Easily unblock your sink or garbage disposal

Blockages in your sink or garbage disposal unit aren't uncommon, and they often don't need a plumber to repair. These helpful tips will teach you how to do it yourself quickly and easily.

Easily unblock your sink or garbage disposal

Unblock your sink or basin

If water isn't draining away from your sink or basin, it means that there's a blockage somewhere below the drain. There are several steps you can take to try and remedy the problem.

  • First, try using a plunger. If that works you won't have to dismantle any of the pipework.
  • Place a sink plunger squarely over the drain, and hold a damp cloth tightly against the overflow. Pump the plunger up and down sharply.
  • If plunging fails, look at the pipework underneath the sink or basin. Directly beneath the drain there will be a plastic "bottle trap" or a P-shaped sink trap.
  • Plug the drain of the sink and place a bucket underneath the trap to catch any dirty water that may be blocked up.
  • Unscrew the trap carefully. There's one central screw on a bottle trap, and one on each end of a P-shaped trap.
  • Wash it thoroughly if it's blocked with hair, grease or food debris, and then screw it back in place.
  • If the sink or basin still won't drain, the blockage is further down the pipe. You'll need a plumber's snake: a spiral device that can be found at most hardware stores.
  • Disconnect the trap once more and feed the wire into the pipe.
  • Turn the handle to rotate the spiral, which should break up any blockage it encounters.
  • Re-assemble the trap, remove the plug from the plughole, and run the tap to test.

Unblock your waste disposal unit

Minor blockages that slow the rotation of the blades inside a waste disposal unit are easy to clear. Here's how to do it:

  • Take out the drain trap (the little basket in the drain hole) and shake any debris trapped inside into the garbage can. Put it back in the drain and twist it to the closed position.
  • Fill the sink with warm water to a depth of 10 centimetres (4 inches). Add 100 grams (1/3 cup) of baking soda to the water.
  • Turn on the unit and let it run for a second or two before twisting the drain trap to the open position. Let the soda solution sluice through the unit, and then run the tap again until you can hear the disposer spinning freely.

Avoid the pain and expense of hiring a plumber by using these quick fixes when your sink or garbage disposal is clogged. With any luck, you'll be able to fix the problem yourself in no time.

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