A sink that drains too slowly is a very common household nuisance, but one that can be fixed quite easily. Most slow-draining sinks are caused by buildup of everyday materials.
In a bathroom, most sink drains are clogged by a combination of hair, soap, toothpaste and other debris. While in the kitchen, the clogs are usually the culprit of food particles. In either case, both kinds of backup can typically be cleared with regular household items. All you will need is a pair of rubber gloves, paper towels, a plunger, some baking soda, white vinegar, and dish soap.
First, clear the area of any visible debris. In a bathroom sink, pull up the metal stopper and remove the gunk that clings to it. Use a paper towel to wipe it and clean it using dish soap. See if the water drains more quickly once the obstruction is out of the way.
If you are clearing debris from a kitchen sink, you won’t have a stopper to clean, so simply look down into the drain and reach a pair of long tweezers down into the drain (a set of chop sticks works great) to grasp any large objects that you can see. BE VERY CAREFUL if you have a kitchen sink garbage disposal installed. Never reach your fingers down a disposal drain!
If there is more blockage further down the drain than you can reach, a regular plunger can be useful to dislodge it. With water still in the sink, use the plunger in rapid up and down motions to try to loosen the clog. You’ll notice the water level rapidly draining if you have been successful.
If the water still drains too slowly, try mixing a home drain cleaner before turning to harsh chemicals. Start with a dry sink. Pour a small amount (about a half cup) of baking soda down the drain first. Then follow it with the same amount of white vinegar. When these ingredients meet, they will start to foam. This foam should help break up any remaining debris and clear the drain.
Allow the baking soda and vinegar to stay in your drain for 2-3 hours to really complete the job. After this time, flush the pipes by pouring boiling water down the drain.
These do-it-yourself tips should get your sink back to draining normally. If not, then it could be a larger problem that requires a call to the plumber. Contact our New Jersey Plumbing Office to learn more or schedule an estimate.