Unclogging Your Sink Drain Without Using Commercial Drain Cleaning Products

Posted on: 19 January 2017

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When your sink drain is clogged, it's tempting to just get a bottle of caustic drain cleaner and let it do its work. However tempting it may be, you're pouring a caustic substance into your pipes, which can affect both the integrity of the pipes and the local waterways into which wastewater flows. There is also the danger of the chemicals failing to unclog the drain and coming back out of the drain and into your sink when you attempt to flush the chemicals after the specified waiting period. So you should avoid using potentially damaging chemical cleaners. 

If a plunger doesn't do the job, why not try a more natural approach?

Vinegar and baking soda--nature's drain cleaner

As with every task, choose the path of least resistance (and effort) in drain cleaning by using white vinegar and baking soda to form a chemical reaction that dissolves biological clogging agents while keeping your pipes and the environment safe.

You simply pour one cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by one cup of vinegar. Tough clogs may require multiple cups of each in equal measure. The concoction will expand and foam out of your sink drain, so don't be alarmed when this occurs.

If it doesn't remove the clog, it's time to get physical, but at least you have the clean, fresh smell left behind by the vinegar and baking soda to invigorate you for the next phase.

Cleaning out the sink trap

A most ingenious but simple invention, the sink trap is a "J " shaped fitting between your sink drain and the pipe to your main drain line. Instead of clogging agents going into freefall down the sink drain and into the more inaccessible main line, they may be trapped by standing water in the bottom curve of the sink trap. This is helpful because you can clean this small section out to remove a clog.

Removing the sink trap

Standing waste water is not pleasant, so you will want to hold the trap as upright as possible when removing it to avoid spilling its vile contents.

All you need is an adjustable wrench and a bucket or pail to put the trap into when you disconnect it.

Loosen the large plastic nuts on the top and bottom of the trap to disconnect it, then clean it out with a garden hose or bottle brush. There will likely be buildup of smelly sludge along the inner surface, so be sure to clean it thoroughly.

Reconnecting the sink trap

Slide the top of the trap over the sink drain pipe and slide the compression nut over the top of the trap, then maneuver the bottom of the trap to the end of the pipe that connects to the main drain line. Tighten both nuts securely.

Test to see if the clog has been removed. If the sink is still clogged, you will move to the final and worst phase--using a snake auger.

Use a snake auger or call a drain cleaning professional?

A snake auger is a long flexible metal cable with an auger, or a round spring that is designed for burrowing through your clogged drain pipes and snagging clogging agents.

If you decide to try the snake auger, you will need to remove the sink trap again and enter the drain line through the pipe connecting the sink trap to the main line.

You must turn the cable as you feed the auger further into the drain line. If you meet resistance, try to push through, then pull back. Hopefully, the auger will snag the clog and retain it as you pull out the auger.

Before you decide to use the snake auger, you may want to consider the vile black buildup that is inside your drain line. When the auger is retracted, this substance is dragged along the length of the cable. It stains everything it touches and and taints all with its stench and repulsive nature.

If you can handle it, it's a great feeling of accomplishment to unclog your drain without chemicals.

However, some battles are best left to professionals. Call local companies, like R Acres Plumbing Company LLC, for help with really tough or persisting clogs.