The good news is the answer to that question can be ‘not very much’. There are a few steps you can take yourself before having to call in the professionals if you have caught your blocked sink in good time and things haven’t reached the flooding stage yet! Remember, if you are ever unsure about what you are doing the best solution is to use a professional offering a guarantee-backed service.
There are countless ways a typical household sink can get clogged up. The usual suspects are things being rinsed down the sink that should never have been there in the first place. In the kitchen this is typically food waste and oils that are better disposed of in the trash or food waste disposer.
The bathroom sink often sees a wider variety of causes including hair, dirt, soap scum, hygiene disposables and kids’ toys. Any one of these things can cause a blockage that might start as a minor annoyance but end up in a lot of hassle and unnecessary expense.
A tried and tested method for unclogging your sink is the trusty plunger. Found in most households a plunger can quickly clear your blockage with minimum effort. What’s more, they are very cheap to buy if you don’t already own one.
If you are buying a plunger for the first time you can’t go far wrong, although there are some slightly more expensive models you can consider that have an additional feature that squirts water down the drain to assist with the unblocking.
If you’d rather avoid the manual work involved in using a plunger and take a more straightforward approach you might want to consider using boiling water to try and clear whatever it is that is blocking your sink. Plus, it is officially the cheapest drain unblocker available!
Pouring boiling water down your sink can sometimes be enough to clear the blockage and get things flowing fully once again. Multiple attempts may be needed, and of course the sink needs to be clear of any water before you give this a go. Just watch out if you have PVC pipes rather than metal – hot water rather than boiling is more suitable in this instance.
You’d be amazed how many common cooking ingredients double up as great drain cleaning products. Let’s start with baking soda. A wonderful baking agent, baking soda is also an effective solution for clearing small drain blockages. Simply pour boiling water down the sink and add a little baking soda at the same time along with a drop of white vinegar and leave things to get to work.
White vinegar also works well with salt. In this variation, start by clearing any standing water out of the blocked sink, pour some salt directly down the drain, and wait a few minutes. Now add a drop of white vinegar and pour boiling water down the sink and voila, with a bit of luck the sink will be flowing once again.
As always, prevention is cheaper than the cure, so the best option is to avoid your sink getting blocked altogether! Remember the common causes we mentioned at the start of the article? Making sure these don’t happen is a great start, and then adding a drain blocker is a good addition too.
If you’ve tried all the above without success, or your blockage is at a point of emergency, it’s time to call the professionals and get your sink cleared with a high-power jet washer. Before attempting to clear the drain, professional drain companies are also able to inspect the drain with a CCTV camera to make sure there aren’t any more serious, underlying causes of the problem.