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How to Unclog a Drain Without Calling a Plumber

There are many ways to unclog a drain and fix sink blockage: you can try to attack the problem with a plunger, use strong chemicals, disassemble the siphon, or if the worst comes to the worst — wait for the plumber.

Or you can arm yourself with the contents of your first-aid kit and kitchen cabinet and clean the pipe quickly, without damage to the pipes and unnecessary fiddling, and without spending a penny.

Depending on the degree of clogging, the availability of tools and chemicals in the house, choose the most convenient method, and give your plumber a rest!

how to unclog sink

Cleaning Sink Pipes


An important point: before starting the work, seal the overflow hole in the sink with a wet cloth to block the passage of air and provide a hydraulic pole.

Press the plunger to the drain hole, then sharply pull it towards you. Repeat several times to remove the “plug” in the pipe. Check the result by running a small stream of water. If you do not own a plunger, you can use a rag.

If you have a two-piece sink, you will have to use two plungers simultaneously or close one drain hole tightly with a wet rag.

unclog a sink with a plunger

Boiling or Hot Water

In most cases, this measure is enough to eliminate little blockages and unclog a drain.

If the pipes are steel, pour 35 fluid ounces (1 liter) of boiling water into the drain hole and wait 20 minutes. To clean plastic pipes, use water at a temperature of 140–160 °F. If it does not help, proceed to the next method.

boiling water to unclog drain

Soda and Salt

More often than not, we use baking soda for making dough. Do not underestimate it, though! It can clean virtually anything, and it perfectly dissolves the solidified fat in the pipes.

Pour a mixture of baking soda and salt in a 1:1 ratio into the drain hole, then pour hot water and wait for 15–20 minutes.

Next, use a plunger, as described above. Under the influence of a potent alkaline solution, the blockage should dissolve and clear the way for water.

cleaning with baking soda

Vinegar and Soda

Another popular way to clean pipes in the kitchen. In this case, the result is achieved by a chemical reaction: acetic acid and alkaline soda neutralize each other, releasing carbon dioxide.

First, pour five and a quarter ounces (150 grams) of soda into the drain hole, and then pour the same amount of 9% vinegar and immediately block the drain tightly with a stopper so that the foam does not come out. Wait 15 minutes and fill the pipe with hot water: this will help push the plug through.

vinegar and soda


In case you do not have soda at home, you can use Alka-Seltzer: put two tablets in the drain hole, pour vinegar into it, and leave for 10 minutes. Block the hole tightly. Turn on the hot water so that it pushes through the dissolved dirt. This tool will not only unclog a drain but also remove any unpleasant odors.


Blockage Prevention

  1. Every couple of days, pour boiling water into the kitchen sink drain. Hot water dissolves the fat adhering to the walls of the pipes and interfering with drainage.
  2. Install kitchen sink strainer — it will filter out the remains of food, garbage, hair.
  3. Periodically pour a few tablespoons of coarse salt into the drain, topping it up with boiling water. You can also use soda with vinegar.
  4. Make sure that the drains of the bathtub and washbasin are not clogged with hair because even chemicals will not be able to dissolve such a “plug”.

If you have already tried all methods of eliminating blockages and even disassembled the siphon, but the problem has not been solved, then the blockage is very tough and formed in the drainpipe, not in the siphon or hose. This happens more often in old houses. In this case, clean the pipe with a plumbing cable or call the plumber.


I am an English major with a love of languages and fiction, and with an incurable travel bug. In my free time, I read fantasy, drink copious amounts of coffee, and like to go see movies. Culinary art means everything to me. My main hypostasis is the taster, though. The music school has taught me to appreciate the symphony of airy meringues, to create harmonious overtures of light snacks, hard rock of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill. Choir classes have accustomed me to hear and feel the people nearby and create perfect harmonies of sounds.

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