SUBSCRIBE NOW
99¢ for the first month
SUBSCRIBE NOW
99¢ for the first month

9 items you need to fix a blocked sink

Laura Firszt Networx.com
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

Whatever your problem - a sink that’s draining ever so slowly or that's completely blocked - and wherever it may be, never fear. We’ve got ways to fix a blocked sink in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry or wet bar.

Of course, the failsafe solution is to contact a reliable plumber, but before you reach for the phone, you might want to attempt one of these methods first.

You may not need all the items mentioned - one or two might be enough to do the trick. But you won’t have to go out and spend a lot of money, either, because you could (should!) have all of them in your cupboard already.

Here are nine simple items that can help you fix a blocked sink.

1. Bailer It will be a lot easier to fix your blocked sink when you can see what you’re doing, and for that, you’ll be better off getting some of standing water out of the way by bailing, as if you were in a slowly sinking rowboat. Use a smallish plastic pitcher, measuring cup, or anything with a handle - and be prepared to wash it well afterward, because the liquid you’re scooping may be kind of yuck.

2. Bucket Don’t forget, you’ll need something to bail all that dirty, scummy water into. Have a bucket nearby; it’ll also be handy if you attempt Step 8 below.

3. Plunger Plunging can do a lot to get your sink drain flowing freely again, and it certainly can’t hurt, so plunge away. A flat-bottomed plunger, not the flanged kind meant for toilets, is your tool of choice here. (Though in a pinch, you can tuck the flange inside, why not go wild and invest in both types of plungers?)

4. Kettle The commonest cause of a kitchen sink blockage is fats, oils and grease. Pour a kettleful of boiling water down the drain; it may just melt the FOG away (don’t try this if you have a porcelain sink or plastic plumbing pipes).

For future reference: never pour fats, oils or grease down your sink ... please! They can clog your piping as well as your drains. Get rid of grease safely by pouring into an empty food container, such as a can or carton marked "Not For Recycling," and disposing along with your regular garbage. Or try this ingenious hack.

5. Eco-friendly drain cleaner Avoid harsh toxic drain cleaners, which are bad for your pipes and for our environment. Instead, try a little tenderness - an eco-friendly drain cleaner whose active ingredients are enzymes or monosodium sulfate, a mild acid.

6. Coat hanger In the bathroom, the clog is likely to be a wad of long hair. Here, a wire coat hanger might be the low-tech tool you need to fix your blocked sink. MacGyver the hanger into one long length, straight except for an improvised handle. Remove the sink strainer and pop-up stopper, if possible. Then insert the hanger into the drain and attempt to pull out the hair.

7. Disposable auger (drain cleaning tool) Similar in effect to the coat hanger, disposable plastic or metal augers are readily available at home centers or online. The price is quite affordable, so you might want to keep a few handy. They usually come in 20- or 25-inch lengths, although many people find the 20-incher just a bit too short.

8. Rubber gloves Your next move might be clearing out the P-trap, that curved section of drainpipe which is located under the sink. Position your bucket underneath before you unfasten the P-trap. Wearing rubber gloves (this could get messy), remove any blockages and replace the pipe.

9. Rags As you attempt to fix your blocked sink, you may find yourself wiping up large quantities of spilled water. It’s much simpler when you have a pile of rags sitting right next to you.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.