A clogged sink is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Unable to wash dishes or cook in peace, you are stuck until the pipes have been cleared up.
Fortunately, some of the items in your pantry can be a great help to clean up this messy situation. Here are seven tricks that can help you to clear up an overflowing sink.
Reasons For Clogging
The build-up from food, grease, hair, and small objects are the common culprits of drain blockage.
Food often gets deposited in the J-trap. The sticky layer in the pipes from the grease can trap small objects, which leads to further clogging of the pipes. On the other hand, bathroom sinks can quickly turn into a cesspool of hair when it binds with sticky substances.
Your sink pipes don’t only attract scum, soap, and minerals in hard water but also tree roots. These roots grow through tiny leaks in the plumbing and can lead to extensive blockage.
7 Simple Tips for Cleaning Your Sink
Getting your hands dirty to clean the clogged sink is inevitable when fixing a clogged drain. We have compiled some DIY and home remedies to clean your sink and restore it to its former glory.
Boiling water is the best fix to dislodge the debris, food residue, and grease clogging the pipe. This simple method is the first one you should try out for clogged sinks.
First, use a kettle or a pot to boil half a gallon of water. Then slowly pour the water down the drain being careful to avoid the risk of splashing.
After a while, turn on the tap and check whether the water is draining steadily. If the water is at a standstill or draining too slowly, repeat the process a second time.
Failure after the second try is an indication to move on to another method as the clog is too stubborn to be loosened by boiling water.
A firm reminder that this method should be avoided at all costs if your sink is connected to PVC pipes. The hot water can damage or even melt your plastic pipes.
Another handy home remedy is using a saltwater technique. This super-easy trick only needs two steps.
- Take half a gallon of water in a pot and add ½ cup of salt.
- Bring the water to a boil and then pour the water down the drain slowly. Once the water has passed, wait 15 mins and then flush the drain using hot water without any salt.
3-Vinegar and Baking Soda Combo
This tried-and-tested method has been used for a myriad of other home remedies including unclogging stubborn drains. The effectiveness of the vinegar-baking soda lies in the chemical reaction it creates.
The mixture causes a bubbling reaction which when comes in contact with the scum, breaks them into smaller pieces that can be flushed down the drain.
- Boil half a gallon of water and pour it down the sink to loosen up the food particles, similar to the boiling technique mentioned earlier.
- Then, use a wooden spatula or plastic spoon to push one cup of baking soda down the sink and let it sit for some time. Metal objects are better avoided to do this step for the risk of scraping the sink.
- Now pour one cup of white distilled vinegar and plug the sink with a stopper for at least 15 min. The ensuing effervescent reaction will cause a clog to loosen up. Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a boil.
- Then pour the boiling water down the drain again to flush out the vinegar-soda mixture.
Repeat this process multiple times to completely clear up the obstruction as well as prevent future clogs.
4–Take Out The Trash
A silent culprit of drainage issues can be your sink’s garbage disposal unit. Usually turning on the disposal breaks up the clog and solves the issue.
In the event that the disposal isn’t working, another alternative is resetting the disposal using the switch on the side or bottom of the unit.
A low thrumming sound on turning on the disposal is an indication of a jammed or broken unit.
First, turn off the power and then break the clog manually by using an Allen wrench to twist the blades through the hole at the bottom of the disposal until the resistance gives away.
Then test your disposal by turning the power back on and then turning the faucet to check the drainage.
Always keep in mind that under no circumstances stick your bare hands to the sink disposal. If you are unsure about doing the procedure on your own, call in a professional to avoid the risk of any accidents.
5-Clear the P-Trap
The elbow-shaped pipe beneath the sink that is used to prevent sewer gas from going up the drain to your home is the P-trap.
The nook of the piping is a common place for food residue, debris, and grease to become stuck and block off water drainage over time. Cleaning it regularly will prevent this build-up.
As this cleaning procedure requires you to disassemble the pipe and clear the blockage, be prepared with goggles, gloves, and towels to clear up the mess.
- Place a bucket or container under the P-trap to catch runoff water and debris.
- Unscrew the coupling nuts connecting the drain pipe and overflow pipe to the trap.
- Remove the trap and clean the residue, grime, and blockage using a bottle brush or rag.
- Then reconnect the trap and turn on the faucet to run water down the drain. Make sure to check for any leaks.
The old, handy plunger is a trustworthy tool to rescue you when other methods don’t seem to make much progress. Always keep a different plunger for your kitchen and your toilet to prevent cross-contamination.
A flat-bottomed plunger is best for the job. Here’s how you go about the process:
- Stopper the sink overflow slot to prevent the escape of air. Alternatively, you can half-fill the sink with hot water to create a seal.
- Position the plunger over the drain and quickly move it in an up-down motion multiple times.
- Remove the plunger to check whether the water drains down. If not, repeat the process.
The home plumber sleuth can try the plumber’s snake to clear up the blockage. This long metal cable has a handle on one end and an uncoiled spring on the opposite end to help it wind through the piping system to break the clog manually.
There are also electric plumber’s snakes available but if you don’t have either, a coat hanger and pair of pliers can be used to craft a make-shift one.
- Place a bucket beneath the sink to collect the runoff water. Then remove the P-trap as discussed above. Then insert the snake through the wall’s access point.
- If you decide to keep the P-trap, insert the spring end into the drain.
- Uncoil the snake and move the handle back and forth to break down the clog. Ensure not to scrape the surface to avoid damaging the pipes.
- Repeat until you feel no resistance which means the clog has cleared up. Now reassemble the pipe.
You have taken care of the clog in your sink but as a result, the kitchen has turned into a warzone. The work isn’t over yet. You need to make quick work of the mess to avoid damage to the walls, floors, and potential mold under your sink.
Clean all the surfaces with detergent and mop the floors. Then turn on the fans to ventilate and dry the room. Keep the pantry doors open during the drying process.
Chemical cleaners are a popular choice for unblocking cogs. You only need to pour in the cleaning agents and call it a day.
However, there are serious consequences to this. The harsh chemicals in the cleaning products can slowly wear on your pipes, especially PVC ones.
In addition, these are usually irritants that can damage your eyes and skin if it comes into contact. Furthermore, the lungs can be damaged if the fumes are inhaled.
They are also detrimental to the environment and can leak into water sources as well as damage plants and kill animals if consumed.
Clearing Up Mold
Mold should always be dealt with swiftly. Cleaning under the sink and other surfaces with a mixture of 1 cup of laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water should do the trick.
Prevent Future Clogs
“Prevention is better than cure.” A clean kitchen is the best gift for a clean freak. Here are a few tricks to avoid similar situations in the future.
- Keep your pipes hair- and food-free with a sink guard
- Keep the P-trap clear.
- Install garbage disposal to grind up food waste.
- Break up fats and grease using cold water when using your garbage disposal but hot water to melt light grease deposits in the drain.
- Avoid using the sink as a garbage disposal for food, coffee grounds, or other kitchen wastes.
- Dispose of food debris like bones or shells down the drain.
- Pour chemicals like paints, and cleaners down the drain.
These simple tricks are often enough to unclog any of your sinks. If the issue is frequent or you are unsure how to go about it, calling a professional might be the best choice.
Keeping your sink pipe system clear will keep your kitchen clean which is an essential part of food hygiene. Avoid dumping food down the drain and regularly cleaning the pipes and clogged sinks will be a thing of the past.