- If you think the sink drain is blocked with natural products, such as food or oil, then use cleaning products to break down the blockage.
- A plunger is best for actual objects that may have become lodged in the pipes.
- If you’re unsure what's causing the blockage, always start with cleaning products.
- Limit the amount of food or oil going down your sink by using a plughole filter.
No matter how careful we are, sinks can become blocked relatively easily. This is particularly true of kitchen sinks, as tiny pieces of food can get lodged in the pipes. Let’s get one thing straight: there is no such thing as a permanently blocked drain (you can read more about unblocking clogged drains here). All you need is the right products and the right techniques, and you’ll unblock that sink in no time.
How to Unblock a Sink: Efficient Products
To unblock sink drains using cleaning products, you’ll firstly want to make sure you have the right products to hand. The most effective option is a store-bought sink unblocker like Domestos Sink and Pipe Unblocker, in which case you will simply need to read the label and follow any instructions and safety precautions.
Alternatively, you can try weaker combination of baking soda and white vinegar. On opposite ends of the pH scale, baking soda and vinegar create a reaction when they meet, and this is what causes natural blockages to break down. Simply place a tablespoon of baking soda in and around the plughole of the sink, and pour over enough vinegar to cause the mixture to foam dramatically. Leave for 5 minutes before running hot water down the drain until the water drains quickly from the sink – a sure fire sign that the blockage has been removed.
Bear in mind, however, that this method does not smell the most pleasant!
Unblocking Sinks Using a Plunger
If the above method fails to produce results, or if you know for sure that the blockage is a foreign object in the drains (for example, a child’s plastic toy), then it’s time to dig out the plunger.
- Make sure to use a sink plunger when you are unblocking a sink – a toilet plunger will not be effective.
- There’s actually more to using a plunger than you might think, but it’s certainly not difficult. One trick is to make sure that the overflow is blocked. You can do this by placing a damp cloth over the overflow and holding it tightly. If the overflow isn’t blocked, the air you’re pushing through will simply redirect to the overflow and you won’t have enough pressure in the pipes to dislodge the object.
- Next, place the plunger over the plughole and ensure there’s a tight seal (wetting the plunger will make this much easier).
- Pump up and down quickly to build up air pressure in the pipes – this is the key to forcing the object out of the drains.
- Repeat a few times and then check the trap for the object. If you haven’t cleaned the trap for a while, you may notice quite a bit of food matter, debris, and hair in there, so take this opportunity to give it a good clean.
Sink Blockage Prevention
We’re not perfect, and we can’t remove the risk of sink blockages from our lives completely. What we can do, however, is learn how to reduce the occurrences of blockages. The most important thing is to limit the amount of food and oil that could potentially slip down your sink. Try placing a filter on your plughole – this will allow you to catch large pieces of food and throw them out without touching them. Pour used oil into a plastic container (once cooled, of course), and throw it in the bin. Ideally, water and soap are the only things that should be passing through those drains.
Don’t forget, use biocides carefully, and always protect your hands with gloves!