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How To Easily Unblock A Sink Drain

How To Easily Unblock A Sink Drain the local plumber melbourne

A blocked sink drain is one of the most common household plumbing problems, and it can be a source of major inconvenience. Whether it’s a kitchen sink clogged with food debris or a bathroom sink stopped up by soap and hair, dealing with a slow-draining or completely blocked sink is something most homeowners will encounter. Fortunately, unblocking a sink drain can often be a simple task that doesn’t always require professional help. Our local emergency plumbers here at The  Local Plumber have compiled a simple step-by-step guide on how to effectively clear that stubborn blockage and get your sink working properly again.

Why Is My Sink Blocked?

Understanding why your sink drain is blocked is the first step in effectively addressing the problem. Based on our professional day to day experiences, the most common causes include the following:

  • Food Waste: In kitchens, sinks can become clogged from fats, oils, and unground food particles that solidify in the pipes.
  • Hair and Soap: In bathrooms, the combination of hair and soap scum is a frequent culprit, building up over time and obstructing water flow.
  • Foreign Objects: Small objects accidentally dropped down the drain can cause immediate blockages.
  • Mineral Buildup: In areas with hard water, minerals can precipitate out of the water and form deposits that narrow the inner diameter of the pipes, restricting water flow.

Step 1: Preparation

Before you begin the process of clearing your sink drain, it’s important to prepare the area:

  • Clear out any standing water in the sink using a cup or container to scoop it out.
  • Remove any visible debris from the drain opening.
  • Gather your tools. You may need a plunger, a plumber’s snake (also known as a drain auger), some vinegar and baking soda, and perhaps some rubber gloves.

Step 2: Plunging

Often, a good plunging can resolve minor clogs:

  • Seal the overflow hole of the sink with a wet cloth. This helps create a vacuum, which is essential for effective plunging.
  • Position the plunger over the drain and ensure it completely covers the opening.
  • Plunge vigorously in an up and down motion for about a minute. Check periodically to see if the water starts draining normally.

Step 3: Vinegar and Baking Soda 

If plunging doesn’t clear the blockage, using vinegar and baking soda can be an effective alternative to chemical drain cleaners in naturally unblocking a drain


  • Baking Soda: 1 cup (about 200 grams)
  • White Vinegar: 1 cup (about 240 milliliters)
  • Boiling Water: Approx 2 liters of water


  1. Boil Water: Start by boiling a kettle of water (about 2 liters). This initial flush with boiling water will help to melt any greasy substances in the drain, making it easier for the baking soda and vinegar to work.
  2. Add Baking Soda: Pour 1 cup of baking soda directly down the drain. Baking soda is a great cleaning agent and will begin working on the clog immediately.
  3. Add Vinegar: Pour 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain after the baking soda. The combination of vinegar and baking soda will cause a chemical reaction, creating bubbles and fizzing, which helps to break down the clog.
  4. Cover the Drain: Quickly cover the drain with a plug or a sturdy cloth to keep the reaction below the surface. This ensures that the fizzing action works its way down the drain, rather than up and out.
  5. Wait: Allow the mixture to sit for at least 15-30 minutes. During this time, the baking soda and vinegar will be working to dissolve the clog.
  6. Flush With Boiling Water: After waiting, boil another pot of water and pour it down the drain. This second flush will help to clear out any remaining debris loosened by the baking soda and vinegar.
  7. Test the Drain: Run water from the tap to check if the clog has been cleared and water is draining normally. If the drain is still slow, you may repeat the process or use a plunger to help remove any remaining obstruction.

This natural method is safe for both your pipes and the environment, making it an excellent first-line approach to dealing with clogged drains. If the clog persists after trying this method a couple of times, it may be necessary to explore other options, such as using a plumber’s snake or calling a professional plumber.

Step 4: Checking the P-Trap

Sometimes, the clog might be located in the P-trap (the curved pipe under the sink):

  • Place a bucket underneath the P-trap to catch any water and debris.
  • Unscrew the P-trap manually or with a wrench if it’s tight.
  • Inspect and clean out the P-trap, removing any obstruction you find.
  • Reattach the P-trap, ensuring all connections are tight to prevent leaks.

Step 5: Using a Plumber’s Snake

For more stubborn clogs, a plumber’s drain snake or drain auger might be necessary. However it is highly recommended to engage the expertise of a local plumber, as they will carry out the following steps.

  • Insert the snake into the drain and push it down until you feel resistance.
  • Rotate the handle of the snake, which will help to break up the clog or hook onto it so you can pull it out.
  • Remove the snake once you feel the blockage has been cleared, and flush the drain with water to check the flow.

Blocked Drain Prevention Tips

Once your sink is clear, keep it that way with these preventative tips:

  • Use sink strainers to catch food particles and hair.
  • Avoid disposing of oil and grease down the kitchen sink as they can solidify in the pipes.
  • Collect Hair: When brushing, ironing or cutting/trimming hair – try and collect as much as possible and dispose of it within a bin. You’d be surprised how often this is the cause of simple drain blockages, especially with blocked toilets!
  • Run hot water through the sink after each use to help flush away any new debris.

Melbourne’s Blocked Sink Plumbers

If you’ve tried most of these steps and your sink is still clogged, it might be time to call in the professionals. Persistent clogs may indicate a deeper issue that DIY methods can’t resolve. The Local Plumber Melbourne is always here to help, providing expert advice and service to tackle even the toughest of clogs.

Unblocking a sink drain doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tools and techniques, you can often clear clogs quickly and prevent future problems. Remember, regular maintenance and careful use of your sink can keep the water flowing and avoid the need for more drastic measures. For stubborn or recurring issues, don’t hesitate to contact The Local Plumber Melbourne to ensure your plumbing remains in top condition. Visit our website to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.

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