A clogged sink can lead to a handful of problems for homeowners. Without proper treatment, a clogged sink could cause flooding, leading to an expensive clean-up and repair bill. It is important to clean your home’s pipes each month to prevent the pipes from getting backed up with excess grease, hair, sewage, and other things. There are many different things that can cause a drain clog. Usually hair and food are the most common, but if you have children, you know all too well that clogs can result in anything from small toys, to pennies, to rocks. Here are some do-it-yourself sink unclogging tips:
Use Hot Water
Hot boiling water will sometimes help to release the clog. This method should only be used if the pipes are metal. Some types of PVC can melt if boiling hot water is used, so it’s a good idea to check first. This simple method works pretty well if the clog is causing water to drain slowly. Allow the water to drain out completely and then pour the hot water down the drain.
If the clog does not release with the hot water, you can use a plunger. Tape up the sink overflow with duct tape, then use the plunger as normal.
If you happen to have one, you know how much suction these wet-dry vacuums can provide. This one is especially helpful if you have a clog resulting from something like small toys or fish tank rocks. Make sure that your vacuum has the dry dust bag removed for wet usage.
If all else fails, then the sink auger or “snake” is probably the best bet. Extend the snake down into the drain and, when you feel it stop, tighten the screw and turn the crank handle gently. You might have to repeat this process alternating the auger and then hot water down the drain.
Remove the “U” Bend
If you don’t have a sink auger then you can go up under the sink and take the “U” bend of the pipe off with a wrench, and use a coat hanger to remove the clog this way. You will want to put a dishpan or bucket under the “U” bend before you do this, as a lot of water is going to flow out quickly.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Once you have unclogged the drain by whatever means necessary, pouring ½ cup of baking soda followed by 1 to 2 cups of plain white vinegar down the drain will help to prevent future clogs from occurring, and the baking soda will also act as an odor absorber.
Always keep chemicals away from small children and pets. Read the directions thoroughly when using chemical cleaners. Some will require 20-30 minutes of soaking in the drain before you flush the drain with hot water. Others may need to sit overnight to effectively work on removing soap scum and other build-up found on the pipes.
If everything else fails, hire a professional plumber to come test your pipes. Older homes are often prone to a number of problems related to tree roots in the pipes. If this occurs, there are many different procedures the plumber can use before turning to a complete pipe replacement in your home.