The sink is used a lot on a daily basis, so if it’s clogged, you’ll notice it immediately! A clogged sink is usually caused by built-up dirt in the pipes – from food waste, grease and other debris. What can you do to unblock the sink and prevent it from becoming clogged again? Although shops sell many chemical products to unblock your sink, these products can cause damage to the pipes. Often, the products only push the built-up dirt deeper into the kitchen drains, which can cause a larger blockage. Fortunately, there are other ways to clear the sink before calling the local plumber:
Try to unblock your drain with boiling water. Warm water is not enough – the water must be boiling hot to loosen the blockage. The water will cause grease to dissolve and wash away. It may not work the first time, in which case repeat it a number of times. If it still doesn’t work, try method 2, with vinegar and baking soda.
Please note: do not use boiling water if you have PVC pipes, because the heat can loosen the connections. In addition, never pour boiling water directly into a porcelain sink, as it may crack. Always pour the water directly into the drain. Use a large kettle or pan, boil it on the fire, pour it down the drain and repeat if necessary. Wear rubber gloves for possible hot water splashes.
Vinegar & Baking Soda
If boiling water doesn’t help, you can try it with vinegar and baking soda. Baking soda consists of sodium bicarbonate. You can often just buy it at the supermarket, or order it online. Start by pouring 250 grams of baking soda down your drain. Then pour half a cup of vinegar into the sink, and cover the drain with a cloth. The baking soda will react with the vinegar. Pour boiling water into the drain after 30 minutes.
If your sink is completely clogged, and no more liquid can flow through it, it’s time for a rubber plunger. Make sure you have the right plunger: a bowl shape, not a flat one. Remove any metal sieves in your sink. Fill the sink half full with water, place the plunger over the drain and make sure you have a tight seal. Pull firmly and quickly on the plunger to remove the dirt.
Spring Drain Cleaner
These steel hoses are available at most hardware stores and craft shops. They use a long flexible steel wire. At the end of the steel wire is a handle, in which you can squeeze. By squeezing, a grab at the other end of the pull spring opens. If you let go, the grab closes.
This way you can grab something in long thin pipes, which you normally wouldn’t be able to reach. Plumbers often use different types of spring drain cleaners that can go into all kinds of pipes and get very deep. You can try it yourself first with a standard spring drain cleaner that you can buy at the hardware store.
When Should You Call a Plumber?
Although these methods are usually effective in removing blockages in the sink, it is always better to call a plumber. Major plumbing problems require professional expertise; without the right knowledge, you can do more harm than good.