Cleaning and Maintenance Home Repair

6 Easy Ways to Unclog a Sink

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If your kitchen or bathroom sink stops draining, that’s clearly the sign of a clog. This is a huge inconvenience for any homeowner but you don’t need to find a plumber right away because it’s the kind of issue that can be solved using DIY methods. Similar to repairing other broken things around the home, you can easily unclog the sink and allow it to drain naturally using some handy tricks.

Whether we’re talking about the sink in the kitchen or the one in the bathroom, the process for loosening up the clog stays pretty much the same. The only notable difference is that your kitchen drain is usually connected to a garbage disposal unit. It’s worth checking out the draining issue more closely to see if the kitchen clog is actually caused by a blockage in the garbage disposal.

The kitchen sink tends to get clogged more often due to food debris and grease. There should be a strainer to prevent that but it may not be that effective and drain clogs appear over time. Bathroom sinks, on the other hand, are affected by slightly different kinds of clogging issues. Think of hardened toothpaste or copious amounts of hair that can cause drainage obstructions in the long run.

Depending on the severity of the clog, it might be required to try out different methods to restore functionality to the sink. In most cases, the simplest tricks can deal with the problem and save you the headache. Keep in mind that serious sink clogs will require more specialized tools or the services of professional plumbers. There’s still a solid chance that you can handle the blocked sink issue by yourself so check out the following unclogging methods.

1. Boiling Water

Before going into more complex methods that require additional materials and tools, it’s worth trying out a simple and classic trick that only involves the use of boiling water. This one seems to work especially well for the sink in the kitchen as very hot water has good grease-dissolving capabilities. Just make sure you pour a pot of scalding water directly through the drain and not into the entire sink area to avoid damaging it.




If you’re dealing with standing water that no longer drains, it’s required to take out all that water and get unobstructed access to the drain. After you pour the boiling water, make sure you give it some time because it most likely won’t work instantaneously. Don’t be too hasty in trying out other methods. You might be surprised by the effectiveness of this method for light clogs if you wait it out. Repeating the trick can work even better.

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar

For some added potency when it comes to clog-dissolving power, consider a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. These ingredients can be typically found in most households without requiring a trip to the store. Start by adding around a cup of baking soda into the drain. Similar to the boiling water trick, there’s no other choice but to remove as much standing water as possible before you proceed.


Follow the baking soda with at least an equal amount of white vinegar to create a fizzy combination that’s strong enough to dissolve hair, grease, and other debris causing sink blockages. While this is an old method, the basic science behind it is very solid. It’s a particularly great trick for unclogging the sink in the bathroom. Consider pre-mixing the ingredients to boost the effectiveness of the entire mixture.

3. Chemical Drain Cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners can be quite effective at keeping sinks free of obstructions. However, there are some disadvantages to keep in mind. They often work similarly to DIY mixtures while posing the additional risk of working with harsh chemicals. Most of them are not very friendly to the plumbing system and can also damage the environment.




The main advantage of a chemical drain cleaner is the convenience. You don’t have to bother with DIY work. Consider getting a bottle of Drano Max Clog remover gel that’s particularly effective for sink drains without affecting the pipes or the septic system. A pack of this gel can come in handy for common household sink unclogging jobs so it’s nice having it around. Just make sure you’re extra careful to follow the correct usage instructions to work effectively without unintended side effects.

4. Plunger

Similar to the task of unclogging a toilet, using a plunger can be just as effective for dealing with kitchen obstructions. A notable difference refers to using a special type of plunger that works better for sink clogs. Instead of flange plungers, we recommend using a small cup plunger to increase your chances of success. Here’s a great mini cup plunger from Liquid-Plumr that’s specifically designed to clear tough clogs from the sink.

Using a plunger is quite straightforward. Make sure you seal the overflow outlet of the sink with some duct tape. Take off the strainer if the sink has one. The standing water can come in handy as you should leave several inches to create a good seal for the plunging process. If there’s no water in the sink, fill it up. Monitor the status of the overflow opening to prevent the duct tape from coming off due to the generated air pressure.




Unclogging the sink with a plunger can be a bit more difficult if you have a double sink. It’s required to stuff a washcloth or a stopper to obstruct the unclogged sink to avoid escaped pressure. Without a fully intact seal, your plunging won’t be successful and you can end up having burbling water coming out from the unblocked sink.

5. Sink Auger

The most stubborn sink clogs can’t be cleared without more advanced tools. For those situations, it’s recommended to try out the sink auger method. Also known as the plumber’s or drain snake, this is a handy tool that will be able to deal with tough clogs that are more resistant to dissolving or plunging methods. It offers a long cable designed to reach the clog and dislodge it.


There are different models on the market to try. If you’re on a budget, this inexpensive set of snake cleaners from Amazon will be able to deal well with the most difficult sink clogs. It’s not particularly durable but it will do the trick. The added versatility from multiple styles and sizes will help you manage different sink unclogging tasks.

If you want a more premium solution to unclog your sink, check out this drum-style drain auger from DrainX. It’s more expensive but offers superior durability and user-friendliness. It can clean pesky clogs effortlessly with the help of its 25ft. cable. As a bonus, the plumbing snake also arrives complete with helpful accessories like work gloves and a carry bag.

6. Preventing Future Clogs

Once the sink is finally free of the obstruction and can drain normally, it’s time to consider some preventative measures you can try to avoid this kind of situation in the future. Sink clogs often appear at inopportune times so your best bet is to take some precautions to reduce the risk of such inconveniences.

One of the most important aspects when it comes to preventing clogs from returning is to avoid throwing certain items down the drain. Various things and debris can accumulate after some time and form the dreaded clogs that block your sink. Some of the most harmful ones include grease, eggshells, pasta, fruit peels, and food wrappers.

Don’t rely on the garbage disposal so much because it can get quickly overloaded. Take special care with oils and grease to find proper methods of disposal for them. Letting some water run after each use of the sink drain could be a good idea to ensure that your plumbing stays clear of any unwanted gunk.

One comment

  1. Hi Eduard, you explained in a very simple way and I enjoyed reading this blog. All the given ways are really effective, but according to my past experience, chemical drain cleaner is the best option. Using a plunger is also an effective way. I used only two methods to unclog a sink: firstly, chemical drain cleaner and secondly, with the help of a plunger. Thank You!

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