Whether it’s in the kitchen or the bathroom, a blocked sink is an inconvenience you can do without. As a disruption to your daily life, you’ll naturally want to unblock your sink as quickly as possible to get things moving again.
At Pipeline Drainage Solutions, we’ve created this guide on how to unblock a sink. Follow the steps below and see if you can get things moving. If not, or if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, give our team a call and we can help.
How to Unblock a Sink Full of Water
One of the most common signs of a blocked sink is water that drains more slowly or stops draining all together. This can leave you with a sink full of water. Unfortunately, before you can unblock the sink, you need to get rid of the majority of the water by using a cup to transport it elsewhere.
Once the sink is relatively empty, you can move onto our steps below and unblock your sink either with or without a plunger.
How to Unblock a Sink With a Plunger
A plunger is often seen as the best way to unblock a sink. This inexpensive and effective tool takes the legwork out of unblocking your sink. Here’s how you do it:
Make sure the problem sink is free of the majority of excess water. If you need to, use a cup to dispose of the build-up of water.
Even after removing the majority of the water, it’s wise to place a towel at the foot of the sink to catch any spillages as you plunge.
Below the taps on your sink, you’ll have a small hole called the overflow. To use a plunger, you’ll first need to seal the overflow.
There are a few ways you can do this, either by stuffing the hole with a dishcloth or by using duct tape to temporarily block the hole. If you do opt for the latter, make sure you dry the area around the overflow first so the tape has the best chance of sticking.
Remove the plug and thoroughly clean it using a limescale remover. While you have the plug removed, check if you can see any blockages within the sink drain.
If you can, remove any visible blockages you see. In a kitchen sink, this blockage could be larger pieces of food, while bathroom sinks are prone to a buildup of soap and hair. If you do remove anything, turn the taps on to see how the sink is now draining.
If you can’t see any visible blockages, replace the plughole and dry the area around it.
Place the plunger over the plughole and press down firmly. Turn the tap on until you have warm water around the plunger’s seal (a couple of inches will do).
Using both hands on the handle, press the plunger down repeatedly and vigorously to create suction. You’ll know if you’ve cleared the blockage as the sink will gurgle.
A plunger may not always unblock your sink. If this is the case for you, consider our tips on how to unblock a sink without a plunger below.
How to Unblock a Sink Without a Plunger
If you’ve had little joy with the above method, there are some other methods that you can use to unblock your sink without a plunger. Many of the below techniques make use of household products you may already have at home.
Bicarbonate of Soda or Baking Powder with White Vinegar
A cheap, simple and easy solution, add a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda down the plughole. Follow with a cup of white vinegar and leave for roughly five minutes. Flush the drain with a kettle full of hot water.
Biological Washing Powder
Believe it or not, washing powder may help you unblock your sink. If you’re looking for how to unblock a kitchen sink, this could be a great option, as the washing powder is effective at clearing oily blockages which may accumulate from cooking.
Add two tablespoons of washing powder to the plug hole and immediately rinse with a full kettle of hot water.
Use a Wire or Flexible Tool
With a flexible drain unblocking tool or wire, you may be able to reach down into the plughole to remove the blockage. Specialist tools are available and are usually inexpensive, but you can also use alternatives that you may already have, such as a metal coat hanger or a net curtain wire.
Simply feed the wire down the plughole until you reach the blockage, then carefully and gradually apply pressure until you dislodge the blockage, being careful not to unscrew the pipe in the process.
Use a Plastic Bottle
A plastic bottle filled with water and squirted quickly down the problem drain could be enough to shift the blockage.
Fill a 2-litre bottle with warm water and place the open end over the plug hole. Squeeze the bottle quickly to force the water down the drain. Sometimes, the pressure created can get your blocked sink flowing again.
Try a Drain Cleaner
Drain cleaners can be bought in many supermarkets and are formulated to clear many different types of blockages, whether it’s a build up of grease in your kitchen sink or hair blocking your bathroom sink.
We recommend choosing a natural drain cleaner, which uses enzymes to break down organic matter. These tend to be kinder to the environment than others that use harsh chemicals.
Use Bleach and Hot Water
As a last resort, you can try adding a capful of bleach to the plughole and slowly rinse with hot water from the kettle. It goes without saying that if you do try this method, you should take the necessary precautions, such as wearing protective gloves and avoiding breathing in the fumes or getting it in your eyes.
Unblocking a Sink: Tackling the U-Bend
If you’ve tried the above and you still have a blocked sink, your next option is to tackle the blockage directly in the U-bend. This is a messy job and you almost definitely will get wet, so make sure you wear old clothes.
Don’t worry if this sounds daunting; at the point, many customers get in touch with a plumber to solve the issue. However, if you’re up to the challenge, we’ve provided step-by-step instructions below.
Before you get started, place some old towels under the sink and a bucket under the u-bend to collect any water. Put on your rubber gloves.
Use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the caps on each side of the U-bend. Collect any water released in the bucket.
While it is disconnected, thoroughly clean the U-bend using an antibacterial spray and a sponge, and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Reattach the U-bend and tighten the caps using the adjustable wrench. Slowly turn on the cold tap and check for any leaks. If there is a leak, try removing and reattaching the U-bend again.
Run the cold tap and check how the sink is draining. If it’s still not draining correctly, it’s time to call in the professionals as there may be a more serious issue at play.
In most instances of a blocked sink, the above methods should work to clear any minor blockages. However, if they don’t work, speak to our team and we can help get to the root of your drainage problem.