It’s a moment we all dread—the sink begins to drain slowly, water pools at the bottom, and that awful feeling sets in; your sink is blocked. Whatever the cause, a blocked sink can disrupt our daily routines. But there’s no need to panic! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look into how to swiftly unblock your sink using various physical and chemical techniques and discuss when it’s time to call professional help.
A blocked sink is a common household problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Food waste: Despite having a waste bin nearby, bits of food can end up in your sink, creating a blockage over time.
Grease and fat: This is a common culprit in kitchen sinks. Grease can solidify in your pipes, trapping other debris and forming a stubborn clog.
Hair: This is typically a problem for bathroom sinks. Hair can clump together and form a barrier that stops water from draining away.
Soap scum: Over time, soap, combined with minerals in the water, can leave a hard residue that narrows your pipes and can cause blockages.
Small objects: Anything from a child’s toy to jewellery can accidentally fall into the sink and create an obstruction.
Physical Methods to Unblock Sink
Before embarking on your unblocking adventure, ensure your sink is drained of any standing water and equip yourself with protective clothing to avoid potential mishaps.
Harness the Power of the Plunger
The plunger, a staple of many a household’s under-sink cupboard, can be a remarkably efficient tool for sink clog removal. It operates straightforwardly, creating a strong suction force to dislodge the offending blockage. It is simple to use and should be the first choice of weapon in the blockage war.
However, if a regular plunger doesn’t do the trick, you might want to bring out the big gun—an extra-strength plunger. Its pump action increases the suction force, which can shift blockages a standard plunger can’t budge. These are readily available in DIY stores and online.
Delve Deeper with Drain Snakes
When a plunger can’t cut it, a drain snake or plumber’s snake can be your next line of defence. This long, flexible metal rod can reach deeper into your pipes, breaking apart stubborn blockages. For those hard-to-remove obstructions, a motorised drain snake can provide additional power, making it a more effective sink-unblocking solution.
Don’t Forget the “U” Bend
The “U” bend, or the trap, is notorious for being a common clog culprit. It’s designed to trap a small amount of water to prevent sewer gases from entering your home. Still, it can also inadvertently trap larger debris, leading to blockages.
To clear the “U” bend, you must unscrew it from the rest of your pipe system. Place a bucket underneath to catch any remaining water or debris. Once detached, clean it thoroughly before reattaching it.
Bring in the Hydro Jet
Among the physical methods of unblocking your sink, the Hydro Jet stands apart. But what exactly is a Hydro Jet?
A Hydro Jet is a specialised tool which fits a flexible pipe and attaches to your pressure washer. It uses a high-pressure flow of water to scour the internal surfaces of your plumbing pipes. Unlike traditional snaking methods that may merely punch a hole through the blockage, Hydro Jetting is designed to handle the blockage comprehensively, cleaning your pipes while it works. The sheer force of the water can effectively remove scale, grease, and tree roots, leaving your pipes as clean as when they were first installed.
However, Hydro Jetting is a powerful technique and should be used carefully. If your pipes are old or weakened, the intense pressure may cause damage. Therefore, it’s often best to leave this method to the professionals.
Chemical Drain Unblocking Solutions
When physical efforts fall short, you can resort to chemical methods. These should be cautiously approached due to their potential environmental impact and corrosive nature.
Gentle and Green
Starting with a gentle touch can often be effective. A pot of boiling water might be all that’s needed for light blockages. The heat can help to melt or dislodge the blockage, restoring flow to your sink.
For an eco-friendly twist, you could use common household ingredients: baking soda and vinegar or salt and baking soda. These mixtures create a chemical reaction that can help to clear blockages, making them an effective strategy for DIY sink unclogging. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup of white vinegar down the drain. Alternatively, you can use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Plug the drain and let it sit for one hour. Then, pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain.
Calling in the Heavy Artillery
When other solutions prove ineffective, it may be time for a more robust chemical intervention. Over-the-counter drain cleaners, like Mr Muscle, Green Gobbler and Drano, are formulated with potent chemicals that can quickly dissolve even the most stubborn blockages.
While less commonly used, Bleach can also serve as a powerful drain unblocker. However, remember to use it sparingly and always adhere to safety guidelines.
More potent substances like caustic soda or hydrochloric acid may be needed in extreme cases. These are highly corrosive substances that require careful handling and use.
Always remember: safety first. It’s crucial never to mix different chemicals, which can result in harmful fumes or even explosive reactions. Only add caustic soda to water, not the other way round, as the heat it generates is extreme.
Wear rubber gloves and eye goggles when using heavy-duty chemicals, especially caustic soda and drain cleaner. If any of these chemicals splash onto your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water. If your skin still tingles or burns after cleaning it, immediately seek medical help.
Professional Drain Unblocking Services
Despite your best efforts, there might be times when the blockage is simply too stubborn for DIY methods. In such cases, don’t hesitate to call in professional help.
Professional services to unblock sinks can access advanced tools and techniques that most homeowners lack. They can accurately diagnose the problem using CCTV drain surveys and efficiently remove the blockage with high-pressure water jetting or electro-mechanical machines.
While it may be tempting to save money by handling the problem yourself, remember that improperly handled blockages can lead to significant damage, resulting in expensive repairs. Trusting a professional can save you time, effort, and money in the long run.
Unblocking a sink can be daunting, but equipped with this guide, you should be well-prepared to tackle the problem head-on. Whether it’s reaching for a trusty plunger, creating a homemade chemical solution, or even enlisting the help of a professional service, you now have many methods at your disposal.
Unblocking your sink often requires patience and persistence, but safety should always come first. So, the next time your sink is reluctant to drain, which technique will you try first? Or will you opt for professional help? Whatever your choice, you’re now a well-versed sink-unblocking expert! Happy unclogging!