Nothing is more aggravating to most people than to find a clogged bathroom sink drain first early in the morning after getting up from the bed. Obviously, who would want to mess with filthy, wet, slimy, and smelly clogs first in the morning? Ugh, that is not fun for sure. Clogged bathroom sinks are extremely irritating, but can be easily avoided with some proper measures taken on time. Somehow, if you are already in a situation like this and looking for a quick solution to free your slow draining bathroom sink yourself without the help of a plumber, read these proven home remedies. These tips for unblocking a sink will definitely help you get your bathroom sinks draining like new again in just ten or less minutes.
What causes a clogged bathroom sink?
Clogs are the build-up of dirt, dust, soap scum, oil, human waste especially hair grimes and cough. All the stuff you regularly use and rinse out in your bathroom sink tend to stick together to form a clog. Clogs mainly happen when people try to flush down items through the sink that do not dissolve or break apart in water and get stuck on the pivot rod or stopper of the drain.
What are the preventive measures to avoid a clogged bathroom sink?
To avoid having a clogged bathroom sink, stop draining in the items through the sink that does not dissolve or take a longer time to break down in the water. Let the hot boiling water flow down the sink on regular basis to help sticky and greasy items break down and flow through the pipeline easily.
Here are some common items that we should avoid draining down through the sink to avoid slow draining or blocked sinks.
- Small soap pieces
- Hair fragments
- Dental floss
- Tissue papers
- Shaving lather
- Small pieces of shampoo pouches
- Hairpins or clips
- Soil and tiny stones
- Grease or oil
How to unclog a bathroom sink?
How you unclog your sink depends on the type of clogging you have. You will have to take different measures for different types of clogging, which can be partial or total. Follow these tips to get your bathroom sink working again like new.
1. Clean the stopper
The first thing you can do is clean the stopper of your sink, and the process depends on the type of sink setup you have. There will be two cases; in the first case, you can simply remove and clean the stopper to fix the problem, and in the second case where the stopper is non-removable, you can use an old toothbrush or a metal wire to pull out the hair fragments and other grimes which are stuck in there in the sink stopper.
Wear cleaning gloves before starting the procedure. To avoid total blockage, follow this tip twice or thrice a week. You will never ever face total bathroom sink blockage.
2. Remove and clean the stem pipe
In case, you have not followed the first step for a long while, and you are facing the slow draining bathroom sink problem, we recommend you cleaning the stem pipe properly. This step involves removing and cleaning the sink trap and pipeline located beneath the washbasin. Don’t forget to place an empty spare bucket under the sink trap to catch the waste in the pipeline. Loosen the slip nuts attached to the sink bottom, then open and turn the stem pipe upside down. Now, remove all debris inside the trap using an old toothbrush or a long metal stick. After removing all the hard trash, clean the sink trap, and stem pipe inside out thoroughly with warm water then attach the stem pipe back with the basin.
3. Use boiling hot water
The easiest thing you can do to unclog a sink is to pour down the boiling hot water to the pipeline. The water has to be hot enough to melt down the clog that has build up in the drain. Boil some water in a large pot or kettle and pour that down to the line through the sink.
Make sure that the water is not too hot to cause loosen PVC pipes. You probably may have to repeat the step twice or thrice to completely get rid of the blocking. Also, to prevent any damages to your porcelain sink, ensure you put the hot water exactly to the drain hole. Since you are working with boiling water, be careful of not spilling it on you or others.
4. Baking soda and vinegar
Equal parts of baking soda and vinegar work as a wonderful remedy to get rid of rigid sink clogs. You only need to mix equal parts of baking soda and vinegar in a mug and pour that down in the drain immediately to get rid of sturdy clog made up mostly hair grime, soap scum, grease, and dirt. Let the mixture sit at least for an hour for proven results, and then flush that down with hot water. Warning: the mixture will create a little fuzz because of the chemical reaction, but that fuzz is pretty okay to fight the harsh clog.
If you need a correct measure, 1/3 cup o baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar will be fine. You can also simply pour baking soda in the sink and then decant the same amount of vinegar later over it. Wait overnight and then flush down the hot boiling water for proven results.
5. Baking soda and salt
If you do not have vinegar at home, try another proven combination, baking soda with salt to get rid of greasy and grimy sink clogs. Mix 1/3 cup of each and pour the blend into the drain, then wait about 15 to 30 minutes, and after that simply pour boiling water down to the drain. The aggressive chemical reaction can unclog almost every type of bathroom sink blockages. It is one of the easiest home remedies that can anyone try with readily available items in the kitchen.
