3 Methods for Unclogging a Pesky Drain

Sometimes sink, shower, and tub drains can become clogged leading to slow drainage or complete blockage. Clogs can be caused by a combination of residues for example, hair, soap, and grease, which is trapped below the drain opening. Simple home remedies can be used to deal with clogs but if the clog is too stubborn, methods that are more abrasive can be used.


What do you need when unclogging your sink?


  • Hot water kettle/ stove
  • Cup plunger
  • Sink auger
  • Duct tape
  • Plies/ wrench
  • Bucket


Step1: Flush the drain with boiling water


Using boiled water can unclog small blockages consisting of grease and soap scum in slowly draining sinks. However, this method should be used on metallic pipes since they can withstand the heat. Using hot boiling water on PVC (plastic) can cause them to soften when the water is above 175F. If you have plastic pipes, use a plunger to unclog your drain.


  • Boil water on your stove or kettle.
  • Carry it to the clogged sink. This will require you to be extremely careful not to cause any accidents.
  • Pour the water directly into the drain to see if it will dissolve the clog.

Note: this is effective when you use hot boiling water and not just hot tap water.


Step2: Using a plunger


A plunger uses suction to dislodge the blockages and the cup plunger is the ideal piece to use in unclogging sink and tubs.


  • Take off the drain stopper accordingly (this will depend on the drain being unclogged). For bathroom sinks, cover the outlet under the rim and take off the drain stopper. For bathtubs, put duct tape on the overflow opening at the front of the tub and for kitchen sinks, remove the basket strainer.
  • Fill the tub or sink bowl with water to help the cup plunger to form a tight grip and seal. Pump up and down severally using fast sharp plunges to clear the blockage.
  • After the drain has cleared out, leave the water running for a minute to clean out the debris from system completely.

Step 3: Try a sink auger


If the above two methods have not unclogged your drain, you will require a sink auger to remove the stubborn clogs. A sink auger, also known as a drain cleaning snake, removes stubborn clogs physically by destroying the clog in the entire drain system.


  • First, depending on the clogged sink, take off the drain stopper.
  • Extend the cable into the drain opening. Once you feel it bumping on the clog, add 12 inches of the cable and tighten the screw set on the auger.
  • Turn the wrench handle on the cleaning snake clockwise while applying reasonable pressure on the link. Turning the handle ensures that the cable does not get stuck on the clog and also gets the cable past the bends in the drain. Add the cable accordingly until you have worked through the entire clog.
  • Remove the cable from the pipe while pushing it into the canister. The cable will come out with extensive debris when you remove it from the drain.
  • Repeat this process till your drain is clear. When the clog is out, flush with hot water to clean out the drain.

If after doing this your drain has not cleared out, the clog might be in the vertical or branch drain and to get there, you have to remove the drain trap. To do this:


  • First, place a bucket under the trap to hold the water when the trap is removed.
  • Loosen the nuts on the trap using a pipe wrench or pliers.
  • Insert the auger cable into the horizontal section of the drain pipe and apply pressure accordingly. This is for easy movement of the cable past the bends and destroying the clogs. Extend the cable into the drain until you work through the clog.
  • Reassemble the trap and flush the drain with hot water.

Note: Using chemical cleaners is very dangerous as they are dangerous to use and are not environment friendly. After use, they leave the residue to be cleared by hand which can be dangerous to you.

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