The first and most basic way to unclog a sink drain is by using boiling water. Boil a pot of water and slowly pour it down the drain in shifts, waiting a few seconds between each pour. The hot water will melt soap scum and loosen grime or solids to help clear the blockage.
A clogged drain sends most homeowners running for a bottle of caustic drain cleaner or the plumber’s phone number. But it is often possible to remove a stubborn clog with items you already have at home.
Boiling water is often enough to break up grease clogs and other debris that accumulates over time. Simply pour boiling water down the drain. You can also mix baking soda and salt to create a natural scouring mixture and pour it down the drain.
Just be careful not to damage your PVC pipes with this method. PVC can melt if exposed to high heat for long periods of time.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a household staple with many uses, including cleaning stinky drains. It also has disinfectant properties that can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria and fungi.
Pour a large pot of scalding hot water down the drain to loosen gunk, then dump in one cup of baking soda. It’s important to use a 1:1 ratio of baking soda to vinegar so that the chemicals have enough gas to react properly.
Expect to hear a loud fizzing reaction as the two ingredients mix together and start breaking down the gunk that’s causing your clog. Wait for the fizzing to stop, then flush the drain with another pot of boiling water.
Using vinegar to unclog a sink drain is an old-fashioned, time-tested lifehack that’s getting a new generation of users excited after a TikTok challenge went viral. Mixing equal parts baking soda and vinegar creates a fizzing, clog-busting chemical reaction.
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, a base, and vinegar is an acid. The two react to neutralize each other, causing water and carbon dioxide bubbles that jostle a clog and dissolve grime.
Once the reaction is done, heat up a pot of boiling water and pour it down the drain to flush the pipes. If the clog persists, call a plumber. They can help with harder-to reach clogs that require more than DIY solutions. Sites such as https://www.fixitrightplumbing.com.au/plumber-canberra/ will have all the information you need for plumbing services.
Often, sink drains become clogged by soap scum, hair, lint and other debris that clump together inside the pipe. Rather than calling in a plumber, you can try one of the simple home-based methods listed below to clear your drain.
First, remove any standing water in the sink. Place a towel or rag over the sink overflow hole to prevent any water from escaping.
Next, pour a cup of salt and a cup of baking soda down the drain. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes and then flush with boiling water. This should break up light clogs and clear away the remaining gunk.
A drain snake—also called a hand auger—consists of a drum and cable with a corkscrew end that fits into and breaks apart clogs. It’s important to wear rubber gloves when using a snake and have a trash bag or can to dispose of the debris it pulls up.
Start by removing the p-trap (the curved section of pipe underneath your sink). You can usually loosen and remove this by hand. Next, feed the snake down the pipe and keep rotating the handle so it grinds against the clog. Once you feel the snake catch on something, slowly crank it back up and pull both the snake and clog out of the pipe.
You probably have a wire coat hanger lying around, and it’s just as useful for unclogging your drain as it is for hanging your clothes. Bend the end of the hanger to make a hook, and push it down the drain to catch any hair or other debris that might be blocking your pipe.
Just be sure to use a wire hanger that can handle the heat and avoid bending it too much. You should also run water through the drain afterward to see if it’s cleared. If not, it may be time to call a plumber. Clogged drains can quickly turn into dangerous and expensive problems.