How to clear a blocked sink

Every now and then, we all find a slow-draining or even blocked sink either in the bathroom or the kitchen. Over time, as we flush things down the drain and forget about them, they slowly build up and eventually form a blockage somewhere along the waste pipe. We don’t really like to think about what we put down our sinks – after all, out of sight is out of mind! But the reality is that we do need to be careful about what we flush away – food scraps, oils, hair, other small debris – so that we don’t find ourselves with a plunger in hand or frantically searching for an emergency plumber. This month we explore a few home remedies for clearing a blocked sink.

Using a plunger

Many of us will have a plunger somewhere in the house. If that’s you, then this is the time to find it as it can make life a little easier when it comes to clearing a blocked sink. Your first step should be to block the overflow – that small hole near the top of your sink – with a rag or old dishcloth. Blocking it will help keep the pressure in your plunger.

Next, position your plunger above the plughole and then cover it with water. Using both hands, pump it up and down. This will create suction that should hopefully dislodge whatever is blocking your sink.

If that doesn’t work, or you don’t have a plunger, try one of the following:

Vinegar and baking soda

Drop a couple of teaspoons of baking (or bicarbonate of soda if you don’t have any baking) soda down the plughole, followed by a cup of white vinegar. The chemical combination of the two should help to dissolve your blockage. You can also use Alka-Seltzers with white vinegar for mild blockages or unpleasant odours. After a few minutes, run the hot tap to flush through whatever was blocking your sink.

Biological washing powder or soda crystals

A couple of tablespoons of biological washing powder followed by a full kettle of hot water can also do the trick. It will even leave your sink smelling fresh too! If you’re a pod user and don’t have any washing powder but do have some soda crystals, they are just as effective, if not quite as sweet smelling.

Flexible wire tools

Using a long, flexible wire tool you can slowly feed it into the drain and bend it around the pipe, pushing out the blockage. We would not recommend using a non-flexible tool as you do need it to bend and flex and it will have hard edges that could damage your pipes.

Unscrew the U-bend

If all else fails, you can manually remove the blockage by unscrewing the U-bend pipe below your sink. You’ll need a spanner or a wrench for this. Start by placing a bucket underneath it and changing into old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands. Take a photo of the process as you are going through to be sure that you can re-assemble it correctly and proceed to unscrew the U-bend pipe. Once apart, clear out the blockage and wash out the parts in another sink before putting it back together again.

For help and advice on anything related to plumbing, including emergency plumbing services, talk to our team at Platinum Plumbers. Call or email us on 020 8855 0361 and at and we’ll be there to help you out.

2023-01-09T08:49:41+00:00 June 28th, 2019|