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How to Unblock a Kitchen Sink Drain

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If you notice water draining slower from your sink than usual, it’s likely that you have a blockage. Items such as food, hair and soap scum can clog up your drain pipe over time. Follow our guide to quickly get your drain back in working order again.

Step 1

Use Plunger

Use Plunger

A plunger should be the first thing you try as it is the easiest and most cost-effective way to clear a blocked drain. If this works, you won’t have to use any chemical solutions or take anything apart. Place the plunger over the drain and add enough water into the sink to cover the rubber cup. Cover the sink’s overflow vent with a cloth to allow suction. Pump the plunger up and down quickly to try dislodge the clog. If the drain isn’t completely blocked, you should then try running hot water down the drain for approximately 10 minutes before using the plunger again. If the clog then remains, please proceed to the following steps.

Step 2

Clean Sink Trap

Clean Sink Trap

Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Place a bucket under the trap below the sink. Remove the trap and place it in the bucket. Usually you can loosen the slip nuts by hand, but if not use a channel-type pliers.

Step 3

Clean Trap Parts

Clean Trap Parts

Use a bottle-brush to force any material out of the trap, then clean it well with hot, soapy water.

Step 4

Inspect Drainpipe

Inspect Drainpipe

If the trap was not clogged, then it's likely that the clog is in the drainpipe. Shine a torch into the drainpipe to inspect for a clog.

Step 5

Use an Auger (Snake)

Use an Auger (Snake)

If you see a clog in the drainpipe or if you know it is still clogged after trying other removal methods, you may need to use an auger, also known as a snake. Insert the auger into the drainpipe slowly until you feel resistance. Crank the handle to get past any right-angle bends and continue to insert the auger until you feel soft resistance. Turn the handle to "screw" the snake into the clog and then withdraw it slowly. If you cannot withdraw it, try to push the clog past whatever bend in the pipe is restricting it. It may break free and go down the drain. Replace the trap and then run water down the drain to see if it is cleared.

Step 6

Use a Chemical

Use a Chemical

Drain unblocking chemicals are potent and harsh, and should be handled with care. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not inhale the fumes or allow the chemical to touch your skin. Wear protective gloves and eyewear during use. Note that chemicals and hot water can cause a violent thermal reaction; stand back from the sink as much as possible when pouring hot water into the drain following a chemical.

Step 7

Final Clean

Final Clean

Pour hot water down the drain to clear away any residue. If you have managed to clear your blocked drain, well done! If not, it may be time to call in a professional.