Skip to main content

How to Unclog a Slow Sink Drain

By January 18, 2019No Comments

It’s usually easy to fix most backed-up sink drains in your home with a few simple tools. Your kitchen and bathroom basins have two places where most debris can turn into a nasty clog. Clean them out regularly to keep your drains free-flowing. Purging them is often a disgusting, smelly, but necessary task.

P-Traps Collect More Than Water

The first place to look is your P-trap. It’s that large, curved pipe in the cabinet under your sink that looks like the letter P. Gravity traps debris at the bottom of the curve, after it comes down from the sink but before it goes into the wall. It also collects water to keep stinky sewer gas from wafting out of your drain.

To clean your trap, put a large pan or bucket underneath it to catch all the water and gunk that’s lodged between the sink’s drain opening and the wall end of the P-trap. That section of pipe has a connector on each end which can be unscrewed. Carefully undo both ends, remove it, and make sure the pipe it was connected to is clear of gunk and other clogs. This is also a good time to run a plumber’s snake down the wall end of the drain pipe. Crank the snake’s handle to break up and pull out any blockage.

Surprises Below the Stopper

The second place to look is between the basin drain and the open end of the pipe, especially around the sink drain stopper itself. To remove the stopper, look underneath the sink for the nut that attaches the long, flat metal end of the stopper rod to the pipe. Undo that and lift the stopper out of the drain. It probably has lots of nasty junk wrapped around it so clean it well. If water still doesn’t run freely, use the snake on this section of pipe before you re-attach the stopper.

If it Just Won’t Budge

The plumbing between your basin’s drain opening and the wall connection is designed to catch as much debris as it can. If too much gunk gets pushed beyond it, a clog can form much further down the drain where it’s very hard to reach. If you’ve completely cleaned out your P-trap and stopper area, it’s time to bring in a professional. You need to remove the clog before it drifts further into the line and blocks every drain in the house.