How to Clear a Clogged Sink Drain

Clogged drains are annoying. Fortunately, they are not difficult to repair. In fact, sooner or later every homeowner faces a clogged drain.

At Peninsula, we want to be your local plumber when you really need us, but we also think that there are some basic repairs that most homeowners can handle. Here are some tips for clearing a clogged sink drain.

Basic Tools You Need to Clear a Clogged Sink Drain

First, gather a few basic tools you’ll need. Keep them in a location where you can find them. You’ll need:

  • Plunger
  • Slip Joint Pliers
  • Pipe Wrench
  • ¼ inch Cable Auger
  • Rags
  • Bucket
  • Rubber Gloves

Clearing the Clog

Step One: Keep It Simple

The plunger is the most basic tool you have. Using it is as simple as it gets. Just follow these steps:

  • Partially fill the sink with water
  • Place a rag in the sink’s overflow outlet to prevent the pressure of plunging from escaping through the overflow. In a double kitchen sink, place the rag in the adjacent sink drain opening.
  • Place the plunger directly over the clogged sink drain
  • Plunge energetically

If after a few plunging attempts, your clog proves to be stubborn, move on to the next step.

Step Two: It’s Not So Bad

Plunging didn’t work, but removing and cleaning the P-trap under the sink should solve the problem.

The P-trap prevents sewer gasses from escaping into your home, but over time they can become clogged. Remove the trap as follows:

  • Put on the rubber gloves (always a good idea)
  • Place the bucket under the sink below the P-trap to catch water remaining in the trap and sink.
  • Loosen the slip nuts on the P-trap by hand if they are the plastic type or use the slip joint pliers if they are metal. There are two nuts. One connects the trap to the tailpiece extending down from the sink. The other connects it to to the arm that goes through the wall and leads down to your sewer line.
  • With the trap off clean out any clogs that you find.

If you have a really determined problem clog, proceed to the next step.

Step Three: Let’s Get To work

We now know that the clog is not in the sink or trap. It is in the drain line leading down to the sewer. This is where the cable snake comes in. Follow these steps.

  • Pull several inches of snake/cable out from the reel.
  • Place the end of the snake into the opening leading into the wall and turn the crank clockwise.
  • Continue cranking, pulling out more snake. Proceed slowly. You will feel the snake hit obstructions as it moves through the turns in the pipes.
  • When you feel it stop at the clog, continue cranking and pushing the cable until you feel it bite into the clog.
  • The clog is cleared when the tension in the cable slackens. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times to get the entire clog.
  • Pull the cable out, turning the crank counterclockwise.
  • Clean the nasty crud from the end of the cable.
  • Reassemble the P-trap and sink drain.
  • Run water to make sure that the clog is cleared.

If the clog persists, take consolation from the fact that you have done your best. It is time to call a professional.

At Peninsula, we have been helping our Delmarva neighbors since 1935. Our plumbing professionals will have your sink clog or other plumbing problem solved in no time.

Give us a call at 302-629-3001 or contact us online today!


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