SAVE MONEY: 3 DIY TRICKS TO UNCLOG YOUR SINK WITHOUT A PLUMBING BACKGROUND
On top of being a serious inconvenience, clogged sinks are a plumbing nightmare that is not only threat to your health because they make a home for bacteria that causes diseases but it also makes your home or workspace unwelcoming with strong smells that attract all sorts of pests. And so, it is ideal to be able to understand what causes your sinks to clog and what to do when it happens to save yourself some time and spare yourself the discomfort. With the current state of things in the economy it is also a plus to be able to get under the sink yourself and deal with it. This guide will help you do just that.
It’s usually a blocked drainpipe that causes the water on your sink not to flow down. Unclogging sinks doesn’t necessarily require an engineering degree or a plumbing background. This guide will teach you easy ways to unclog your sink even when you know nothing about plumbing. It is worth mentioning though that this does not mean you should always resort to DIY solutions, having a professional and experienced plumber is always the best resort to getting your plumbing problems fixed.
Before we dive into the clogging solution, it is important to understand what causes the problem in the first place.
Why is your drainpipe clogged?
Different drainpipes are clogged for different reasons. Your kitchen drainpipe is clogged because of cooking grease that’s stuck on the drainpipe walls and food residue that’s tough to dissolve. It’s a no-brainer that we ignore the little residue from containers with food leftovers and assume that the drainpipes can take it. Since it’s just a little bit of food so it won’t make a difference? Wrong! As a matter of fact, it does.
Your bathroom drainpipe is clogged because of build-up of dust, skin flakes and hair that binds itself with soap scum. Hair is among the major causes for clogged drainpipes in the bathroom. When hair clumps get caught in the drain and mix up with soap residue, it gets stuck to the walls of the drainpipe and it doesn’t take long for it cause drainpipe blockage.
So, it’s usually the substances that can’t be dissolved and those prone to building up that are the common culprits of sink clogs, wherever that sink may be located.
But luckily, it’s a problem that can go away easily.
Here are the 3 easy ways to unclog your sink at home.
1. BAKING SODA AND WHITE VINEGAR
Yes, you can unclog your sink using baking soda and white vinegar. Remember those chemistry classes that most of us are guilty of zoning out in? We were taught when base and acid combine, a reaction happens. In this case, the base is baking soda and the acid is white vinegar. When baking soda and white vinegar mix, they create a foaming chemical reaction that loosens the debris coated on your kitchen or bathroom drain. And when the blockages are broken up, the still water on your sink begins to flow down the drain, business as usual!
What you need to Unclog your Sink Drainpipe using Baking Soda and White Vinegar:
- 2 liters of hot water (use lukewarm or cold water if you have plastic pipes)
- 1 cup of baking soda
- 1 cup of white vinegar
How to Unclog your Sink Drainpipe using Baking Soda and White Vinegar
Step 1. Empty your sink using a cup so you can have a clear space to work on it. Do this if your sink has stagnant water that won’t go down the drain
Step 2. Pour 1 liter of hot water directly down the drain. This makes the junk swell to allow an effective baking soda and white vinegar mix.
NOTE: Use lukewarm or cold water instead if you have plastic pipes to avoid damaging them.
Step 3. Pour 1 cup of baking soda directly down the drain and let it sit for 10 minutes to dissolve into the water.
Step 4. After 10 Minutes, pour 1 cup of white vinegar directly down the drain.
You will notice a foaming reaction after the vinegar mixes with the baking soda, it is a sign that the debris is being cleared by the mixture.
Step 5. Add another liter of water directly down the drain again.
Step 6. Run the tap for 5 minutes to clear away any additional debris. (You may need to repeat the process a couple of times to completely clear the clog)
2. PLASTIC STRAW TO UNCLOG YOUR SINK DRAINPIPE
Poking your drain can get the debris moving and allow water to flow down. A drain snake is perfect for pulling out hair from your bathroom sink. And yes, there are alternatives to drain snakes. Alternatives to drain snakes are metal wires, power cords, bendable metal hangers and plastic straws.
