When you have a slow-draining sink, a repair can remove whatever is clogging the drain. The culprit is often soap scum, hair, dirt, grease, food remnants, paper products, or a combination thereof. It can be fixed without harsh chemicals and oftentimes without calling a plumber for sink repair. Here are some of the most effective ways to get your sink draining again:

1. Clean Off the Stopper

The sink stopper is a raised metal device with a tail-like bottom that extends into the pipe. Soap, hair, and other debris tend to get caught in this feature, slowing the sink drain. The stopper, or pop-up, can often be removed by removing the pop-up nut under the sink, behind the drain pipe. Depending on the sink, the stopper itself can be unscrewed. Then, simply wipe off the goo before reinstalling.

2. Use a Zip-It Tool

A thin piece of plastic that resembles a zip tie, a Zip-It tool helps manually unclog a sink drain. It can work whether the drain top pops out or not. To use a Zip-It tool, insert it into the drain to catch hair and debris. Then pull it out to remove all the gunk. As an alternative, you can bend a coat hanger into a straight piece of metal, bend it at a 90-degree angle, and insert it into the drain to pull out any debris.

3. Plunge the Sink

Use a plunger designed for a sink; a toilet plunger is unsuited for this task. A sink plunger is a smaller version and works similarly. To use it, place the cup over the sink drain and run the water until the cup is submerged. Then move the plunger up and down in short, quick motions. This will force air into the drain to dislodge whatever is clogging it.

4. Snake the Sink

Using a drain auger is a more aggressive approach to repairing a slow-draining sink. Plumbers have this kind of tool, but you can find one at a home improvement store. Augers come with three- to 25-foot-long cables. A spiral catch on the end helps dislodge, push, or latch onto clogs so you can pull them out. To use the tool:

  • Remove the stopper from the sink drain.
  • Insert the snake into the drain.
  • Feed the snake into the pipe.
  • Retract it repeatedly to clear any debris.
  • Crank the handle once you feel the blockage.
  • Wiggle the tool gently to catch the clog.
  • Remove the snake and discard any debris it catches.
  • Flush the drain with hot water.

5. Create a Natural Drain Cleaner

Store-bought drain cleaners often contain corrosive chemicals. However, you can avoid them by creating a homemade solution. First, pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain, and then add ½ cup of distilled white vinegar. You can use lemon juice if you don’t have vinegar, as its acidity can dissolve a clog. Wait 10 to 15 minutes and then pour boiling water down the drain (sometimes, boiling water alone can fix the problem). Run the faucet to see if the drain is working.

6. Clean the Sink Overflow Opening

The overflow opening diverts water if it rises too high. It also allows air into the drain when the sink is full to help it drain faster. Dirt and debris can easily build up in the opening, but it’s easy to clean with a cotton swab or an old toothbrush. Cleaning the overflow can stop your sink from draining slowly.

Can I Perform Plumbing Repairs on a Slow-Draining Sink?

We don’t recommend attempting DIY plumbing repairs. However, one more thing you can try is to clear the P-trap, which prevents sewer gas from backing up (but is also prone to buildup and catching lost items). This requires moving the drain pipe under the sink. To do so:

  • Turn off the sink’s water supply.
  • Removing anything stored under the sink.
  • Place a bucket under the P-trap.
  • Twist the P-trap’s slip nuts counterclockwise (with your fingers or a wrench).
  • Remove the P-trap section of the pipe.
  • Wearing gloves, push a stiff brush or unbent coat hanger into the trap.
  • Once it’s clean, reinstall the P-trap.
  • Turn the water back on.

How Do I Prevent a Slow-Draining Sink?

Slow-draining sinks, and repairs associated with them, can be prevented. To avoid hassles:

  • Throw hair, dust, or crumbs into the trash can.
  • Install a mesh drain cover to catch debris.
  • Avoid brushing your hair over the sink.
  • When shaving, wipe away stubble with a washcloth.
  • Clean the sink stopper often.
  • Regularly run hot water to flush the sink.

Contact Express Plumbing Heating & Air

Our technicians have years of experience in sink and faucet repair. Their expertise enables them to quickly remove blockages without causing damage. If you have a sink emergency, you can reach us 24/7 and we’ll resolve the issue and prevent worse problems such as an overflow or burst pipe. For help repairing a slow-draining sink in your Bose, Nampa, Caldwell, Eagle, or Meridian home, call Express Plumbing Heating & Air at (208) 273-4816.

Brad Jordan

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