The Tool Barn

Unclogging a Sink

Sink stop working?   Drain clogs are a nasty fact of life.  The stuff that you get out of a drain can be truly amazing.  If you are past the drano step, here are some more involved instructions. 

Plunger in sink
Items needed:
Adjustable pliers or wrench
Snake (1/4" x 25')
Safety Suggestions and Tips
Use vigorous plunging action
Avoid chemical additives, if possible
Watch out for trapped water in the trap
Keep some rags available for the mess
Level of difficulty

Time Required:
 1 hour


Trap and tailpiece
Beneath the sink 

Step 1:

(This step is optional.  Some people think this is a good idea, others don't.  Either way, don't get too carried away or you might blow out a pipe joint)  Get your plunger from the bathroom, cover the drain with it and attempt to plunge the obstruction out.  If you have a two-basin sink, you'll need to use the a stopper to seal it.

Loosen pipe nut

Step 2:

If the plunger doesn't work, you will have to disassemble the trap.  Put a bucket under it first.  You might also have to remove some of the other pipes depending on your setup.  If you have plastic pipes under the sink they have small tabs on the collars that you should be able to turn by hand.  If your pipes are metal then you will likely have to use an adjustable or pipe wrench.

Remove trap, trying to dump water in bucket

Step 3:

Remove the trap and inspect it.  If the clog is not located here then you will have to snake the drain.  Get into your dirty clothes and assemble some rags.

Run snake back into wall plumbing

Step 4:

Make sure that your snake is properly sized for the job, a toilet auger or other snake designed to clean large waste lines will probably not work.  The most common size of snake for this job is 1/4". Insert the snake into the drain and begin working it into the pipe.  On manual snakes, there is normally a short piece of pipe (sleeve) that slides over the snake.  It has a small set screw that you use to secure the sleeve.  Use this sleeve to turn the snake as you work it into the drain pipe.

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