How to Effectively Unclog a Sink Drain with a Plunger

Sinks can easily get clogged due to the buildup of hair, grease, soap and other debris. However in most cases it is just as easy to unclog them using a plunger – provided you know how to actually use it.

Although using a plunger may seem simple and straightforward, the devil is in the details. That is why you should take it step by step to ensure that you’re using your plunger correctly:

1. Remove and clean the stopper

Assuming your sink drain has a stopper, you should first remove and clean it. Most stoppers can be pulled straight out, but some may need to be turned counterclockwise or detached from a pivot rod.

After you’ve removed the stopper and cleaned any gunk that may be on it, don’t replace it just yet until you’ve finished unclogging the drain.

2. Block the overflow hole

To improve the pressure that your plunger can exert you should always block the overflow hole in your sink. All you need to do is stuff a wet rag into the opening so that it is completely sealed.

3. Position the plunger in water

After placing your plunger over the sink drain, turn on the water and run enough of it so that the plunger is partially submerged. The water should be at least halfway up the rubber cup to ensure a tight seal and improve the suction of your plunger.

4. Pump the plunger repeatedly

When you’re ready, start to pump the handle of the plunger repeatedly in an up and down motion while ensuring that the seal between the plunger and the sink doesn’t break. Try to keep the handle completely straight and don’t tilt it or the seal is more likely to become loose.

5. Check and repeat

After a couple of pumps you can check to see if the clog has loosened. In fact you may have already ‘felt’ the clog come loose if you suddenly noticed that you needed less force to pump the plunger.

In any case, just remove the plunger from the drain and see whether or not the water empties (and how quickly). If it does flow freely then the clog should be mostly removed.

6. Flush the drain and clean the plunger

Before you are done, you should flush your drain with hot water to clear any debris and residue that may be left behind. Additionally you should make it a point to clean your plunger by rinsing it off before you store it.

If you are unable to unclog your drain with a plunger there are other options you can try – such as drain snakes. However if even that doesn’t work you could always get in touch with local drainage companies instead.

Most of the time as long as you follow the steps listed above, you’ll be able to quite easily unclog your sink drain. It doesn’t require that much effort, and being able to unclog blocked drains on your own will make things much more convenient.