbage disposal.

Use can also use it to remove odors in a disposal by reducing the required amounts of baking soda, water, vinegar, and salt by half and follow the directions above. You can put the baking soda down the drain for several hours in a day to reduce odors that may develop when you’re not around and flush it with hot water when you get back.  

2: How to Unclog A Bathroom Sink with Chemicals 

although it is not advisable to use harsh chemicals as they can be very dangerous

To start off, it is not advisable to use harsh chemicals as they can be very dangerous. Before using any chemicals, read the caution on the bottle and always wear chemical resistant gloves, safety goggles, and protective clothing.

You cannot go wrong using the best drain cleaner available to you. Alternatively, try using the following chemicals:

a.) Using Sulfuric Acid to Unclog A Sink 

Sulfuric acid is one of the best drainage cleaners. It can eat through paper, rags, sanitary napkins, food, and organic matter quickly.

It can melt ice and liquify grease, however, only use on plastic piping and avoid using it on stainless steel, aluminum chrome or galvanized steel pipes.

Sulfuric acid can unclog a drain within an hour or seconds if there’s less clogging. It is a naturally occurring chemical and sewer and septic safe because it dilutes as it goes down the pipes. Sulphuric acid is corrosive, so use with caution. Wear chemical resistant gloves and preferable safety goggles and a lab coat.

Before using read and understand the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), open all windows for proper ventilation. For mild clogs where the water passes slowly, carefully pour about 20ml worth of sulfuric acid into the drain. In about 10 seconds, apply slow flowing water.

If clog remains, turn off the water and let it sit for a longer period of time or add some more sulfuric acid to speed up the process. 200 ml worth of sulphuric acid should be enough to handle a slow flowing drain. Flush the piping with lots of water to remove any left-overs from the sulfuric acid.

For severe clogs, slowly apply 500 ml, about half a liter bottle of sulfuric acid to the clog. Let it sit for an hour and then test for drain opening by pouring water. If the clog persists, apply another 250ml or 500ml of sulphuric acid and let it sit for another hour. Continue pouring sulfuric acid until the sink unclogs. Sulphuric acid should be able to eliminate extreme clogging in 15 minutes, flush with water once the sink is unclogged.

c.)  Using Sodium hydroxide To Unclog A Sink

Sodium Hydroxide reacts to fats and greases when it is combined with water to makes soap. It is a strong solution and useful for dealing with clogged drains. Sodium hydroxide is naturally occurring and is sewer and septic safe because it gets diluted as it passes through the pipes. This solution is not as effective as sulfuric acid, but it is safer and easier to use. You can use potassium hydroxide for drain opening, it is a little pricier, but it dissolves into water faster and usually clears the drain quicker. Use potassium hydroxide for extremely clogged drains.

Always wear protective gear while using chemicals like this and read the MSDS before using it. The amount of sodium hydroxide you need depends on the severity of the clog. It is more useful to use a little bit of sodium hydroxide at a time to the clog and use water to dissolve it into the piping.

If the clog is not severe, it should be unclogged in a few seconds of applying it to the drain with running water. If the clog is severe, sodium hydroxide will need to be dissolved into the backed-up pool of water and left for at least an hour, with a little more added if the clog persists. You can leave the chemical overnight or for a few days to pass the clog if you don’t have enough sodium hydroxide or if the clogging is extremely severe.

Tip 3: How to Unclog A Sink Drain with A Plunger and Drain Snake 

if you own a double sink and you’re wondering how to unclog a double kitchen sink or how to unclog a kitchen sink with standing water

If you own a double sink and you’re wondering how to unclog a double kitchen sink or how to unclog a kitchen sink with standing water, the answer is quite simple. Most homes have plungers either in the bathroom or kitchen, you can also use a drain snake to unclog your sink.

These two tools are inexpensive and easy to use. You can get plungers and drain snake at any hardware store or home center. Plungers with larger rubber bells deliver more thrust but will work for kitchen drains.

Before purchasing plungers make sure they have a stout handle so you can apply plenty of force to unclog the sink.

A drain snake is also called a hand auger and depending on the size, length and turning mechanism, it can be cheap or expensive. For a versatile drain snake, buy a 3/8 inches model that is about 20 feet long. This model is easy to turn down into the drain. The shorter models that are ¼ inches will work for most clogs as well. Always have other items handy such as a bucket, plastic bin (that can fit under your drain), rubber gloves and a good flashlight.

To unclog a drain, hold a wet cloth tightly over one sink drain to seal it and set the plunger over the other drain. Plunge up and down vigorously for about 20 seconds. Roll the head of the plunger into the water so you can force water, not air, into the drain. Continue plunging for several minutes, if the clog persists.

Other Ways You Can Use to Unclog A Sink

Clogs that happen in the P-trap and trap arm of the drain are mostly due to excessive grease or coffee grounds. If the plunging did not work, disassemble and clean out the P-trap. Clean the water on the sink to reduce the flow, then put a pan or bucket underneath and let the dirty water flow. Loosen the slip nut on the trap arm assembly and the continuous taste tee and wiggle the trap free.

Unscrew the slip nut between the P-trap and the trap arm first, then the nut at the bottom of the waste tee. Clean out any debris from the P-trap. Inspect both the P-trap and trap arm for cracks or weak walls. If they are worn out, replace it to avoid problems in the future. Re-install the P-trap and test the line with warm water.

Snaking a Drain 

To use a drain snake, loosen the setscrew at the tip of the snake and pull out 6 to 10 in. Of cable. Then tighten the setscrew and spin the drain snake down into the drain line. There might be an initial obstruction, but it's likely that the tip of the snake is just turning a corner. Loosen the setscrew, pull out another 6 to 10 in. Of cable and continue to feed the snake into the line. Remove the cable once the gunk has come out, reassemble the drain trap and flush the drain with hot water from the tap to clear the remaining debris.

Tiffany Wong