Everyone knows how to unclog a toilet but how many people know how to unclog a sink or how to unclog a dishwasher? Both the kitchen sink and the dishwasher get clogged from time to time. Whether it’s food waste, hair or something else, pipes eventually get clogged, resulting in a clogged sink or dishwasher. Even the dishwasher backing up into the sink isn’t too uncommon.
These clogs lead to dirt collecting in the kitchen sink, dirty dishes staying dirty and nasty smells in the kitchen and bathroom that won’t go away until the clog is fixed. In this article, we’ll explain how to unclog a kitchen sink as well as how to unclog a dishwasher so you won’t have to deal with clogs anymore.
How to Unclog A Sink
For those who want to know how to unclog a sink, know that there are many ways to unclog a sink. We’ll explain three methods to unclog your sink, but know there are other methods as well. Also, keep in mind that the process for how to unclog a kitchen sink and how to unclog a bathroom sink are similar, but slightly different. While there are many ways to unclog a sink, the end goal in both cases is to help the kitchen drain to let water through freely by clearing out the clogged water and fixing the clog.
The Plunger Method
This method is pretty straightforward and it’s one of the tried and true ways to unclog a sink. Sometimes a simple plunger can unclog your sink. The pressure created by the airtight plunger seal makes the clog in the pipe move back and forth until it’s been shredded enough to go through the pipes eliminating the blockage.
You could use the regular toilet plunger on your sink but that’d require a sink scrubbing with bleach (particularly if it’s your kitchen sink). The second option is to purchase a small, inexpensive sink plunger used exclusively for clogged sinks.
Vinegar and Baking Soda Method
This method is a bit more complicated. First, you have to remove the liquid gathering at the bottom of the sink. You can put the dirty water in a bucket or some other container. Continue removing the dirty standing water until you’re able you access the drain.
Once you can access the drain opening, pour one cup of baking soda into the drain. You may need to grab a spoon or something to push it down into the sink. After you pour the baking soda, pour a cup of vinegar into the sink and then cover the drain opening with a sink stopper so the baking soda and vinegar cannot come back out. The vinegar and baking soda create a chemical reaction which is strong enough to break most clogs without damaging your pipes like many industrial cleaners.
The Snake Method
This method will take some work depending on where the clog is located. For this method, you’ll need a cable auger, also known as a snake. A drain snake is a metal cable with a hook-like device at the end that you can feed into a pipe. You may also need some basic plumbing tools.
The idea behind this method is to feed the snake into the pipe so the hooked end of the snake can attach to whatever is clogging the pipe and either tear it apart or remove it upon retrieval. Since clogs can happen anywhere, you may need to remove certain pipes under the sink in order to reach the clog. Use the bucket to collect leaking water and a wrench to remove pipes as you go.
The Disposal Suction Method
If you are trying to figure out how to unclog a kitchen sink drain that has a disposal, there is a quick and slick method you’ll want to try in order to eliminate the clog. If you notice that both sides of your sink are filling up with water, simply clog up the sink drain on the side without the disposal (pushing down the drain plug firmly to ensure a tight seal), and turn on the disposal while running boiling water down the disposal sink drain. With the drain plug firmly in place, Tthe disposal will act as a vacuum, cleaning out the clog in the pipes on its own. This method of fixing a clogged kitchen sink is one of the most simple, yet often overlooked ways to clear out debris in your pipes. Try it and see if it fixes your clog.
How to Unclog An Obstruction in Your Dishwasher
Dishwashers drain their hot water at the end of the wash cycle. Although it’s common to see trace amounts of hot water at the bottom of the dishwasher when a cycle has finished, seeing a layer of hot water or cold water covering the drain is not normal. Here are some tips to help unclog a dishwasher.
Check The Sink
Dishwashers usually run through your sink’s disposal. If your disposal or sink are clogged then your dishwasher will not drain properly. Make sure to check to see if the sink is clogged before doing anything too complicated with the dishwasher. Your sink backing up could be linked to your dishwasher backing up. The dishwasher sink drain is often interconnected. If one is blocked, there could be plumbing problems in the other also.
Check For a Blocked Air Gap
The air gap is sometimes located on the sink. It often looks like a little chrome piece that is sticking up. Pull the top off cover and see if the air gap is clogged with debris. A clog in the air gap may be the cause of the dishwasher backing up into the sink.
Check The Drain
If you remove the lower rack you can then access the dishwasher drain. Look to see if there are any clogs in that drain. If you see anything, remove it and see if that fixes the problem. If it looks clean, check the drain hose attached to the drain to see if there’s anything clogging the hose. Check the drain hose by sending high-pressure water through the hose to see if it backs up or not.
A clogged sink and toilets are common household problems. The best way to avoid them in the first place is to avoid putting anything aside from water down your pipes. Whether it’s hair or large chunks of food waste, put your garbage in the trash and not in the garbage disposal to prevent any potential clog or plumbing problems if at all possible. Make sure to scrape off your plates before putting them in the dishwasher too. If necessary, you can purchase drain grates which will prevent this stuff from falling into your sink as well.
But no matter how careful you are, clogs are bound to happen. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to fix these clogs, including, if necessary, choosing to schedule service visits from a plumber. Hopefully, now you feel you know how to unclog a sink or how to unclog a dishwasher and you feel more prepared to fix any clogs as they that should appear. That said, if you are unable to fix the problem of your dishwasher backing up into your sink, schedule service personnel to come out.