Last updated - 15/11/2022
Estimated reading time - 7 minutes
Most sink blockages are caused by the sink’s trap (the U-bend pipe under the sink) being clogged, which results in reduced or completely restricted water flow in the drain. What has clogged your sink’s trap will depend on where the sink is located. Traps in bathrooms are often clogged by a buildup of hair, toothpaste, grime, and soap scum, whereas blocked traps in kitchen sinks are mainly caused by food, cooking grease and oils, and debris.
If you have a slow drain and there is no standing water in the sink, this method could unblock a sink with minimal effort. Mixing baking soda and vinegar creates a fizzy chemical reaction that can loosen or dissolve some minor sink clogs.
How to unblock a sink using baking soda and vinegar:
If this method did not work, or for more stubborn clogs, continue reading for more ways to unblock a sink.
Using a plunger is probably the most popular way to unblock a sink. Plungers use suction and compression to remove clogs. When you push down on the plunger, water and the clog are forced downward, starting the process of loosening the blockage. When you pull up on the plunger, the water in the drain is pulled upward, moving the blockage in the other direction. This push-pull action loosens the clog and moves it away from the walls of the pipe, resulting in it passing through the drain.
How to unblock a sink using a plunger:
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The purpose of using a coat hanger is to reach the obstruction and either push it down or pull it out.
How to unblock a sink using a coat hanger:
For the most stubborn obstructions, you may need to remove and unclog the sink or bottle trap. Sink and bottle traps are designed to retain a small amount of water to provide a water seal between your basin and the external drains. This helps to prevent odours, insects, and bacteria from coming back up the waste pipe and into your sink.
How to unblock a sink by clearing the waste pipe:
The main cause of sink blockages is food being disposed of down the sink, so always use a sinkhole strainer to catch food and debris before they get into the drainage system.
Avoid pouring cooking oil and food grease down the sink, as they could solidify and cause a blockage. Instead, pour them into a jar and put it in the bin. Don’t pour coffee grounds down the sink either. Coffee grounds don’t break up in water, instead, they clump together and can clog your drain. Instead of pouring coffee grounds down the sink, throw them in the food waste bin, or if you have a garden, throw them on your plants or grass. Coffee grounds contain minerals that help promote healthy plant growth.
Knowing how to dispose of food correctly will go a long way toward keeping your sink clog-free.
Run some hot water to flush away any pieces of food or grease that may have gotten through your sinkhole cover before they harden and sit at the bottom of the sink trap.
Not only will cleaning your sink regularly keep it hygienic, but it could also help loosen up and wash away items that could build up and cause a blockage. Some of the chemicals in cleaning products, bleach, washing up liquid, etc will help lubricate the pipework under your sink, which will help potential clogs flow through easier.
If you notice water draining slower than usual, investigate the problem right away before a full blockage occurs. Use the methods outlined to clear partial blockages.
With a Smart Plan cover policy, you can rest easy knowing if there's an issue with your plumbing, we'll usually have you back up and running within 48 hours.
If you have taken the steps outlined in this article and your sink is still blocked, then it is time to call a plumber to repair the issue. Get in touch with us today on 020 8146 3960 to help you with your home’s plumbing problems.