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A Step-by-Step Guide to Unclog Your Sink

A clogged sink is a common household annoyance that can disrupt your daily routine. Whether it's in the kitchen or the bathroom, dealing with a clogged sink usually isn’t difficult.

(As a reminder, some minor tasks around the home – including unclogging drains — are considered residents’ responsibilities, while FirstKey Homes takes care of bigger things like busted pipes. See details about your responsibilities on our online Help Center:

With the right tools and a little know-how, you should be able to unclog your sink on your own. In this blog, we'll walk you through a step-by-step guide to unclogging your sink.

1. Gather Your Tools

Before you begin, it's essential to gather the necessary tools and materials. You'll need:

  • Plunger: A plunger is an effective tool for clearing most sink clogs. Make sure you have the right type - a cup plunger for sinks, not a flange plunger for toilets.
  • Bucket or towels: These are handy for catching any water that might splash during the process.
  • Plumber's snake (optional): If the plunger doesn't work, a plumber's snake, also known as a drain auger, can help clear deeper clogs.
  • Chemical drain cleaners (or baking soda and vinegar, a natural method you can use if you prefer to avoid chemical drain cleaners).

2. Remove Excess Water

If your sink is filled with water, use a bucket or towels to remove the standing water. This step helps prevent a mess and allows you to work more effectively.

3. Plunge the Sink

Start by positioning the plunger over the drain. Ensure that there's enough water in the sink to cover the bottom of the plunger. Press down firmly and then pull up sharply while maintaining a tight seal. Repeat this motion several times until you feel the clog release. If it's a double sink, make sure to block the unclogged drain to build pressure.

4. Check the Drain

After plunging, run some water to check if the sink drains properly. If it's still slow or clogged, you may need to repeat the plunging process a few more times.

5. Try a Chemical Drain Cleaner (or the Baking Soda and Vinegar Method)

Pour the chemical down the drain as indicated on the container or label.

Or, try a natural solution. Pour about a half cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Afterward, flush the drain with hot water. This combination can help break down organic clogs and odors.

6. Use a Plumber's Snake

If the clog remains stubborn, it's time to bring out the plumber's snake. Insert the snake into the drain and turn the handle clockwise while pushing it further into the pipe. When you feel resistance, you've likely reached the clog. Turn the snake to break up the blockage, and then slowly withdraw it. Be prepared for some gunk to come out with the snake.

7. Recheck the Drain

After using the snake, run hot water down the drain to ensure the clog is completely removed. Your sink should now drain regularly.

8. Prevent Future Clogs

To prevent future clogs, consider using drain screens to catch debris, and avoid pouring grease and large food particles down the kitchen sink. Regularly flush drains with hot water and vinegar to help keep them clean.

Unclogging your sink doesn't have to be a daunting task. By following these steps and being patient, it’s likely that you’ll be able to tackle the issue on your own. With these tips and tricks, you'll be well-equipped to handle most common sink clogs and keep your plumbing running smoothly.

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