If there’s anything guaranteed to put a dampener on your day, it’s a blocked sink. We’ve all been there – pulling the plug after doing the dishes to find the water just sits there. Sinks are something we take for granted and use multiple times a day, but if you’re dealing with a blocked sink, it can be a huge headache to sort out.
What Causes a Blocked Sink?
Blocked sinks are one of the most common plumbing issues and are generally caused by allowing things other than liquids to go down the drain.
In the kitchen, food scraps are the most common cause of sink blockages. A few scraps will wash through the pipes along with the water, but if you’re frequently dumping the remains of your meals in the sink instead of the kitchen bin, you’re likely to end up with a blockage sooner or later.
Fat can also be a problem and should never be poured in the sink. Many fats are liquid when they’re heated but solidify at room temperature, so if they get into your pipes, they’ll quickly block them.
In the bathroom, soap scum and hair are the most likely candidates for blocking your drain. This is more common in the shower drain and bath but can easily clog up your sink too.
How to Fix a Blocked Sink
If your sink is blocked, there are a few things you can try first to clear it before calling a plumber out. However, if these steps don’t clear the blockage, it’s best to leave it to the professionals to avoid making the problem worse.
1. Boiling Water
If your pipes are blocked by soap or fat, boiling water can help to clear it by dissolving the blockage. However, you should never pour boiling water into PVC pipes as this can damage them. If you have plastic pipes, try hand-hot water instead.
Before pouring the boiling water into your sink, remove as much water as you can. If your sink isn’t completely blocked but just draining slowly, you can wait for it to drain. Otherwise, bail it out with a mug.
Use a whole kettle of boiling water and let it sit. You may have to repeat this several times, letting the water cool in-between before it’s effective at moving the blockage.
2. Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar is effective at cutting grease and baking soda causes a reaction with vinegar that bubbles up and helps to remove blockages in the pipe.
Pour the baking soda into the drain first, followed by a generous glug of white vinegar. Wait a few minutes until the mixture has stopped fizzing and flush with hot water. Again, you may have to repeat this process a few times if it’s not effective at first.
3. Caustic Cleaner
If boiling water and the vinegar and baking soda method described above haven’t been effective, you might want to try something a little stronger.
Commercial drain clearing solutions are effective at dissolving grease, food, hair, and other organic materials but they should be used as a last resort. Make sure to wear gloves and only use them in a well-ventilated area. You should also keep the bottles in a safe place well away from children and pets.
If you think the blockage may be caused by a solid object, don’t use drain cleaner as it won’t be effective and will simply fill your pipes and sink with dangerous chemicals.
If your sink is firmly blocked, pouring more stuff down your drain isn’t going to help. Instead, try using the power of suction to shift the blockage.
For this, you’ll need a plunger. Start by covering any overflow spouts or second plug holes if you have a double sink. Fill the sink with enough water to cover the bell of the plunger and plunge the drain several times. If you have good suction and the blockage is solid, this might be enough to clear it. Follow up by flushing with plenty of hot water.
5. Call in the Experts
If you’ve tried all of the above suggestions, it’s probably safe to say that you’re not going to be able to clear the blockage on your own.
Plumbers have access to specialist tools and equipment that can clear a blocked sink quickly and easily. These include drain cameras to identify exactly where the blockage is and what’s causing it, and high-pressure jets that can blast out blockages without damaging your pipes.
If you’ve got a blocked sink or any other plumbing emergency, and you live in the Perth area, give the plumbing experts at Tunnel Vision a call. They have the skills and tools to clear any kind of sink or drain blockage quickly and with minimal inconvenience to you. Call on 1800 631 799, or book online.