Sink clogs, in both your kitchen and bathroom sinks, are extremely common. While they can be very frustrating at the time, there are plenty of ways that you can unclog your kitchen sink and get it back and working again. The good news is, a clogged sink issue is typically much easier to fix at home than a problem with a faucet, and most homeowners can do these repairs on their own.
Most of these approaches require little plumbing experience and only use a few everyday household items. However, if you continue to experience clogging in your sink after trying these approaches, then you may want to consider calling in a professional plumber for further assistance. Here are a few ways that you can try to unclog any household sink.
How to Unclog a Sink With a Plunger
A bathroom plunger can be your best friend when it comes to unclogging your sink. All you need is your plunger, a rag or washcloth, and your clogged sink. Here’s how to use it the right way.
- When plunging a double sink, start by stuffing the washcloth into the unclogged drain. This will help ensure the plunger’s pressure is going into the clogged side of the sink. If you only have a single bowl, start with #2.
- Fill the sink with hot water. Get the water as hot as possible and let the water run until the sink is half full.
- Position the plunger over the clogged drain.
- Quickly start pressing up and down with the plunger for at least 15-30 seconds.
- Carefully pull the plunger off the drain opening. Since the plunger created a suction against the sink bowl, it may take some effort to get it off.
- See if the water starts to drain out of the clogged sink.
- If this doesn’t work the first time, repeat the process two to three times. If the sink has a deep, it may take several attempts to free your drain.
How to Unclog a Sink With a Wire Hanger
If you feel that your sink has a major blockage such as a ball of hair or a large obstruction, then you can typically use a wire hanger to get it out. Here’s how to do it.
- Straighten an old wire hanger as much as possible.
- Create a small hook on the end of the hanger so it looks like a fishing hook. Make sure the bend is still small enough to fit inside the sink drain.
- Gently slide the wire hanger down the drain, leading with the hook side. Press the hanger against the side of the pipe, instead of down the middle of the drain so that you have a better chance of getting passed the clog. Pushing down through the middle of the drain can actually lodge the obstruction further.
- When you feel resistance from the hook, twist the hanger to hook the object. This may take several tries, but you will feel it and know when the blockage is attached to the hook.
- Carefully pull the wire back up through the drain to remove as much of the obstruction as you can.
Run hot water from the sink over the drain to push the remaining particles through the sink. If the sink fails to drain completely, you can follow up with the plunger or vinegar approach to remove the leftover remnants of the clog.
How to Unclog a Sink Using Vinegar and Baking Soda
You can often easily get stubborn clogs out of your sink using the common household items vinegar and baking soda,
- A pair of rubber gloves or dish gloves
- Cup or bowl
- Measuring cup
- Large bucket
- Baking soda
- 4 cups of boiling water
Directions for unclogging your sink
- With your supplies ready, put on your rubber gloves and begin by using your cup to get any standing water out of the sink. Pour the excess water into a bucket.
- Measure one cup of baking soda and pour it down your sink drain. Take a spatula and make sure to press the baking soda down into the opening.
- Measure one cup of vinegar and pour it down the sink right after the baking soda. Put the sink stopper in so the vinegar can’t bubble upwards and is forced towards the clog.
- Allow the vinegar and baking soda mixture to sit for at least five minutes.
- Open the stopper and run hot water down the sink, this should loosen up the clog.
- If the sink doesn’t seem to drain as fast as it should, then pour four cups of boiling water down the drain.
- Repeat this process if necessary.
How to Unclog a Sink with A Cable Auger
You can also attack your sink clog from underneath your sink instead of through the drain. Here’s how to use a cable auger to unclog your sink.
- Open the cabinet under your sink to reveal the sink pipe.
- Place a bucket underneath the pipe so you can catch any water that may drip out during the process.
- Detach the trap of the pipe which is the curved portion that dips down low. You can typically unscrew this portion of the pipe with your hands, or you may need to use a pipe wrench.
- Empty the water from the pipe into your bucket. Check the trap for clogs and clean them out if necessary. The trap is typically where clogs occur.
- Reattach the trap and run hot water through the sink to see if it now drains. If the sink is still clogged, get out your cable auger.
- Remove the trap and the horizonal pipe that connects the trap to the opening in your wall.
- Using the cable auger, put it into the opening which leads to the stub pipe. Press the auger into this pipe until you feel resistance.
- Pull the pipe out about 12-18 inches from where you felt resistance.
- Tighten the lock screw on the auger by rotating it clockwise and pushing forward. This will guide the auger deeper into the stub pipe.
- If the auger catches on something, you will feel it. When this happens stop and turn the handle counter clockwise and start pulling the auger back towards you.
- Once you have removed the clog, pull the cable out from the stub pipe entirely.
- Reattach the horizontal pipe and the trap.
Now you can turn on the hot water to test the drainage. If it is draining better, but still not as fast as you would like, you can use the plunger method to further loosen the clog. Repeat these methods as necessary to unclog your drain.