Over time, hair, organic matter, and other debris can create a slow-running drain in your home. Water pools in your sink and it becomes more difficult to complete simple tasks like washing dishes or brushing your teeth without a mess.

But applying DIY fixes to a clogged or slow drain can be just as messy! If you’re tired of getting nowhere with DIY drain cleaning fixes, here’s some help.

Why Your Sink is Not Draining

When water pools in your bathroom or kitchen sink and takes a few minutes to drain, this is a slow drain. Grease, hair, food debris, soap scum, and other materials build up in your pipes, making the water drain more slowly.

While this isn’t as much of a nuisance as a full clog, a slow drain can lead to one if left unchecked. It’s best to correct this minor problem before it becomes a full blockage and a messy and annoying fix.

Use the Zip-It Tool

If you’re set on correcting a drain problem on your own, the Zip-it tool is a handy tool to have around. This simple device is inexpensive and easy to find at any home improvement store. You simply use the tool to capture the hair or debris and bring it up, freeing your drain.

The Zip-it tool can be used with drains that have pop-ups or drains without, so it’s a great option to have in your home DIY toolkit.

Take out the P and U Traps

Pipes have a U-shaped bend in them that you can see if you look underneath the sink in your kitchen or bathroom. This bend is there to maintain a small pool of water and prevent sewer gasses from coming back into your home, which are odorous and toxic.

Unfortunately, this vital design also allows hair, loose change, toys, rings, and other items to build up, clogging your pipes.
Here’s how you can clear your P and U traps:

  • Turn off the water supply to your sink.
  • Remove the items you store beneath your sink, such as cleaning supplies, and put a bucket beneath the pipes to catch dirty water.
  • The P-trap is held by slip nuts at the ends of the pipe’s curve. They may be chrome or plastic, depending on when your plumbing was put in.
  • You can remove the slip nuts with your fingers or a wrench by turning them counterclockwise. Once loosened, you can remove the P-trap section of the pipe.
  • With gloved fingers or a stiff brush, push the clog out of the section of the pipe. Once you’ve cleared the clog, replace the plumbing and tighten the slip nuts.
  • Turn the water supply back on.

Use the Plunger

You’re probably familiar with a plunger because of your toilet, but they can also work on your kitchen or bathroom sink. The toilet plunger is typically larger than what you need for sinks, however.

Here’s how you can use a plunger to unclog your sink drain:

  • Remove the sinkhole cover or stopper from your drain. Most stoppers will simply pop out if you pull them up and turn them. Once removed, place the stopper somewhere safe and out of the way.
  • Add an inch of water to the sink. Avoid filling the entire sink – just put enough to help with creating a seal for the plunger.
  • Center the plunger over the drain and push it down to create a solid seal. Then, pump the plunger up and down while maintaining the seal.
  • Remove the plunger every so often to see if the water drains. Once the clog is gone, the water should disappear quickly.
  • Check inside the drain with a flashlight to see if the clog is obvious.
  • Test your drain to see if it runs smoothly and quickly. If it’s still slow, you may need to continue plunging until it’s resolved.

What Not to Use

Chemical Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners are often a go-to for homeowners to unclog drains. These aren’t the best option for removing clogs, however, and can lead to damage to your PVC or metal pipes.

On top of that, the caustic chemicals in drain cleaners can cause burns to your skin or eyes, so it’s important to exercise caution when using them. If you enjoy the convenience of a drain cleaner, opt for an eco-friendly, biodegradable option.

Wire Hanger

A straightened wire coat hanger is a common DIY solution for clogs. Unfortunately, most clogs are too far down the pipes for a coat hanger to reach.

Also, messing around with a coat hanger in your pipes without being able to see the clog or where you’re poking can damage the inside of the pipe. Worse yet, the hanger can get stuck, creating a bigger problem than your clog.

Time to Call the Professionals

Stop messing around with DIY fixes! A professional plumber like JW Plumbing, Heating and Air can get your clogged or slow drain fixed in no time. Contact us to get started!

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