How to Unblock a Sink

how to unblock a sink

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If you have ever tried unblocking a sink, then you know that the process can be complicated and not always successful. Unblocking a sink with a plunger is not always effective, and the issue could be much worse than just clogged food or debris. The truth is that sink clogs can build over time and these types of clogs will need more than just pressure to release a clog. With all of this in mind, you may be wondering how to unlock a sink for good and return to free-flowing water drainage.

To unblock a sink, you can try to flush with hot water to release the clog or consider using a plumber-approved drainage chemical to break down the grime and bacteria to allow easy plunging or flushing of the clog. For tough clogs, you can remove the u bend and manually flush out the clog.

Fixing a blocked sink is not a hard challenge, but there are instances where the clog can be more problematic than usual. This guide will take you through all of the steps you can take to successfully unblock a sink through a range of different methods. Furthermore, clogs can be worse in either the kitchen or the bathroom, so we will also go through the challenges that are unique to both types of sink locations.

How Do You Unblock a Sink Naturally?

When it comes to effective plumbing, the natural method is usually the best method to consider. Over-the-counter drainage chemicals can sometimes cause worse problems than what you are already dealing with, especially with organic matter like rotting food. Some chemicals can trigger adverse reactions when applied to the enzymes within decaying matter, which can make for a nightmare of a bubbly, disgusting mess.

Let’s explore some of the most effective natural methods available to unblock a sink.

Step 1: Plunging

A blocked sink will usually cause excess water in the kitchen sink that is teeming with bacteria. Always wear a pair of rubber gloves when you work to unblock a sink. When it comes to plunging, any plunger will work since all you are trying to do is create a vacuum of pressure to release the clog and return the water flow.

Place the plunger over the drain in the standing water and you may need to remove any debris that is blocking the drain to get good airflow. Once you start plunging, you are basically sucking the air out of the clogged pipe and then returning the air through the pipe to loosen the debris causing the clog.

You may need to use force for each plunge and depending on the severity of the clog, you may have to plunge for up to 5-10 minutes. If you successfully release the clog, be sure to let warm water flow through the drain to release any blockages at the back of the pipe.

When unblocking a sink with a plunger, be sure to fill the sink with water and allow it to drain completely; if all the water drains at a normal speed, the blockage has been removed.

Step 2: How to Unblock a Sink with Warm or Boiling Water Flush

To unblock the sink with warm water, the idea is to use warm to hot water to break down the clog and force to blast the blockage free. You can try this with a gallon jug or a sprayer if your sink has one.

It may help to clean the plughole first and you can use a plunger if the basin is filled with water to create an airtight seal to make sure any excess water begins to move down the clogged pipe.

For a kitchen sink, use the sink sprayer or fill a bottle with hot water. Then, aim the sprayer or start rapidly squeezing the bottle over the plughole to create enough force to break apart the blockage.

You can use the same process for a bathroom sink and if a bathroom shower is clogged, you can use the shower or shower nozzle to perform this step.

There are no guarantees this will work, but if the blockage is small, it can usually do the trick.

Step 3: How to Unblock a Sink with Baking Soda and Vinegar

You can also use baking powder and vinegar to clear and remove blockages. This is a great way to apply the chemical method without using harsh chemicals that can cause adverse reactions.

Both baking soda and white vinegar have enzymes that are capable of breaking down grime and residue, which is the adhesive that clogs bind to inside of the pipe. The baking soda crystals and white vinegar will neutralise the enzymes within the clog and help it to break down.

To try this method, pour one cup of white vinegar and pour one cup of baking powder or baking soda crystals into a container with boiling water. Mix the cup of white vinegar/soda solution well and pour it into the plug hole. If excess water is standing in the sink, you may find that it helps to remove as much of this water as possible for the solution to target the plughole once you pour the cup of solution down the plughole.

Allow the solution to work its way through the drain for about 30 minutes, and then dump as much boiling water down the pipe as possible to flush out the blockages. Make sure you allow the solution to sit long enough within the pipes to work to allow it time to clear the blockage.

You may also find that it helps to block the overflow of water with a plug of some sort or, an old dishcloth once you put the powder down the plughole to ensure that the powder solution stays within the clogged pipe and doesn’t pop back up into the sink.

