How to unblock a sink

  • Large bucket
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Auger
  • Sink plunger
  • Pump plunger
  • A drain full of hair, soap scum and general household gunk can be smelly, unsanitary and downright annoying. The good news is that it only takes a few minutes to unblock it and get the water washing away freely. You don’t have to use any corrosive drain cleaners either, so you won’t be harming the environment or damaging your pipes. Grab a plunger and get ready to wash your drain troubles right down the sink.

Expose your pipes

Slide the sink pedestal away from the sink so your pipes are visible.
If you have an old bathroom, you will probably have a u-bend trap under your sink.
If your bathroom is less than ten years old, you will likely have a bottleneck trap.

Auger method

This method will work for minor u-bend blockages.
Push the flexible wire of your auger into the plug hole. Keep pushing until it’s down as far as it will go.
Use the handle on the auger to wind the wire. This will twirl the wire, which should grab any gunk in the pipes and push it out into the sewer.

Plunger method

Cover the plug hole with the sink plunger.
Push until suction holds the cup in place.
Plunge up and down several times. The suction should suck or push the blockage out of the way.
Remove the plunger and run the tap to clear out any debris.

Pump plunger method

Cover the plug hole with the end of the pump plunger.
Pull the pump handle up just once.
Remove the plunger and run the tap to rinse away any gunk.

Remove the trap (u-bend)

If the auger and plunger both fail to clear the block, you’ll have to remove the u-bend.
Place the bucket under the trap. Loosen the fixings at either end of the u-bend and remove the trap.
Empty any water from the u-bend into the bucket.
Clean out the pipe with a brush and some disinfectant.
Replace the u-bend.

Remove the trap (bottleneck)

Place the bucket under the sink.
Untwist the bottom half of the bottleneck (it might stick a bit).
Empty the contents into the bucket.
Wash out the bottleneck with some disinfectant.
Tip: The trapped gunk could be a bit smelly and vile so don’t breathe too deeply!

Replace the trap

Before you replace the trap, make sure the plastic seal is fitted correctly.
Twist the trap back into place.
Squirt some disinfectant into the sink.
Tip: If the plastic seal is worn or torn, get a new one to prevent any leaks.

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