How to Fix a Backed Up Sink

Fixing a backed up sink drain yourself has two big advantages: You save time and you save money.

After all, who has the leisure time - or the inclination - to wait all day for an expensive plumbing service to stop by?

When sinks in the kitchen or bathroom back up, pouring liberal doses of very hot water down the drain will often help by melting greasy clogs away.

If that doesn't cut it, here are 3 ways you can clean the clogged drain yourself. You'll be glad you didn't spend your time or money waiting around for someone to do it for you!

1. To Fix a Backed Up Sink, Start By Cleaning the Strainer.

Drain clogs often happen at the strainer, and are easily fixed by removing the strainer or stopper and cleaning it.

Here's how:

  • Remove the stopper or strainer by turning it and pulling up on it with your fingers.
  • Rinse away any soap scum, hair, food, or grease attached to the strainer.

2. Plumbing with Petroleum Jelly.

Sure, you put it there for the toilet. But a toilet plunger is really a universal drain cleaner that can remove sink clogs with suction quite efficiently, too.

Here's how:

  • If you already have standing water, turn on the faucet until you have several inches of water covering the drain. This water will help force the clog out. On bathroom drains, you'll need to cover the overflow valve near the rim.
  • Apply a thin ring of petroleum jelly around the rim of the rubber plunger cup. Doing this provides for tighter suction against the drain, and improves the effectiveness of your pumping action.
  • Once you have a seal established, hold a slightly damp cloth over the overflow valve as you gently push the plunger down. Give the plunger three or four quick, powerful pumps. Wait a moment to see if the backed up sink drains. If it doesn't try again.

When the clog is cleared, run hot water to wash down any remaining clogged material that might be lingering in the drain.

3. Try a Liquid Drain Cleaning Product.

As a last resort to your backed up sink - and before calling a plumbing repair service - pour a liquid drain cleaner into the sink. These chemical cleaners can usually burn through all but the toughest of clogs quickly.

4. Next Steps.

If the drain opener or several short sessions with the drain plunger won't dislodge the blockage - or if you've noticed that several of your home's other sinks are also draining sluggishly - the problem is likely to be a main drain clog deep inside your main house drain or a sewer clog.

Both are well outside your reach. It's now time to call a professional drain service.

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› Backed Up Sink


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