What you to unclogging your sink drainpipe using a plastic straw
- A plastic straw
- A pair of scissors
- A pair of gloves
- Tissue paper and a rubbish bin
- An empty bucket
How to use a Plastic Straw to Unclog Your Drainpipe:
Make sure you wear gloves before starting this process for general safety and hygiene.
Step 1. Use a pair of scissors to slightly cut the plastic straw horizontally from the tip to the end. Leave half an inch of space between the cuts.
The cut must be slight so that when you bend the straw, it’s still intact but it has exposed cuts along it.
Step 2. Empty the sink using a cup by scooping the still water and pouring it into a bucket.
Step 3. Lower the Plastic Straw down the drain and scrape its walls while rotating it in different patterns continuously to trap the gunk from all angles (gloves come in handy in during this process as it gets messy).
Step 4. Carefully pull the straw out to reveal the debris that caused the drainpipe blockage.
Step 5. Clean the plastic straw with tissue paper and discard the debris.
NOTE: In case the plastic straw is no longer usable, have an extra one or two ready prepared as shown on step 1 above.
Step 6. Repeat the process until the drain is clear, you will be pulling out less substance with each repetition so you will know when you have cleared most of it out.
Step 7. Run the hot tap for a few minutes or pour a continuous flow of hot water down the drain to clear any residual debris (use cold water if you have plastic pipes or fixtures to avoid damage).
3. REMOVING AND CLEANING THE DRAINPIPE
If method 1 and 2 don’t do the trick then it’s time to get your hands a bit dirtier.
What you need:
- A bucket: You need a bucket when you want to disconnect the sink drainpipes so that it catches the water stuck in the pipes when it gushes out.
- A face mask: A face mask will protect you from dirty water that might splatter on your face.
- A pair of gloves: A pair of gloves is useful for protecting your hands from being contaminated with germs and other impurities.
- A wrench (just in case): Most caps can be opened with bare hands, but some are tighter than usual, and a wrench will help loosen them.
DIY How to Clean your Drainpipe and Clear the Sink Clog
Wear your face mask and gloves before starting this process.
Step 1. Shut your water system off. Under the sink, look for a shutoff valve and shut it all the way off. A shutoff valve is a device that allows water to flow to your faucet when turned on. For this process, you need it shut off completely to cut off the water flow.
Step 2. Place a bucket under the sink directly below the pipes.
Step 3. Unscrew the cap under the elbow pipe beneath your sink. Use your hands to do this, if the cap feels too tight then it’s time for the wrench to save the day.
Slowly disconnect the pipes where they meet to release the drain to reveal the source of the clog and clear it.
It’s important to do it slowly to avoid dirty water gushing all over you. After disconnecting the pipes, water will spill out and you’ll allow it to pour into the bucket you’ve placed beneath the pipes.
Step 4. You can use a draining snake or plastic straw and poke the drain to see what’s clogging it. You can have your plastic straw ready as explained in method 2 to allow easy handling of the junk that’s clogging the drainpipes.
Step 5. Clean the drainpipe with soap and water (using hot water is a good option of your fixtures are not plastic). Scrape away and get rid of any debris you will find lodged in the drain system.
Step 6. Screw the cap back on to reattach the pipe carefully and tightly to avoid water leakage.
Step 7. Turn your water system back on from the shutoff valve.
Step 8. Run the tap for a few minutes and let water flow down your sink. Carefully observe the waterflow down the drain to determine whether the problem is solved. You may additionally check under the sink to make sure everything has been refastened properly and there are no leaks.
After this step, the blockage shouldn’t be a problem anymore since you’ve cleaned the draining pipe.
Do you need a plumber to unclog your sink? Call our emergency plumbing any time, we’re available 24 hours. Plumbing is our specialty and we are happy to fix your clogged sinks.