It’s not unusual for your sink to become clogged over time. Even the simple act of washing your hands sends dirt, soap scum, and dead skin down your drain. Gradually, those small particles can get caught on the sides and in the elbows of your pipes. Once enough gunk has built up, your drain can slow or stop altogether.
Luckily, unclogging a slow drain can typically be accomplished without calling a professional. The following two approaches generally clear minor blockages.
Approach 1: Boiling Water
Consider a dirty pan. It normally takes some hot water to get rid of grease and leftovers that are stuck to the bottom and sides. Your drain is no different. Hair, grease, and soap residue are the typical cause of a clogged sink. By pouring boiling water down your drain, you may be able to dissolve this buildup.
Using a teakettle, bring water to a rapid boil on the stove. Carefully carry the kettle into your bathroom and pour the boiling water down the drain. Repeat as needed.
NOTE: DO NOT use boiling water if you have plastic pipes, as it can soften the pipes, and potentially break them.
NOTE: If you have a porcelain sink, ONLY pour water down the drain. Pouring boiling water directly onto porcelain can damage it.
Approach 2: Plunger
You’ll want to use a cup plunger to try and clear your skin. DO NOT use the ‘flange plunger’ you use for your toilet. Not only is this specialized plunger shaped for a toilet, it can introduce unwanted bacteria into your sink.
Begin by sealing the overflow outlet at the top of the sink. A piece of duct take works well. Fill the sink halfway with water. Place the plunger over the drain hole, pressing to ensure it seals. Attempt to unclog the drain with quick, sharp plunges.
When to Call a Plumber?
Did approach one and two not work? Some ‘how to guides’ would suggest you bust out a heavy-duty chemical cleaner at this point. We’re not fans of that solution. Not only are these cleaning techniques harmful to the environment, they can cause drastic damage to your drain.
Other ‘how to guides’ will talk to you about snaking your own drain. Before you go this route ask yourself one very important question, “Do I know what I’m doing?”
If you don’t, it’s best to call a professional. This is one DIY project that can go horribly wrong and end up costing you more in the long run.