How to clean your sink

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How to clean your sink
How to clean your sink

A clogged sink is a big inconvenience, but before calling a plumber, try cleaning it yourself. You can do this by hand, using natural or chemical cleaners. Here are the most common methods you should try to clear blockages.


Method 1 of 3: How to manually clear the blockage

Unclog a Sink Step 1
Unclog a Sink Step 1

Step 1. Unclog the mash with a curved hanger wire

If you suspect your sink is clogged with hair or debris, you could use a hook made from hanger wire to pull it all out.

  • Straighten the hanger wire as much as possible. Bend the end to create a small hook that can fit into the sink drain.
  • Insert the hook into the drain hole. Try to press it against the wall of the drain pipe so as not to push the blockage even deeper.
  • As soon as you feel that you have stumbled upon a blockage, then try to pick it up and pull it out. Try to remove as much debris as possible from the pipe.
  • Turn on the hot water and let it drain into the sink for a few minutes. The water should be as hot as possible and under strong pressure. Turn it off if the sink starts to overflow.
Unclog a Sink Step 2
Unclog a Sink Step 2

Step 2. Use a plunger to clear the blockage

Use a regular plunger and push the blockage vigorously with it.

  • If you have a sink with two drain holes in your kitchen, seal the other hole tightly with a damp cloth.
  • Place the plunger on the drain, holding it straight up.
  • Fill the sink with 7-10 cm of water.
  • Begin to swing the plunger vigorously up and down for 20 seconds, just try not to break anything.
  • Then lift the plunger up sharply.
  • You may need to repeat the process several times before clearing the blockage.
Unclog a Sink Step 3
Unclog a Sink Step 3

Step 3. Clean the siphon

The siphon is often clogged with food waste and debris. It is part of the drain pipe and is located directly under the sink. It can be removed and cleaned by hand.

  • Place a large bucket under the siphon. Water and waste from the pipe will drain into it when you unscrew the siphon.
  • Loosen the siphon nuts with pliers and then unscrew them by hand. Remove the siphon.
  • Remove debris stuck in the siphon with a small metal brush. Then use it to clean the siphon.
  • Rinse the siphon thoroughly under hot water. You can wash it in another sink.
  • Replace the siphon. If any parts show noticeable signs of wear, replace them.
Unclog a Sink Step 4
Unclog a Sink Step 4

Step 4. Use a cable for cleaning

If the blockage is deep in the pipe, you will need a wire rope to remove it.

  • Remove the siphon and any other pipes that connect to the drain pipe in the wall.
  • Unwind 15-25 cm of the rope.
  • Insert the cable into the pipe. Tighten the set screw.
  • While moving the cable through the pipe, rotate the handle clockwise. Any initial resistance will most likely be caused by bends in the pipe.
  • When you get to the blockage, keep rotating the cable until you feel the tip of the cable go through it. You will know this, as the tension in the cable will drastically weaken.
  • Begin to turn the handle counterclockwise to pull the cable out of the pipe. Then wash it off.
  • Repeat the process as needed until you feel the blockage has been removed.

Method 2 of 3: Natural remedies

Unclog a Sink Step 5
Unclog a Sink Step 5

Step 1. Pour boiling water into the sink

Boil a liter of water in a kettle. After the water boils, pour it into the drain hole in two or three approaches, pausing for a few seconds between approaches. Repeat the procedure if necessary.

  • If possible, flush the sink with at least one liter of boiling water. More is possible if you have a roomy kettle.
  • If you don't have a kettle, you can boil water in a saucepan.
  • You can also use a microwave, but boil the water in it at 20-40 second intervals. Keep a wooden stick in the water. Otherwise, the water may become excessively hot and burn yourself.
  • Pour boiling water directly into the drain hole.
  • This method works best for small blockages, but may not be as effective against heavy blockages. In addition, the water should be bubbling when you pour it, as the vibration of the bubbling water partly helps to clear the plug.
Unclog a Sink Step 6
Unclog a Sink Step 6

Step 2. Remove the blockage with baking soda and vinegar

A solution of baking soda with vinegar is very effective because a very violent reaction occurs between them, which helps to get rid of many stubborn plugs in the pipe.

  • Pour half a glass (125 ml) baking soda into the drain hole.
  • Then pour in half a cup (125 ml) of white distilled vinegar.
  • Close the drain plug quickly. This will direct the reaction down the pipes, towards the blockage, and not up into the sink.
  • As soon as the fizzing stops, add another half cup (125 ml) vinegar.
  • Close the hole with a stopper and leave for 15-30 minutes.
  • Boil 4 liters of water in a kettle or saucepan. Pour boiling water into a sink to rinse out any remaining vinegar and baking soda.
Unclog a Sink Step 7
Unclog a Sink Step 7

Step 3. Remove the blockage with salt and baking soda

A mixture of salt, baking soda and water will also create a chemical reaction that can remove most blockages.

  • Mix together 1/2 cup (125 ml) table salt and 1/2 cup (125 ml) baking soda.
  • Pour the mixture carefully into the drain. Pour in as much as possible, and try not to spill the mixture in the sink itself, near the hole. The reaction will only be effective against the blockage when it comes into direct contact with it.
  • Leave the mixture in the tube for 10-20 minutes.
  • Boil 1 to 4 liters of water in a kettle or saucepan. Pour the boiling water carefully into the drain hole.
  • Then plug the hole with a plug as quickly as possible so that the reaction goes down the pipe and not out.
  • A chemical reaction will occur and remove the medium blockages.

Method 3 of 3: Using Industrial Chemicals

Unclog a Sink Step 8
Unclog a Sink Step 8

Step 1. Use caustic soda

Caustic soda (or sodium hydroxide) is an extremely powerful chemical that will unclog most blockages in your sink.

  • You can find it at most hardware stores.
  • Mix 3 cups (750 ml) caustic soda with 3 liters of cold water in a large bucket. Stir the solution with a wooden spoon.
  • Do not use a container or utensil that you can later use for food.
  • Do not stir the solution with your hands.
  • The solution should begin to sizzle and heat up.
  • Pour the solution carefully into the drain hole. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Boil 4 liters of water and pour it into the pipe.
  • Repeat the procedure as needed.
Unclog a Sink Step 9
Unclog a Sink Step 9

Step 2. Try bleach

If you are connected to a sewer rather than a well or septic tank, then you can use bleach to clean and deodorize a clogged sink.

  • Pour 1 cup (250 ml) undiluted bleach into the drain. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes.
  • Turn on the water and let it run down the drain for 5 minutes. The water should be as hot as possible and under strong pressure.
  • If your sink starts to overflow, turn off the water and let it drain before trying to clean the sink again.
  • Do not use bleach while connected to a septic tank. The bleach will kill the bacteria in the tank that feed on the contents.
Unclog a Sink Step 10
Unclog a Sink Step 10

Step 3. Use a drain pipe cleaner

Drain pipe cleaners are available at most stores. They are of several types, for example, acidic or enzymatic.

  • Determine what kind of cleaner you need. For example, some cleaners are better at clearing blockages in the bathroom sink, while others in the kitchen.
  • Follow the instructions for use of the product.
  • Caustic soda cleaners clean pipes using chemical reactions caused by hydroxide ions.
  • Acidic cleaners use a chemical reaction between hydrogen ions and debris that clogs the sink. Acidic cleaners are generally harsher than alkaline cleaners.
  • Enzyme cleaners are the least powerful. They contain bacterial enzymes that eat away organic blockages.

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