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How to Use a Plunger to Unclog a Sink

How to Use a Plunger to Unclog a Sink

Plungers are known for their relationship with one particular plumbing fixture: the toilet. We do not associate plungers with sinks, but amazingly enough, this tool can be used to help you unclog kitchen and bathroom drain pipes. Find out how you can unclog your sink drains without pouring any chemicals down them, by reading our step-by-step instructions below.

What you'll need:

  • A standard cup-style plunger - there are multiple types of plungers. The best plunger for unclogging drains is a cup-style.
  • A rag
  • Optional: petroleum jelly

How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink with a Plunger, Step-by-Step:

  1. Pull the pop-up out from the sink drain
  2. Use a wet rag or cloth to seal up the sink overflow drain
  3. Optional: Apply petroleum jelly to the bottom lip of the plunger
  4. Run water in the sink
  5. Place plunger over the drain, and cover the drain opening fully
  6. Plunge up and down several times, quickly and repeatedly
  7. Run more water in the sink, and repeat as needed

What about a Kitchen Sink?

The steps are similar to unclog a bathroom sink with a couple minor differences. By plunging both sides of the kitchen sink you should be able to clear the stoppage. Kitchen sinks often contain another piece of equipment, the garbage disposal. If you are attempting to unclog a kitchen sink with a garbage disposal, there are a few more steps you'll need to follow.

What you'll need:

  • Baking soda & White Vinegar
  • Flashlight
  • Cup-style plunger
  • Tongs or Pliers

Kitchen Sink with a Garbage Disposal, Step-by-Step:

  1. Baking soda & white vinegar: Take a ¼ cup of baking soda and pour it into the kitchen drain with the garbage disposal in it. Then pour in ½ cup of white vinegar. Let those two ingredients fizz for several minutes and then run hot water for a few more. This might be enough to clear the drain. If not, continue to the plunger.
  2. Unplug the garbage disposal: Once unplugged, use a flashlight to look down the drain and see if you can see a distinct object blocking the drain
  3. If applicable: Go beneath the sink and clamp dishwasher drain pipe
  4. Plunge: Place the cup-style plunger over the sink drain; be sure the seal is tight around the drain basket. Then run a couple inches of water over the plunger. From there, plunge with force for about 30 seconds or until you feel loosening. Lift the plunger and determine if you need to repeat this step.
  5. Run some water: Running hot water down the drain will help clear out residue and help you determine if the drain is clear or not.

Can I use a plunger to clear the bathtub, too?

The answer is, yes. The drain of your bathtub takes a lot of abuse. Hair, soap, and other products are pushed down the drain, eventually leading to a clog. Showering can become very uncomfortable when you have to stand in clogged, dirty water trying to get clean. The only way that you can clear a bathtub/shower drain with a plunger is to seal the overflow drain first.

Here are the steps for clearing bathtub drains using a plunger:

  1. Seal the Overflow Drain: The overflow drain is the one under the faucet fixture and above the bottom drain. It keeps the tub from overflowing by regulating how much water can be filled in the tub. Use duct-tape to seal the opening in order to move on to the next steps of unclogging the drain.
  2. Remove the stopper from the bottom drain
  3. Fill the drain with a bit of hot water: Hot is better than cold because it dissolves certain substances, like soap, that could be contributing to the clog.
  4. Use a cup-style plunger: Place the plunger over the drain in order to seal it. It's important the plunger is tightly sealed over the drain.
  5. Plunge forcefully: This could be harder than plunging a bathroom or kitchen sink, so do about 5-10 strong plunges and then see what has loosened and how much more effort will be needed.
  6. Repeat as needed
  7. Final steps: Once the drain is unclogged, remove the duct tape from the overflow drain and put the drain stopper back in the bottom drain

If you need drain services at your home, contact the professionals at Gold Medal Service. We can handle any clog, bathroom, kitchen or shower with ease.

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