How to Unclog a Sink Drain

A clogged sink leads to a dirty kitchen–making it unpleasant to work with. It is therefore important to know how to unclog a sink even before you call the plumber.

Knowing how to do it will make you become more independent and it will even save you money! However, if all your efforts fail after doing all the steps below, you may now call in the plumber.

Tools Needed

  •  Plunger
  • Drain Snake
  •  Pliers
  • Allen Wrench
  • Clamps
  • Pipe Wrench

Materials Needed

  •  Baking Soda
  • White Vinegar


Step 1: Use a Plunger to Clear the Blockage

You may start to unclogging the sink using a plunger. Fill the sink with 3 to 4 inches of water to ensure that the plunger is sealed around the drain. Cover the drain with a piece of a wet rag and hold it tightly.

Plunge the drain vigorously for about 20 seconds. As you plunge, roll the head of the plunger to ensure that water is being forced down the drain and not air. During the last upstroke, for extra pressure, pop the mouth of the plunger off the mouth of the drain.

If the water in the sink doesn’t go down the drain, repeat the above procedure for several more seconds. This should unclog the sink and if not, you go to the next step.

Take note that plunging can be messy, as the water spills over, so have towels ready to wipe off the mess.

Step 2: Clean the P-Trap and the Trap Arm

The P-Trap and the arm trap are the set of pipes found under the sink.

As there is water in the sink, sponge most of it out before disassembling the P-trap. Place a bucket underneath the trap for the extra water to flow in. Then disassemble the P-trap gently with pliers to avoid damage.

Clean out any dirt in the P-trap and replace it. Run warm water into the sink to see if it flows.  Disassemble the clamp arm and clean it too.

If there is no flow, take the next step.

Step 3: Use a Drain Snake

A snake drain is a piece of cable that is used to reach the deeper parts of the drain line. It is one of the most effective tools that helps you unclog a sink.

Unscrew about 10 inches of the cable and set the screw. Insert it in the drain line. Continue adding on its length by unscrewing more and feeding it into the drain. As you feed it into the drain, you will encounter resistance. Turn the drain snake around as the tip will unclog the dirt and turn around corners.

As you turn the snake, the tension on the cable will reduce when the clog is cleared. Turn it counterclockwise to remove it from the drain. It’ll come out carrying a lot of dirt so have a bucket ready to receive the dirt. Clean the extra dirt and repeat the process until there is no more resistance on the drain. Reassemble the trap and run warm water again to clear out the dirt.

After this step, pour ½ cup of white vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda into the drain. Cover both sides of the drain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then run warm water again to flush out the mixture and any remaining dirt. This ensures that you have a flesh and a clean drain.

Lastly, after taking the above steps and water is still being retained in the sink, you may now call in a plumber who will be in a better position to know where the problem is.

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