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How to Unblock a sink or shower

 
Our bathing/washing facilities are in constant use on a daily basis with little respite. Under constant pressure to quickly drain away every unpleasant byproduct of the bathing/washing process, so it’s no wonder that blockages happen. The drain is designed to quickly take away used water but it is a challenge when having to cope with matted hair, soap scum, grease etc. all of which accumulate over time preventing a smooth drain away.
Some of the blockages are simple to remove, some are not, unfortunately, and that’s when you need to call the professionals for sink unblocking.

However, before you call for professional help there are a few simple methods you can easily try before you do. All you need is a few basic tools, these are probably part of the household tool collection anyway?
Such as: –

  • A sturdy plunger
  • A wire coat hanger
  • A plumber snake/drain coils
  • Single fan-assisted heat.
  • Baking soda/vinegar.


The blockage in question is not of gigantic proportion so no need to worry unduly.
Besides, you’ve probably used the above tools before?

Use Hot/Boiling Water and Baking Soda

By far the simplest of them all. Baking soda has many uses from baking cakes to cleaning/whitening your teeth. First, remove any obvious causes i.e. matted hair, etc, get that out of the way before you start!

Sprinkle some baking soda down the plughole followed by a kettle full of boiling water and leave for a few minutes. Baking soda will also break up greasy residues that hair can cling to. The baking soda hot water mix softens the clog enough to improve the flow of water. You may need to repeat the process a couple of times, depending on how stubborn the clog is before the water flow returns to normal.

Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

Another similar process but this time with the addition of vinegar. Measure a ⅓ cup of baking soda and the same amount of vinegar and pour them down the plughole together. Wait for the frothy bubbly chemical reaction to die down, then flush a kettle full of boiling water down the plughole. The chemical reaction will soften the clog. Again, if the clog is stubborn you may need to repeat the process?

Baking Soda and Salt

If the above method doesn’t work, then up the ante by using a stronger and slightly more aggressive solution of baking soda and salt. Measure ½ cup of baking soda and the same amount of salt and pour down the plughole. Allow it to settle for 15 minutes and then pour a kettle of boiling water down the plughole. The reaction is quite robust and sufficient to deal with a clog that’s more stubborn.

Check the kitchen disposal unit

Remember the waste disposal unit is like a dustbin with all sorts of organic foodstuff being broken down to flow through the pipework to drain. This unit requires regular cleaning/maintenance to keep it in peak condition and is only as good as the connecting pipework.

If the wrong ‘stuff’ is disposed of the supporting pipework may not be able to cope? So, don’t put celery, pasta, nutshells, eggshells, any fibrous vegetables, bones or coffee grounds as the grounds tend to accumulate and form into a ‘gloopy’ sticky slurry, the sort of ‘stuff’ that causes blockages!

Give the unit a regular and quick clean weekly (depending on how much it’s used). Try this as a quick way to clean the unit and pipework. Select a suitable ice cube tray and half fill with vinegar, fill the other half with water and place in the freezer. If it doesn’t freeze into a solid cube you’ve used too much vinegar! Get the blend right, you need vinegar laced ice cubes!.

They may look like ‘cola cubes’ so mark the tray accordingly or inform family members – ‘Don’t eat the brown ice cubes’, the same rule applies when warning people ‘Don’t eat the ‘yellow snow!’ When nicely frozen, switch on the disposal unit and pour in the ‘brown cubes’. The chemicals in the vinegar will act as a cleaning agent whilst the fragments of ice scour any grease residues from its interior.

Use a Plunger

Apart from being among one of the best ways to unblock the toilet, a plunger is also useful when it comes to unclogging a sink. First you will need to create a perfect seal between the plunger and plug hole. Rest the rubber suction cup into a bowl of hot water to soften the rubber first as this will help to give a perfect seal.

Position the rubber cap over the plug hole and run the tap so the water covers a quarter of the rubber cap, then start plunging using vigorous and rapid up and down movement. When you’re sure that the clog has been removed, run the tap to see if the water runs away as normal. If not, repeat.

Plumber’s snake/drain coil

The snake or coil needs to be thin in diameter to go through the vents in the plug hole. Make sure any visible debris (matted hair etc) is removed first. If the ‘snake’ is too large to pass through the vents, unscrew the ‘U’ bend under the sink and insert the ‘snake’ into the pipe that goes towards the drain.

As you feed in the ‘snake’ use a ‘rodding’ twisting motion to remove anything clinging to the interior pipe wall until you feel resistance. This will indicate you have hit the clog. Some back and forth rodding and twisting of the ‘snake’ will be needed to break up the offending object. Once the ‘snake’ moves freely (in all directions) without resistance you’ve cleared the clog. Reconnect the ‘U’ bend and ensure the joints are watertight, then run the tap. If the water runs away freely and smartly your hard work has been successful.

The wire coat hanger

We’ve all got one (somewhere). A simple design yet versatile when it comes to clearing out a clogged plug hole. When straightened it can be used for many things, a support for flowers or tomato plants, a skewer for roasting marshmallows, the list is only limited to one’s imagination.

Well, here’s one to add to the list. Unwind and straighten the hanger. Leave the hook that comes in handy if cleaning a toilet clog! Push the straightened hanger down the plughole, hang onto the hook end, and twist vigorously with sharp back and forth movements. Use the whole length of the hanger and go as deep as you can into the pipe. Once you’ve had a good workout with the hanger, run the tap to see if the water runs away as normal. If not, repeat the process.

Prevent it

Well, you’ve heard the saying before, ’prevention is better than the cure’. It’s sensible to stop a bad thing from happening in the first place than to have to deal with awful problems, damage or costly replacements later as everything needs maintenance. So here are a few tips to prevent your sink from blocking anytime soon

If none of the above work

You’ve given it your best shot and still the clog remains, don’t put it off any longer call Serviceteam Ltd, professional help is only a phone call away. We provide any sort of repair, replacement, refurbishment, and maintenance service all across London at a reasonable price. Visit https://serviceteam.co.uk for further information.

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