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Unblock A Sink — Actionable DIY Guide

#DIY#Blocked Drains

How do you unblock a sink? Our simple 10-step method for clearing blocked sinks will teach you how to get rid of clogged drains for good!

Who wouldn’t be grossed out at the sight of standing wastewater in the kitchen or bathroom sinks?

We understand seeking professional help may only sometimes be possible due to budget or time constraints. But do you know how to unblock a sink effectively without damaging your plumbing?

Unblocking Sink

Well, that’s why today, we will help you tackle the issue using DIY methods. So, dive in to learn how to unblock a sink in 10 simple steps!

How To Unblock A Sink In 10 Steps?

Baking Soda Cleaning Method

It may sound too good to be true, but you may fix your blocked sink using supplies usually available at your home. You will need:

  • An empty bucket and a container
  • Wooden spoon
  • Old towels or dishcloths
  • Rubber gloves
  • Hot water
  • Plunger (preferably with a long handle)
  • Drain snake
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Soda crystals
  • Caustic soda
  • Screwdriver

Now, you may feel overwhelmed with this list, but remember that you may not need everything. The number of steps and resources you will end up using will depend on how bad the condition of the clogged sink is. Nevertheless, we will walk you through an extensive process so that you have all the bases covered!

Step 1- Empty The Sink

If your blocked sink is filled to the brim or has started overflowing, you will need to get rid of some dirty water. Otherwise, you won’t be able to reach the drain stopper, no matter which technique you want to use.

Put on your protective gloves and carefully pour the wastewater into the bucket using the empty container until there’s no more than an inch or two of water left in the kitchen or bathroom sink. Dispose of the water in the bucket (as you may need it later), and don’t even think of reusing the container (unless there’s a blockage again!).

Step 2- Clean The Drain Hole

Depending on the depth of your sink and the amount of water removed, you may see the drain hole at this point. Remove it if you notice solid waste, such as food scraps, coffee grounds, or hair strands. This may help drain some standing water, but you’d still need to do more to unblock the sink completely.

Drain Hole Photograph

Step 3- Pour Boiling Water

Use an old towel or dishcloth to block the overflow, ensuring an airtight seal. Then, gradually pour a whole kettle of hot water down the sink drain hole. Take time with this step to avoid any backsplash, as that may burn your skin.

Allow this step to work for about 30 minutes, after which you should see the stagnant wastewater draining slowly. Repeat this a couple of times until all the water has drained. But if it doesn’t work after a couple of tries, move on to step 3.


Very hot water can damage PVC pipes, so use warm water instead.

Step 4- Employ The Plunger Method

Try to unblock the sink with a plunger by placing its head on the drain hole to create suction. Now, gently push the handle briskly to break the clog while keeping the overflow hole blocked. Once satisfied with the results, flush the drain with hot or warm water.

Plunger Drain

Step 5- Bring Out The Drain Snake

If the plunger doesn’t work satisfactorily (or if you don’t have one handy), get a drain snake, remove the drain plug and insert it through the stub pipe. Continue inserting it through the sink drain until you feel resistance- this is a sign that you’ve hit the clog.

Pull the head out of the pipe, which should also bring some debris. If it doesn’t, the clog is likely caused by accumulated grease, soap scum or oil, in which case you should push the head to break it. Wait for the stagnant water to drain, and finish off by pouring hot water.

Man Drain Snake Sink


You can replace the drain snake with a straightened wire coat hanger or net curtain wire. Bend the latter at one end to create a hook-like structure.

Step 6- Use Baking Soda And Vinegar

If physical methods don’t clear your blocked bathroom or kitchen sink, pour two tablespoons of baking soda down the drain hole and follow it immediately with a cup of white vinegar. The baking powder and white vinegar solution will form a fizzy chemical reaction inside the sink drain, dissolving all organic matter. As such, it’s most effective in breaking clogs due to organic waste like soap residue or food particles.

Cover the drain hole for some time until the fizz dies down completely, and flush the drain with warm or hot water several times to unclog the blocked sink.

Step 7- Use Soda Crystals

You can replace the vinegar and baking soda formula with soda crystals (or use them one after the other). Dissolve half a packet of soda crystals in boiling water and pour this sink unblocker solution down the drain. This method works best for breaking clogs made of soap and grime.

Step 8- Use Caustic Soda

A caustic soda solution can be as effective as chemical cleaners, minus the damage that chemical drain cleaners inflict. Mix 3 cups of caustic soda in 3 litres of cold water in a bucket and mix them with a wooden spoon. The solution will give off some fizz and heat.

Pour this near the drain hole and leave the bathroom or kitchen sink undisturbed for half an hour before you flush it with 4 to 5 litres of boiling water. Be careful with this drain cleaner method to prevent caustic soda burns.

Step 9- Clean The U-Bend

If none of the above methods works, place a bucket below the sink and remove the u-bend (or p-trap) to drain the stagnant water. Clean this part thoroughly with soap and water and let it dry.

Kitchen Sink

Step 10- Reattach The U-Bend

Finally, screw back the u-bend and turn on the faucet to ensure that your sink drains correctly. Place a drain hole filter to catch solid waste and avoid future blockages as much as possible.

How To Unblock A Sink: DIY

Cleaning a blocked sink or drain can become messy despite having all the tools and resources. Besides, removing the p-trap may be difficult for some people, especially those who don’t excel in DIY jobs.

You should reach out to us at Big Blue Plumbing in such situations. We have a team of licensed plumbers who can clean indoor and outdoor water drains, no matter the intensity or reason of the clog. So, don’t hesitate to give our blocked drain plumbers a call.

We hope you learned something about how to unblock a sink from this guide!

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