Drains can become blocked relatively easily, so it helps to know how to unclog a sink. Kitchen sinks are especially prone to becoming blocked to due food pieces and solidified fats that become trapped in the drain, and it can sometimes seem like a permanent blockage. But let’s get one thing straight: there is no such thing as a permanently blocked drain. You just need the right products and techniques to unblock a drain.
Techniques for Unblocking Sinks
The two main methods for dealing with a blocked sink are using cleaning products and using a plunger. The technique you use will be guided by the type of blockage you think you have.
- If the sink appears to be blocked with natural matter like food or oil, then you’re best off using a cleaning product. They’re easy to use – you just need to follow the instructions and safety precautions carefully. These products are very effective in fixing this sort of blockage.
If you believe that the blockage is being caused by something that can’t be broken down – like and object jammed in the pipes – then cleaning products won’t do. Try a plunger in these situations because you might be able to force the object up out of the pipes. If you’re not sure what’s causing the blocked drain, it’s worth trying the commercial cleaning product first, then moving on to the plunger if that doesn’t work. If the blockage is serious and ongoing, it’s best to then call a plumber.
How to Unblock a Sink: Efficient Products
Most kitchen sink blockages are caused by natural matter like food. You can usually tell if you’re dealing with this type of blockage because it’s built up over a long period. If the sink has been emptying increasingly slowly, then you’ve probably been washing bits of food down there and it’s built up to a point that the water can’t flow past.
To use the cleaning products method of cleaning sink drains, you’ll need to make sure you have the right products. The most effective method, which you can pick up at your local supermarket, is a sink unblocker like Domestos Sink and Pipe Unblocker. With these types of products, always read the label and follow the safety instructions.
For a less stubborn blockage, you could try a combination of baking soda and vinegar. Because they’re on opposite ends of the pH scale, baking soda and vinegar create a reaction when they meet which helps blockages naturally break down. Just put a tablespoon of baking soda in and around the plug hole and pour over enough vinegar to create a dramatic foam. Leave it for five minutes before running hot water down the drain until it drains quickly down the sink.
Bear in mind that this method will not smell very good! It is also essential that you do not also follow or combine this method with any products containing bleach because when bleach and vinegar mix, it creates a toxic chlorine gas.
Be careful when using biocides. Always read the label and product information before use.
How to unclog a sink using a plunger
If the above method doesn’t work effectively, or you’re sure the blockage is a foreign object, then it’s time to grab the plunger.
- Make sure you’re using a sink plunger and not a toilet plunger.
- There’s actually more to using a plunger than you might think. The first thing you need to do is block the overflow by placing a damp cloth over it and holding it tightly. If you don’t block the overflow, you’ll simply be pushing air through it and there won’t be enough pressure to dislodge the object.
- Place the plunger over the plug hole and create a tight seal. Wetting the plunger will make it easier.
- Pump the plunger quickly to build up air pressure in the pipes. This is a key part of forcing the object out of the drain.
- Repeat the steps a few times and then check the trap for the object. This is also a good opportunity to clean all the other food matter and debris that’s in the trap.
Blocked Sink Prevention
It’s impossible to completely remove the risk of a blocked sink, but we can reduce the number of occurrences. Make sure you limit the amount of food and oils that pass down the plug hole. By placing a filter on it, you can catch the larger pieces of food that could cause a blocked sink. Pour cooled used oil into a plastic container and then throw it in the bin. Water and soap should ideally be the only things that pass through your drains. Make sure you’re always careful with biocides and protect your hands with gloves.