How To: Unclog a Sink

Disclaimer-Captain DIY and highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!

An ongoing issue at the Headquarters lately has been an increasingly slow-draining bathroom sink. This has been on the to-do list for quite a while now, and I finally had some time and motivation to Get The Job Done. Mostly I was sick of watching my toothpaste spit float around in the sink for five minutes. Gross.

That one, right there

This is not an uncommon issue, as the design of drains and stoppers are subject to crap collection, which then hampers drain performance. Time to get to fixin’.

World’s Shittiest Tool

To start this off, I’m going to grab my trusty Plunger. Making sure to cover any overflow drain holes that might be present in the sink (in this case there are none), I will put a few inches of water in the sink and set up my plunger directly over the drain. If I have a good seal, all of my plunging force should be directed down the drain, hopefully dislodging the Clump of Disgustingness that is causing such commotion.

Probably best to wash the sink after…

This didn’t work. Ok, time for the next step. Remove the Stopper.

This can be accomplished by going into the no-man’s land that is the cabinet under the bathroom sink. Fighting my way through the tampons, hair dryers, assorted boxes of unnamed products, and spare plumbing parts that somehow live there, I made it to the connection point of the Drain Plug Mechanism Thingy.

Like discovering a lost city

Unscrewing the plastic nut that holds the bar in place allowed me to pull the bar out of the way, thereby unlocking the drain plug from its slimy prison. As I pulled it out I could see it was covered with muck, and the drain itself looked like someplace Pennywise would enjoy calling home.

This is where it starts getting graphic

Time to pull out my trusty Hook. I also pulled out my trusty Old Plastic Bag to collect whatever loathsome beast I extracted from the drain with my trusty Hook.

With one or two pokes of my hook, I was able to grab onto the mass of human garbage occupying my drain and pull it out to it’s rightful place in my garbage bag. Once I was satisfied the drain no longer held any remnants of hair and “other”, I washed the plug in the kitchen sink and brought it back for reinstallation.

Ok, that’s just gross

I then made sure water would flow smoothly down the drain without backing up by leaving the sink on full blast for about a minute. All is well!

So far so good

To reinstall, I simply reversed the extraction process by placing the plug in so that the hole at the bottom lined up with the hole in the drain pipe, then reinserted the bar and screwed the nut back hand tight.

I then affirmed proper operation of the plug mechanism by plugging and unplugging the sink a few times, all while the water was again cascading with all its might into the sink. When the bathroom sink works well, you know life is good.

Finally! No more spit swamps!

Had this not worked, the next step would have been to find the trap and remove it to look for goop in there. If that is filled, get the trusty Hook out and poke and prod until you can dislodge the junk, then replace the trap. If the problem still persists, it may be time to get out the sulfuric acid. I wouldn’t recommend doing this too often, as it may damage your pipes and, worse, it is awful for the environment. It may also be illegal, I’m not sure.

So there you have it, another Job Well Done. Pat yourself on the back (after you’ve washed your hands, of course) and grab a beer. Time to move on to the next project. Or turn on the TV, whatever floats your boat.

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