5 Effective Ways to Unblock a Sink in 2024

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Looking for a quick but effective way to unblock a sink? We have some simple solutions for you.

As a professional plumber, one of the biggest plumbing problems I see homeowners struggling with is clogged drains. It is an inconvenience that should be avoided at all costs. Your sink is blocked by pasta, rice, oil, coffee grounds, egg shells and other food items.  It is not a pleasant sight.

While the situation can be very appalling, you can carry out a quick fix using household items like boiling water, plunger, baking soda and vinegar, and even wire hangers.

In this article, I will be showing you how to use these items to clear your clogged drains.


Understanding Drain Clog

A clog occurs when there is a blockage in your drain that does not allow water to flow freely through your plumbing system. In simple terms, the water won’t pass through the drain and will begin to back up.

Check out the most common drain clogs below:

  • Grease
  • Hair
  • Soap scum
  • Food particles



Unblock a Sink

Grease is one of the easiest things to pour down the drain since it is a liquid substance. But as the temperature of grease gets lower, it thickens, which can cause a clog that can be stubborn to get rid of. If you continually pour grease down your drain, it will accumulate and eventually cause blockage.



Unblock a Sink

Hair can build up in your bathroom or shower sink drain. This can impede the flow of water down your plumbing line. Regardless of the size of your hair, it can slowly clog your pipe.


Soap scum

Unblock a Sink

Soap scum isn’t the same as soap. It is a mixture of soap, mineral and water. It combines together to create chalky or sticky residue that blocks your drain.


Food particles

Unblock a Sink

Another common culprit for clogged drains is food particles. For instance. food debris, and fruit peels can make their way to your sink and drain and impede the flow of water.


DIY Solutions for Unblocking your Sink

Follow these DIY techniques to unblock a sink:


Boiling water

Boiling water is very effective for minor clogs. It can loosen or melt the debris bonding the clog. However, you have to be careful when pouring boiling water into your drain, particularly if your pipe is made of PVC. Hot water can damage or cause leakage in PVC pipes.

If your clog is caused by grease or soap scum, you can use hot water and salt to get rid of the buildup. Here’s how:

  • Sprinkle half a cup of salt in the clogged drain.
  • Wait for a few minutes.
  • Carefully pour your boiling water down the drain.


Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are not only helpful in eliminating the stubborn gunk blocking your sink but are also natural and non-toxic. While baking soda will keep your sink clean and smell nice, vinegar is a good disinfectant. When combined, they are highly effective.

Here’s a step-by-step method for using baking soda and vinegar to unblock a sink:

  • To begin, pour boiling water down the drain.
  • Next, measure out a cup of baking soda and pour it down the drain.
  • Then pour a cup of vinegar down the drain. You may hear a bubbling reaction or sound. This is what will help get rid of clogs in your drain.
  • Wait a few minutes after the bubbling reaction and flush with boiling water to remove the soda-vinegar solution from your plumbing system.



Also called a plumber’s friend, a plunger uses suction to get rid of clogs in a sink. Once the rubber cup of the plunger is sealed over the sink drain, it uses pressure to remove stubborn clogs.

Here’s how to unblock a sink using a plunger:

  • Before anything else, you need to remove any gunk or debris sticking to your sink, e.g., food particles, hair or even a pool of water. Use a cup or bowl to remove the water.
  • You can screw the plug out and clean it up. The reason for this is to get rid of any soap scum or debris. If this clears away the clog, check whether the water is draining.
  • Insert the end of the plunger over the plughole and pour some water to form a tight seal.
  • Securely work the plunger in an up-and-down motion to form a suction to get rid of the water and any debris stuck in the pipe.


Wire hangers

This is an easy but very practical solution. Here’s how to use a wire hanger to unclog your sink:

  • Straighten out a wire coat hanger to the best of your ability.
  • Next, curve one end to form a small hook.
  • Then insert it through the drain cover to dislodge the debris.
  •  It is effective in getting many food particles, hair and other debris out of your drain.
  • Make sure to remove the gunk and not insert it.
  • After removing a lot of dirt, pour hot water down the drain to tidy things up.



When to Call a Plumber

Some signs that the clog is too difficult to try and fix on your own include:


Gurgling Drains

If the water does not easily flow through the drain or if you keep hearing a loud bubbling sound from the sink as water goes down, then the problem may be blocked pipes.

You may have to contact a professional plumber to unblock it.


Multiple Clog 

Contact your plumber if multiple drains are blocked simultaneously. This may be a sign of a complex problem that needs urgent attention.


Back Flow

If you notice water gushing up or flowing back up from your drain, it is a sign of a blockage around the primary pipe. Get in touch with an expert plumber who will find a solution to the problem.



Clogged Drain Prevention Tips

Here are some simple tips that can help prevent clogged sinks in your home:

  • Use a mesh drain strainer. It is a simple and affordable way to prevent clogs. It catches non-liquids and prevents them from flowing down the drain, causing blockage.
  • Do not pour vegetable oils or other kinds of grease down your sink. Oil and grease accumulate with other solids as time passes and form large clogs.
  • Do not pour food particles down your sink. Limit what you flush down when washing plates.
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