Backed Up Sink

What to Do When You Have a Backed Up Sink

A backed-up sink can be an inconvenient and annoying problem, but it’s a common household issue that can be easily fixed with a few minutes and some tools you probably already have. A clogged sink can be caused by several things, with the most common culprit being an accumulation of debris such as hair, food, or soap scum.

If you have a pesky backed-up drain on your hands, read on for our six methods to unclog it and get your sink working properly again!

Remove Any Debris 

First things first: if any visible debris in the drain, such as food or hair, you’ll want to remove it. Grab some rubber gloves and scoop out as much debris as you can.

If the debris is a little bit farther down the drain and you can’t reach it with your hands, try using a pair of tweezers or pliers to pull it out. Be sure not to push any debris further down the drain. To avoid this issue, get a sink strainer to catch food and hair before getting stuck in the drain.

It’s good practice not to pour things like coffee grounds and oil down the drain, as this can cause serious plumbing problems. Don’t dispose of more than a cup of food waste at a time down the drain.

Contact a Plumber

Sometimes, you may have a deeper issue than a surface-level clog. These clogs can be difficult to remove, and you risk damaging your plumbing system if you don’t have the right tools and experience.

If you can’t remove the clog yourself, it’s time to call a professional plumber. They will have the tools and knowledge necessary to fix your backed-up sink quickly, easily, and without damage to your plumbing system.

Flush with Boiling Water

Before you start any other methods, you may be able to clear the clog with just boiling water. First, remove standing water from the sink with a cup or bowl. Next, bring half a gallon of water to a rolling boil. Slowly pour the boiling water down the drain. The hot water can help break up the debris in the drain and pipes into smaller pieces that can pass through the plumbing system.

If the clog has been cleared, the water should drain. If the water doesn’t drain, you can wait for the water in the sink basin to cool. Remove the water from the sink with a cup or bowl and repeat the boiling process until the clog is cleared.

Grab a Plunger

If you can’t physically remove any debris in the drain, it’s time to start plunging! For this type of clog, you’ll want a plunger with a large cup with a flat bottom. Before you start, fill the sink so there is about an inch of water covering the drain hole. Centre the plunger over the drain hole and push it down to create a strong seal.

Plunge up and down for about fifteen seconds, ensuring not to break the seal between the plunger and the sink. Remove the plunger from the drain. If the water starts to drain, the clog has been successfully cleared. If the water is not draining, repeat this process multiple times until you see results.

Try a Drain Snake

Another common method to clear a sink clog is with a plumbing snake. This tool has a long and flexible metal extension and a hook on the end of it to grab the clog. First, insert the drain snake into the drain. Turn the handle on the snake clockwise to push it further down the pipe.

When you begin to feel resistance, rotate the snake counterclockwise to allow the hook to loosen and grab onto the clog. Pull the snake out by rotating the handle counterclockwise. Depending on how big the clog is, you may need to pull it out piece by piece multiple times.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

There are lots of tricks to unclog a backed-up drain using things you have in your pantry! The baking soda and vinegar method is one of the most common, quick and simple. First, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain. Next, pour a cup of vinegar down the drain. Cover the drain hole with a stopper or a cloth to keep the pressure trapped inside the drain.

Let the mixture sit for about fifteen minutes. Remove the cover and flush the drain with hot water for a few minutes. The clog should be cleared, and water should be able to drain normally, but you may need to repeat this process several times if the clog is particularly stubborn.