6. Use a metal wire
It is a quick fix and does not take much of your time. To perform this procedure you need a long metal wire or a hanger wire, rubber gloves, and a container to catch the jammed grimes.
Simply, remove the stem pipe beneath the washbasin and insert the metal wire or hanger wire down from the sink with gloves on to remove all the waste. Make sure you have placed a spare container under the sink to collect all the muck. After removing all the muck, put everything back together again, and run some hot water down the drain to test the result of your hard work.
If there is a big clog in the P-bend, you will have to bend the metal wire in that certain shape to pull out the stuck mess. You can also unscrew the P-bend to take out the muck appropriately with the help of the same metal wire. You can perform or skip this step, depending upon the seriousness of the clog.
7. Use a plunger
If the sink clog is due to a large obstruction in the pipe that you can’t remove with the help of a metal wire or a chemical reaction, try using a plunger (cup-shaped plumbing tool). Remember to remove the stopper before performing the procedure. If there is no water already in the basin, fill the basin about half with water. After that put the plunger over the drain hole, and try to build a good firm seal over it. Once you have built a firm seal with the plunger over the drain, apply force to pump up the plunger several times. Remove the plunger to check the result of your hard work.
8. Use plumber’s snake
Always keep a plumber’s snake at a bay to unclog the total blocked sink system. Plumber’s snake is a useful tool to remove the gunk trapped beyond the P-trap. First, remove the P-trap and insert the one end of the plumber’s snake into the opening of the pipe. Keep inserting the tool until you reach the block. Try to pull out the clogged gunk through the pipe with the help of the plumber’s snake. Repeat the steps if needed.
9. Use Sodium Hydroxide
Pour down caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide with water down into the drain hole to get rid of the toughest types of clogs. The extremely strong chemical dissolves organic items, like hair fragments, soap pieces, grease, and hard mud.
The chemical is risky to work with, as it can burn your skin, so it is important for you to follow all the safety instructions written on the product properly while using. Do not forget to wear gloves while working with the chemical.
Dilute 3 cups of caustic soda with 3 to 4 liter of cold water in a large mop bucket. Mix the solution with the help of a wooden stick, and do not use utensils and containers that you use in the kitchen for cooking and eating purposes. The water and chemical mixture should begin to fizz and heat up, then carefully pour the solution straight into the drain hole, and let the mixture sit for 20 to 30 minutes without touching it. After 30 minutes, run down almost 3 to 4 liter of hot water through the sink to ensure complete cleaning. Repeat the procedure if required.
10. Try bleach
Use bleach to clean the blocked pipeline of your sink. Pour 1 cup (250 ml) of undiluted bleach straight into the sink drain, and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. After that, turn the tap on in full pressure and let the water go down into the drain. Ensure that the water is hot.
Clogging of pipes is not just limited to sinks, bathrooms, and kitchens. It is one problem that might take a monstrous turn once it starts forming inside sewerage pipes.
Fatberg – this is the name given to a massive clog of sewer pipes the most famous one being the one in Whitechapel London which took almost 3 weeks for a crew of 8 men with high powered jets to break it up and unclog the sewer pipe. The fatberg had turned hard like concrete and had to be transported via trucks owing to its size – it was longer than two football fields.
Non Biodegradable things are thrown into drains and flushes combined with the fat component of soap and detergent added with hair which helps it to intertwine make a fatberg so hard. The non-biodegradable things found in the London fatberg were baby wipes, sanitary pads, and tonnes of hair.
Fatbergs generally form at the rough surfaces of the sewers since the non-biodegradable things get stuck there, start accumulating, the fat acts as a bonding agent owing to its sticky and slimy nature, and hair strengthens the bond.
Fatbergs in themselves are not a health hazard however if they are not removed on time and clog the sewer to an extent where the drain water starts flowing into gardens and properties then, sure enough, it poses a health hazard to the people living in the vicinity, the environment, and the wildlife. Fatbergs are so obnoxiously pungent in odor that the hardiest of the sewer workers will gag and have a hard time breaking it and unclogging the sewer.
As individuals, it is our responsibility to maintain hygienic conditions not only in our homes but also in society. We need to make sure not to throw away baby wipes, tissues, sanitary pads, hair, any waste material that is non-biodegradable or take a very long time to break down. Such things need to go in a landfill or need to be destroyed after use in such a manner that they don’t pose a threat to the environment or a health hazard to the society
Keeping our bathrooms unclogged at all times is our responsibility however keeping our sewers unclogged is also our responsibility that we need to understand and take action to keep them fatberg free.