Step 4: Using Drain Unblocker or Washing Powder

Some people may find success with using washing powder to clear the blockage in a drain. You can certainly try this method and always be sure to flush with water after 30 minutes.

But most people will naturally turn to a drain unblocked that can be purchased at a market. As previously mentioned, this could do the trick, but then again, it could make the problem worse. Use these products at your own discretion.

These products work by breaking down blockages with chemicals. Most products call for the entire bottle or half of the bottle to be poured directly into the blocked sink by which the chemicals work through the pipes for 30 minutes to an hour.

All of these steps can be aided by the use of a plunger after each step is completed. But are there any other methods available without the use of a plunger?

How Do You Unblock a Sink Without a Plunger?

You can certainly do the task to clear blockages without the use of a plunger, and honestly, most severe blockages will require additional steps. The most effective way to remove a blockage and clear the drain is to manually remove the u bend, also known as the bend in the pipe, to flush out a blockage with a wire coat hanger or other slim, pointed rodlike object (snake).

The u bend is located in the mid-section of the drainage piping of a bathroom or kitchen sink. For this task, you will need a snake and a bucket to catch any water that will fall out of the u bend piping once you unscrew it.

Take Apart the U Bend and Clean the Piping

When figuring out how to unblock a sink without a plunger, you have to take apart the u bend first. Place the bucket underneath the pipe and begin by unscrewing the threads that are fastened to the edges of the first bend pipe.

If the kitchen or restroom sink has a severe blockage, you will want to make sure that bucket is underneath the piping because a messy, foul gush of water is going to fall out of the piping.

Once the piping is detached, hold it over the bucket and shake it to allow all of the blocked debris to fall into the bucket below. You can insert the snake to get any stubborn debris to fall out of the piping as well.

It will be useful to also allow the snake to clean the clean out the other two attached pipes as much as possible in case the clog is in either of those pipes.

Once all piping is clear and clean, reattach u bend and test out the water flow into the sink. If everything drains smoothly, you have successfully unblocked the sink. If the problem still remains, this is a sign that the blockage is deeper into the drainage line and triage of the drainage system is likely needed by a professional.

Will Bleach Unblock a Sink?

When it comes to bleach, this is a perfect chemical to consider for cleaning and sanitation of your sink and upper-level drainage system. With that said, bleach will not work towards removing a clog. It could help break the clog down a bit, but it will not dissolve the clog.

Food, hair, soap scum, and overall grime are the main culprits when it comes to a clogged sink, and bleach lacks the chemical enzymes to completely dissolve these organic compounds.

How Do You Unblock a Bathroom Sink?

If you are wondering how to unblock a sink in the bathroom, the process is just like the steps you would take for a sink located in the kitchen. Restroom sinks tend to get clogged easier due to the constant flushing of hair and soap scum, as well as toothpaste, down the plughole.

For this reason, outside help is sometimes needed to get the clog to break apart. The process is a bit more difficult for a shower since it is typically impossible to easily access the piping that exists underneath a tub or shower drain.

But the biggest obstacle found in a restroom sink is definitely clogged hair, which is one of the biggest culprits time and time again.

For a clogged shower drain, it is always best to contact a professional drainage company to get these clogs out of the shower piping.

Is a Blocked Sink an Emergency?

You need to get a clogged sink fixed as soon as possible for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is impossible to continue using a sink once the piping becomes clogged. The overflow of water that exists every time you run water in the sink cannot flow properly, which inhibits your ability to operate the sink easily.

You will still need to have the sink for everyday tasks, and this is not possible when the drain line is clogged.

Secondly, clogged sinks can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria as well as an attractant for pests. All of these things can make you sick and will not go away until the clog has been removed. It’s a time-consuming hassle when this happens, but getting a drain unblocked as quickly as possible is always recommended to return to normal.


When deciding how to unblock a sink, be sure to contact us if you are ever unsure of the process or if none of the above methods are working. we have years of experience and the latest tools and technology for unblocking your drains.

The problem may be much worse than what is seen at the surface level and finding and clearing blocked drains can be easily resolved using high-pressure water jetting, drainage rods and as a last resort, excavation. Using the latest CCTV drain survey equipment, we are able to pinpoint your problem and ensure that we carry out work in the correct location.

If you need your drains unblocked and are based in Hampshire or the surrounding areas, then think KJC Drainage for all your plumbing needs.

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