When your bathroom sink clogs it is a simple way of telling you that it has had enough. Usually this happens after a long time of using the sink without cleaning the drain pipes. The odor can be offsetting. If you are among the unlucky ones, dirty, foul, water spilling to the floor can drive you insane. Fortunately you may not need to hire the services of a plumber to unclog your sink. This article highlights several DIY options you can easily apply at home to unclog your sink.
Where does grease in the sink come from?
In the bathroom you can find grease in your cleaning products – shampoos and bathing soaps. Some ingredients of the hair products you use could also be greasy. When you wash your hair inside the bathroom sink, the grease finds its way inside the drainage. Over time, these particles accumulate into a sludge that eventually blocks the sink (if you have a blocked drain, check out our guide to different solutions).
How to unclog a sink from grease
There are several ways you can unclog a bathroom sink from grease;
Using sodium hydroxide
Sodium hydroxide aka Draino, does a quick job of unblocking clogged sinks because the process involves a chemical reaction. Buy the product in crystals so you do not have to worry about spills. Solid crystals are also safer than liquids because you can quickly wash them off if you pour some onto your hands.
Pour two tablespoons of sodium hydroxide directly into the drain and add 2 cups of cold water. Leave everything as it is for about half an hour.
How it works
When it combines with water, sodium hydroxide creates heat and melts the grease, turning it into a soapy-like substance. This substance easily washes away when flushed down with cold water. This method is not ideal if your drainage system underneath the sink is made of plastic pipes and do not use this on toilets. The heat generated from the chemical reaction can burn through these PVC pipes and cause a toilet bowl to crack. Learn what to do if you have leaking sink pipes here.
Use hot water
If you love cleaning your house using organic methods you cannot go wrong with hot water. This method is ideal for sinks that do not have too much material clogging their system. Using hot water is also eco-friendly because harsh chemicals will not be released into the environment in the cleaning process.
Flush the drain continuously using hot water for at least 3-5 minutes. If you stop flushing using hot water, the grease will go down the drain, meet cold water/atmosphere, cool down, and then clog again. The hot running water pushes the grease down the sewer system and minimizes the risk of the sludge clogging your p-trap.
Using Baking soda and White vinegar
The combination of baking soda and vinegar makes excellent cleaning supplies that can be used almost anywhere inside the house. Pour hot/boiling water into the drain and add half a cup of baking soda. Pour white vinegar till the baking soda gets dissolved. You will hear a fizzing chemical reaction. That means that the mixture is working on dissolving the grease. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then add several cups of boiling water to clear the sink.
Using baking soda and salt
Combine half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of coarse table salt. Let it sit for a few hours. Follow through with boiling water. Leave the sink unused for about an hour as the mixture goes down the drain to work its magic. The combination of baking soda and salt also masks foul odors from the drain.
Using boiling water and dish soap
This is another easy and natural way of unclogging the drain. Bring 2 liters of water to a boil and add the dish soap. Pour the mixture down the drain. The mixture warms the grease clog to a liquid, allowing it to flow freely out of the drain. It may take several tries to get the desired results. Kindly note that boiling water can cause damage to plastic pipes.
Using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda
Mix a cup of hydrogen peroxide with a spoonful of baking soda. You will hear a fizzling sound once you pour the contents down the drain. Leave for a few minutes before flushing with cold water.
Use a plunger
Use a cup plunger to force the grease down the drain. If the drain is fully clogged remove the drain stopper and fill the sink with water. Plunge the drain hole using the same motion as you would with a toilet. This motion creates abrupt changes in pressure on both sides. This forces the grease to dislodge. Flush with water to get rid of the sludge.
Use a wire coat hanger
If the suction action of the plunger proves futile, go the DIY way and use a coat hanger to reach the blocked area. Sometimes the sink could be blocked by material such as hair and pieces of clothing that can be a pain to remove. Straighten the hanger and create a hook at the end. Wrap the end with duct tape to keep the hanger from scratching the pipe. Remove the drain stopper and insert the hook end into the pipe. Hook the hanger onto the sludge and fish out the clog. Pour hot water down the drain to flush everything out. This method also works great for removing hair that may be clogging your drain.
Remove and clean the drain trap
Clogs can form in the p-trap section of the drain pipe located underneath the sink. Clear the area and place a bucket to collect the clogged matter and dirty water underneath the drain. Remove the p-trap and clear everything inside the p-trap. Replace the trap and run hot water for a few minutes to ensure all debris is flushed out.
Call a plumber
When you have exhausted all your options, perhaps you should leave the work to the professionals. They will offer you advice on best sink maintenance practices to prevent such an occurrence in the future.
Control the types of materials going down your drain to avoid blockages in the future. Hair, pieces of clothing, and foodstuffs are notorious drain blockers. Replace the standard drain stopper inside the sink with one that prevents these unwanted materials from going into the drain. Once in a while, prepare a mix of equal parts of baking soda and vinegar and pour it down the drain to get rid of particles that start forming inside.
Bleach is a powerful disinfectant and stain remover. But it has no value as a drain clog remover. Bleach cannot dissolve built-up drain gunk. It cannot dissolve things like food waste, breadcrumbs, grease, and hair.
Coke. Coke is a lesser-known fix you can find in your refrigerator. Pour a 2-liter bottle of cola — Pepsi, Coke, or generic brand substitutes — down the clogged drain. Coke is actually quite caustic and effective at clearing away buildup in your drains, but it’s far milder than commercial drain cleaners. The acids in the soda help break things down.
No. Besides the danger of burning yourself you can also damage the pipes with boiling water. Use hot but not boiling water when trying to unclog your pipes.
Attempting to force a clog through a toilet with a plunger can often make the problem worse. Instead, create a seal and slowly push down on the plunger before pulling it back sharply, other wise you may jam whatever is lodged down there even worse.
A plumber inserts a special hose and nozzle into your pipes and blasts high-pressure water through it to scour out the drain pipes. Not only does this move out clogs, but it also helps to remove hard deposits and hard water minerals. This is one of the most popular and safe ways of unclogging and cleaning out drains
Check out this video from Tomahawk DIY: