Unclogging Drains — Everything You Need to Know

The sharp blades of the garbage disposal are helpful when it comes to breaking down small food particles, but occasionally it just can’t handle every mess that comes its way. When your kitchen sink backs up, it’s definitely not a sight you want to behold. What’s more is that a clogged sink can lead to other issues, such as interfering with the dishwasher’s ability to drain. The best way to avoid this from happening is by performing preventive maintenance and knowing what you can and cannot wash down the drain. However, if a clog does happen, these tips will help you handle the task:

Different Ways to Unclog a Drain

Hot Water and Vinegar
  • Using a pair of rubber gloves and a cup, remove the standing water out of the sink.
  • Pour one cup vinegar down the drain, allowing it to sit for two to five minutes.
  • Once the solution has had time to work into the clog, run warm water to see if the the sink drains.
  • If this fails, pour three cups boiling water down the drain.
  • Repeat until the sink has been unclogged.
  • Add hot water to the sink until it is about a quarter to a half full.
  • Position the plunger over the drain. If you have double sinks, place a washcloth inside the unclogged drain to ensure that the pressure is focused on the clog itself.
  • Pump the plunger up and down multiple times.
  • Remove the plunger to see if the water starts to drain.
  • Repeat until the clog has become dislodged.
Plumber’s Auger
  • Determine which drain the P-trap* is under or what is the closest route to the P-trap.
  • Insert the auger down the center of the drain and rotate it counter-clockwise.
  • Loosen the auger, giving yourself slack, then tighten.
  • Continue pushing the auger down counter-clockwise.
  • Then pull the auger straight out while still using a counter-clockwise motion.
  • Run warm water down the pipe to flush out the leftover dirt and debris.

*A P-trap is a plumbing fixture that traps debris that has drained from the sink and prevents it from forming a clog deep within the plumbing system.

Helpful Preventive Maintenance Tips

  • Do not overload the garbage disposal. Add items in small amounts while disposing. Here is a helpful list of items that you should never put down your garbage disposal or drain.
  • Use a sink strainer to keep unwanted particles out of the drain.
  • Do not pour grease down a drain, ever. Keep a container on hand specifically for collecting leftover grease and make sure it’s disposed of properly.

Remember the best way to avoid a blockage is by practicing preventive maintenance regularly.