DIY Maintenance Tips For Unclogging Your Bathroom Sink Drain and Kitchen Sink Drain Pipes
Dealing with a clogged drain is never fun, whether it's your bathroom drain or kitchen drain.
What causes drains to clog?
- Coffee grounds, food particles and fatty substances are common factors for kitchen sinks
- Waste disposal from garburators can be a huge problem if not properly maintained
- Hair is a big problem for bathroom drains including bathroom sinks and shower drains
- Other sink waste
What can I do to minimize drain clogging?
Drain strainers are a great start and can be applied to bathroom sinks, kitchen sinks and even bathtubs, keeping in mind that it depends on your draining setup. Sinks and tubs with built-in plugs can make it difficult for strainers to be applied right off the bat.
Clogged drains are unavoidable and will happen eventually, so let's go over a few options you can try to get rid of that nasty clog.
My sink isn't draining properly, how can I unclog it?
It's not every day your sink gets clogged, but it can and does happen over time. Drains that are not cleaned often enough, will eventually develop a build-up in the pipes, reducing the draining capacity.
Here are a few DIY ideas you can try yourself to unclog your kitchen sink and bathroom sink drain
Boiling Water - Clearing fatty substance from bathroom drains and kitchen drains
Recommended Application: Metal and fibreglass materials (Sinks, tubs, etc...)
Not Recommended: Porcelain, ceramic or any other material that runs the risk of cracking due to high temperatures (Sinks, tubs, etc...)
Boiling water is excellent as the heat helps remove any grease and other buildups that line the pipes. Doing this alone regularly is a great preventative measure to ensure your drains stay clean.
If the first attempt doesn't work, there are other options you can consider, including another pour of boiling water.
Baking Soda and Vinegar - The Natural Drain Cleaner
Remove any standing water, making sure the drain is clear enough to drop this mixture to where it needs to go.
Pour half or one full cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by an equal amount of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. The combined solution will begin to bubble, as the bubbling begins to subside, put the stopper in and wait about 10-15 minutes.
Next up, pour hot water or boiled water down to see if the line is clear. If the clog is still present, you can attempt this process another 1-3 times, anything beyond that requires further attention and is not worth wasting your household ingredients.
Wire Coat Hanger or Drain Snake
If you think something is lodged in your drain, perhaps a buildup of hair, you can try using a wire coat hanger or a plastic drain snake which can be purchased online at Amazon (Canada) and local hardware stores. Insert it down the drain and wiggle it around. Hopefully, at the very least, it helps break up whatever is in the drain.
A Sink Plunger
For a single sink, simply fill the sink up so that it covers the bell of the plunger. Begin plunging while making sure as you push and pull, the plunger is sealed around the drain.
For a double sink, you will need to make sure you seal up the sink that you are not going to plunge, this can either be done with a wet cloth or a stopper. Fill the side that needs plunging with water and begin plunging.
If you manage to clear the clog, you should notice it pretty much instantly as plunging will sound and feel different.
Once done and if the clog is cleared, pour hot water down the drain and confirm the line is clear.
If you don't have a sink plunger, you can buy online at Amazon (Canada) or stores like Home Depot (Canada), Walmart (Canada) and even Dollar Stores like Dollar Tree and Dollarama, subject to availability of course.
The Drain Trap - P-Trap and S-Trap Cleaning and Inspection
If all else fails, chances are your drain trap (P-Trap or S-Trap) will need to be removed and a more thorough inspection and cleaning of the line is necessary.
Whether a P-Trap or S-Trap, it is at the curve of the drainpipe under the sink and should have threaded connectors. Before attempting to disconnect, make sure to have a pan or bucket underneath to catch any water that may be in the line.
If you have zero plumbing experience - it's recommended that you consider hiring someone for this task to minimize the risk of possible damage to your drains and their connectors and of course, possible leaks upon completion.
If you are familiar with dismantling and reconnecting a drain trap, whether it's a p-trap or s-trap, always remember to never force thread the connectors, if there is any issue threading, backtrack and make sure the threads catch to prevent stripping of the threads. Always thoroughly inspect and make sure there are no leaks. Wipe the pipes and connectors with a paper towel and make sure the surface below the pipes is dry. Once everything has been dried up, rest a dry paper towel on the surface below your pipes, run water for a few minutes, use a flashlight to inspect your pipes while running another piece of dry paper towel along the pipes and connectors, should be leak-free.
If you are seeing a very small, minimal amount of water seeping from your connections, try hand tightening the threaded connectors a bit more, just make sure to be careful not to snap or break anything.