Whether it’s in your bathroom sink, shower, or kitchen drain no one likes dealing with a clogged drain. They’re unpleasant, inconvenient, and can cause additional problems if left untreated. While calling a professional plumber for a clogged drain is often the most convenient or necessary step to take, usually, you can correct small clogs on your own. Based on advice from our experts, here’s how to fix a clogged drain in four steps.
Step 1: Cover it up
Start by covering the overflow opening with a wet cloth. Since most kitchen sinks don’t have an overflow vent, you will have to plug one of the two sink basins — if your sink has two — while you work on one.
If you have two adjacent rooms with bathrooms, they may be connected by the same drain. In this case, block the other basin at its drain.
Step 2: Fill with water and plunge
Be sure the clogged basin is filled with enough water to cover the head of the plunger. To get it as tightly sealed as possible, coat the lip of the plunger with petroleum jelly. Then, take your plunger’s cup and insert it over the drain cover, then rapidly plunge up and down.
The plunging should cause water to move in and out of the drain, and the back-and-forth pressure created should build up enough energy to dislodge what is blocking your drain pipes. After 10-12 plunges, pull the plunger up quickly. Water should rush out. If not, try the above at least two more times before considering another option.
Step 3: Auger it
Plunging is your best line of defense, but if that fails, you may look into a chemical drain opener. Remember, however, that drains that are completely clogged should not be fixed with chemicals, as many caustic agents actually harm fixtures. So keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to employ the help of a chemical drain cleaner/clog remover.
In this case, try the drain-and-trap auger. Remove the pop-up stopper or strainer from your clogged drain and insert the auger wire into the opening. Then feed the wire in and crank the handle of the device to loosen and then tighten the thumbscrew as the wire moves deeper.
If the wire meets something along the way, toggle it back and forth and tighten the thumbscrew on the handle as you continue to move the wire forward.
Turn the handle and withdraw the auger from the drain slowly.
Step 4: Remove the clean-out plug
If the auger fails, remove the clean-out plug from under the sink and catch water from the trap in a bucket. Grab a wire hanger twisted into a hook shape to reach the clog. Work this wire toward the basin to dislodge the blockage.
How to Fix a Clogged Drain: Baking soda and vinegar
If you’d prefer to avoid the chemicals and plunging — and your clogged drain appears to be minor — you can try the baking soda and vinegar method.
- Start by letting hot water run through the drain pipes for at least a minute
- Sprinkle a half cup of baking soda down into the drain
- Pour in one cup of vinegar and let it sit, covered, for around ten minutes
- Finish the drain cleaning by pouring hot or boiling water through the pipes once again
Repeat these steps up to three times until the sink drains/becomes unclogged. Keep in mind this method is mainly used for minor clogs.
Clogged Drain Plumbers in Portland, OR
Unclogging any drain is dirty business. Keep it simple by following the above tips and look forward to success. If you encounter any problems, consult a reliable plumber for over-the-phone advice or schedule a house call to get your pipes flowing smoothly again.
Meticulous Plumbing is a family-owned and operated business that has been serving the Portland Metro area for years. We offer a number of services for our customers, not just clogged drain solutions. You can hire Meticulous for everything from leak repair to kitchen remodeling.
Our plumbing experts deliver only the highest quality of care for your plumbing needs, guaranteed. We even offer a free home inspection of your plumbing system at the time of service. This helps us to catch any other potential plumbing problems before they become noticeable.
For a full list of our plumbing services, head on over to our service page. We look forward to solving your plumbing problems.