How to Unclog a Sink

Steps to Unclog Your Sink

When it comes to a clogged drain and how to fix it, there are rarely one-size-fits-all solutions to your problems. Depending on your sink and clog, there can be a number of potential obstructions and remedies. Too often, people follow poor advice or use destructive products to unclog their drain. The reality is this can waste time, money, and end up causing more damage to a sink or pipes in the process.

Instead of taking a shortcut to partially unclog your sink once, we recommend you read our handy guide to unclogging a sink by using the proper resources. That way you’ll know when to handle the problem on your own or consult a plumbing professional for the best results.

5 tips on how to unclog a sink (and when you should call for backup)

Plumbing service isn’t all magic, and there are times when knowing a simple fix can save you a significant headache. However, many times something that seems like an easy solution will create long-term damage or not get the job done at all. Thus, familiarize yourself with a plan for your particular sink and drain set up so you can know when it’s a home remedy vs. a professional cleanup.

  • Disposal
    If your kitchen sink or any other drain has a garbage disposal, running it should be your first attempt to clear a superficial blockage. Run cold water any time you are using your disposal, and make sure to remove any large items you can see before running it – and we can’t stress the importance of making sure it is off before interacting with the drain.

    While a garbage disposal is a feature of many kitchen sinks, it is not necessarily present in all of them. If your drain doesn’t have a disposal but you would like to replicate this treatment, we recommend using a handheld auger or go straight to plunging.

Read More – Chapter 4: How to Clean Smelly Drains


  • Plunging
    How to plunge a sink: Clearing a clogged sink doesn’t have to require professional help – but knowing when it does is essential. If your drain is draining slowly, it might be able to be flushed out with running water and light plunging. However, if it is completely blocked, do not use home chemicals or add water; professional service is necessary in these instances.
  • Clean the U-Pipe/drain trap
    How to clean your drain trap: Grab a bucket and place it under the P-trap or U-bend. If there is water buildup, it will rush into the bucket as you clear the line. Unscrew the threaded caps on either side of the bent portion of the pipe, being careful not to damage any of the surrounding structure. From there, clean the bent section of debris, buildup, or any other material that might have gotten trapped. Reattach it and test your sink to see if your issue has been solved.
  • Snake the Drain
    How to snake a drain: You’re going to need a plumber’s snake- there are manual models or ones with attached electric drills for extra clearance. Wearing rubber gloves and goggles, feed the line slowly down the clogged pipe – it may take a few tries. Once you’ve gotten the snake to the blockage, rotate the tool to break up the gunk and grab hold of it. If the blockage is solid, use the auger head to pierce and turn to break it free. Remove the snake from the drain and test to see if your drain is now clog free.

  • Eco-Friendly Drain Cleaners
    There are several ways to unclog a sink without using toxic chemicals, including:

    • Baking Soda and Vinegar: Clean the area around your sink before pouring 1:1 parts vinegar and baking soda down the drain – usually about ½ cup. Plug your drain and let the solution sit for an hour before running water until it runs cleanly through.
    • Baking Soda and Salt: This is another good substitute that should take care of many DIY-able clogs including light grease build up. Mix about ½ cup of each and pour it down the drain, letting it rest for several hours. Clear out with a hot water flush.
    • Baking Soda, Lemon Juice, and Boiling Water: This solution will both clean and freshen your drain without causing it harm. Pour it down the affected pipes and then wait an hour before running water to test the process.

Read More: Maintain, Service & Unclog Your Drains: A Guide for Homeowners

These are all mild, eco-friendly cleaners that should be able to rid you of some light drain clogs. However, when the blockages are caused by more insidious or larger materials, you will likely need stronger products or professional assistance. The reality is that most chemical cleaners will not mitigate your problem long term, and are going to end up being a waste of time and money more often than not. 

How much is a plumber to unclog a sink?

While there are many similarities in typical household sinks, drains, and plumbing needs, it is important to realize that your home, region, and plumber will have varying costs. Thus, keep these things in mind when assessing potential remedies for a clog:

  • Top-notch service is worth it: Cutting corners with quick fixes or using unlicensed bargain ‘professionals’ is a risky game to play with your plumbing. If the best technicians are willing to inspect and solve all your problems for a slightly higher premium, it will save you a bundle long-term when the problems stay gone for much longer.
  • Many home remedies are delaying the inevitable: If you are unable to fully clean to the depth and quality of a professional, you might just be delaying a visit. This is especially true for chemical cleaners that will give you hope in the form of minor unclogs, but not truly drain anything other than your bank account.
  • Your time is valuable: Unless you are a plumber, you are not getting paid to work on home drain clogs. If you are a plumber, we doubt you’re reading this guide. Ultimately, the time and stress it takes to fix moderate-to-severe clogs can add up quickly. Thus, once you try some simpler methods to no avail, it’s time to let the professionals step in.

Read More: Chapter 5: 6 Critical Steps to Take When You Have a Leaking Pipe

In trying to appraise the potential cost of a fix, the best method is to get multiple quotes from reputable plumbing companies. The honest and thorough professionals will save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.

Professional Unclogging Services with Deer Valley Plumbing

At Deer Valley Plumbing, we know that clearing a clog will also help clear your mind. We’ve spent decades saving people time, money, and stress by providing the most effective drain cleaning & clearing solutions in Phoenix. We pride ourselves on the most responsible processes and up-front communication so that you can enjoy your fixtures normally.

If you have a clog or other plumbing issues that need to be solved, don’t waste any more time – reach out today for full-service plumbing solutions.


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