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How to Unclog a Sink Yourself

A sink drain

So, whether it’s your sink or your shower, your drain is clogged! You’ve never dealt with this before, but you want to try a DIY solution and learn how to unclog a sink. Then, if that doesn’t work, you can bring in the big guns.

You’ve probably started to research chemical drain cleaners. But you’ve also heard that this is bad for your pipes and that you should never use it!

You may have also heard that pouring boiling water down the drain can help…but you’ve also heard that it can melt your pipes!

It’s pretty important to know one way or the other, isn’t it? If you want to know how to unclog a drain safely, there are lots of solutions, but there are also lots of things you shouldn’t do.

Do NOT: 
…Use a “Homemade” Tool
We know you’ve probably heard that you can use an unraveled wire hanger or something like that to try and remove a clog from your drain. But it’s more likely to get stuck or break than to do any good!
…Use a Hydrojetter
Yes, professional tools like a hydrojetter really get the job done, and you may have seen a plumber use the high-pressure motor-powered machine before!

But it uses such high pressure, it can easily injure you! That’s why our plumbers wear face shields, and are also experienced in knowing the right pressure hydrojetter for your pipes.
– Pour Boiling Water Down the Drain
Why not? It’s natural, and we can usually do this all the time, right?

Well, the reason you don’t want boiling water in your pipe when there’s a clog is, if the boiling water doesn’t clear the clog away, then the boiling water is staying in the pipe, and could melt your PVC. Again, ordinarily, it’s perfectly fine to pour boiling water down the drain, but not when a clog is preventing the boiling water from draining down.
– Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you want to know how to unclog a sink, look no further than a cup of baking soda plus a cup of vinegar as your drain cleaner. It’s a cheap solution, safe, and a great way to avoid calling the plumber!

…Right? Well, not exactly.

The problem is that vinegar is a somewhat weak acid, and baking soda is a relatively weak base. Separately, they are weak, and together, they cancel each other out and are even weaker! They both work great as surface cleaners, but that’s because you’re using your own elbow grease, too. If you’re expecting it to clear a clog, it will probably do an incomplete job and you’ll still be left vulnerable to a worsening clog.
Don’t despair! A lot of strategies don’t work, but there are a couple that do:

– Try Using a Drain Snake
…instead of something you’ve put together yourself. One of these types of products that’s on the market can easily grab that clump of hair or grease!
– Take Out Your “P-trap” and Inspect It
If you’re saying, “I don’t have a P-trap”…Oh, but you do! Here is a diagram of under the sink:

First, use drain pliers to take off the drain nuts, and from there you can look at the P-trap and see if the clog is stuck in there. However, make sure you line the area with rags and newspaper before doing anything else, and put a drip bucket under the sink!

Of course, that tactic only works with sinks. If the clog is in your shower, and using a drain snake didn’t do any good, that’s when you’ll need to call us! 

Or, if you took out the sink P-trap, only to find the clog wasn’t there and must be further down…Michael’s Plumbing is here for you! We highly suggest that you don’t use chemical cleaners, because they either eat both the clog and your pipe, or they won’t be strong enough to get rid of the clog (like the natural baking soda/vinegar suggestion).

Instead of pouring corrosive chemicals or ineffective organic solutions down your drain, call in our experts! We use a snake attached to a video camera so we can actually see exactly what the problem is.
We rely on the latest technology and the best plumbers in the business:  schedule an appointment or call us at (407) 219-9772 today!

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