How to Clear a Clogged Sink Drain


The best way to avoid a clogged drain is to limit what kinds of solids you let get into your sinks. When the unthinkable happens, however, here is what you can do.


Using a Plunger:kitchensink

  • Slide plunger's cup over drain opening, then rapidly pump plunger up and down. This back-and-forth water pressure can eventually dislodge the clog. After a dozen firm strikes, jerk plunger up quickly.
  • Water should rush out. Using a plunger should push the clog into a wider section of the drain system where it can be simply washed away.

Clearing a drain:

  • For more difficult clogs check whether your drain plumbing is PVC or metal J-Trap tubing. The J-trap has a 1800 turn in the tubing that creates a water seal between the sink and the drain system. Turn stopper left or right and lift up to remove. You may have to disconnect the pivot rod behind the drain tail pipe.
  • If J-Trap has couplings that can be unscrewed, remove after placing a bucket to collect water in the trap. Slide the J-Trap off the sink drain and away from the drain system. Pour the contents of the trap into the bucket and remove any large clogs. Clean out the trap with a rag and bottle brush. Replace J-Trap and reconnect couplings.
  • If there was no clog in the J-Trap, check if drain tail pipe is clear. If you see no clog, it is further down in the system. In that case, use a hand auger or plumber’s“snake” to push until there is resistance.(A “snake” is used to remove difficult clogs that cannot be cleared by a plunger.)Screw the auger and pull back out to remove the clog.
  • Some J-Traps may have a Clean-Out Plug at the base of the J-Trap. Place a bucket below the trap and loosen the Clean-Out Plug nut with a pair of plumber’s pliers. Clear the clog through the Clean-Out Hole.
  • For J-Traps without couplings or Clean-Out Plugs, use a plumber’s “snake” in the sink drain to remove the clog, by screwing the “snake” and removing the clog.