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Sink backed up? Here are some tips.

November 9, 2023

A clogged or backed-up sink can be a frustrating and inconvenient household issue. Whether it's your kitchen sink full of food scraps or your bathroom sink filled with hair, knowing how to handle the situation can save you time and money.

Gather Your Tools

Before you start tackling the clog, make sure you have the right tools and supplies on hand. You'll need:

Remove Standing Water

If there's standing water in the sink, use a bucket or towels to remove as much as possible. This will make it easier to work on the clog without creating a mess.

Try the Plunger

A plunger is a great tool for clearing simple sink clogs. Here's how to use it:

  • Fill the sink with enough water to cover the plunger.
  • Place the plunger over the drain and ensure it forms a seal.
  • Push and pull the plunger vigorously for about 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this process a few times until the water starts draining. If it does, the clog is likely cleared.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

If the plunger doesn't work, try a natural and environmentally friendly method. This chemical reaction can help break down any organic material causing the clog.

  • Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • Follow it with 1/2 cup of vinegar.
  • Cover the drain with a cloth or stopper to keep the mixture from bubbling out.
  • Wait for about 15 minutes.
  • Flush the drain with hot, boiling water.

Check the P-Trap

If the clog persists, it may be in the P-trap, the curved pipe beneath the sink:

  • Place a bucket under the P-trap to catch any water or debris.
  • Use a pipe wrench to loosen and remove the P-trap carefully.
  • Clean out any debris inside the trap.
  • Reattach the P-trap and tighten it securely.

Try a Snake or Auger

For stubborn clogs that the plunger and chemical solution can't clear, use a snake or auger:

  • Insert the snake into the drain and turn the handle clockwise as you push it down.
  • Keep feeding the snake until you encounter resistance.
  • Rotate the snake to break up or hook onto the clog.
  • Slowly pull the snake out, bringing the clog with it.

Reassemble and Test

Once the clog is cleared, reassemble the P-trap (if you removed it), tighten it, and run hot water to flush out any remaining debris. Test the sink by running water to ensure it's draining properly.

Prevent Future Clogs

To prevent future sink clogs, consider these preventive measures:

  • Use a drain strainer to catch debris.
  • Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain.
  • Regularly clean the drain with the baking soda and vinegar method.
  • Schedule professional plumbing maintenance if you experience frequent clogs.

Dealing with a clogged or backed-up sink may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and methods, you can usually clear the issue without calling a plumber. Remember to stay patient and persistent, and always take preventative measures to minimize future clogs. A well-maintained sink will keep your daily routines running smoothly. If you’re in need of some drain extra support, we have some great friends we can refer you to.

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