A completely clogged sink is a problem that will happen to most homeowners at one point or another. When your sink is completely clogged with soap scum, hair, or other items and not one drop of water is draining from the basin, the situation can seem hopeless, but this a fairly easy problem to fix. Here are four ways that you can unclog a sink that won't drain.
Use drain cleaner
Drain cleaner is a tried-and-true method for clearing stubborn clogs around the house. Drain cleaners are made of strong alkalines like bleach and lye or acids like sulfuric acid. These chemicals are corrosive and work by eating through any debris that's stuck inside your pipes. Drain cleaner can even dissolve hair!
It's important to remember that drain cleaner is a dangerous chemical. If you use it, make sure to carefully follow all of the safety directions on the package. This may involve wearing personal protective equipment like safety goggles, a respirator, gloves, and more. If you don't want to use this chemical inside your house, you're in luck, since there are many other ways to unclog a drain.
Try vinegar and baking soda
If you ever took part in a science fair as a kid, you know that vinegar and baking soda have a powerful reaction when they're combined. That same chemical reaction that powered your homemade volcano can also dislodge debris from your pipes.
First, you'll need to get rid of any water in the sink. You can soak it up in a towel or scoop it out with a bucket. When the sink is dry, pour about ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Next, pour ½ cup of vinegar down the drain and quickly cover the hole with a cloth. The chemical reaction will be forced downwards and into the clog. You may have to try this a couple of times if you have a stubborn clog. Pour hot water down your drain when you're done to wash away any remaining vinegar or baking soda.
Use a drain snake
If you don't want to use chemicals to dislodge your clog (or if the chemicals don't work), you can try using a drain snake. Drain snakes are available at hardware or home improvement stores, but you can also make your own drain snake out of a metal coat hanger.
Once you've acquired a drain snake, getting rid of clogs is an easy process. To get started, insert the drain snake into the drain, hooked end first. Once you feel an obstruction, rotate your drain snake slowly and try to hook the clog. When you think you've got it, slowly pull your drain snake out of the drain. The clog may come out in one piece, but if not, dip your drain snake back down and repeat the process.
Remove and clean the P-trap
If you have a very stubborn clog, you'll need to get down on your hands and knees and take a look under the sink. You should see a curved section of pipe: this is called the P-trap. The P-trap's job is to keep sewer gases from entering your house, but things like hair and soap scum can get stuck in the bend.
Once you've spotted the P-trap, place a bucket underneath it. Next, loosen the nuts that are holding the P-trap in place. You can use a wrench or pliers for this, but it's also possible to remove the nuts with your bare hands. With the nuts removed, pull down and the P-trap will come off. Water will spill out into the bucket. Clean out any debris inside the P-trap, and when it's clean, put it back and screw the nuts back on.
If you have a clogged sink, try to fix it with one or more of these four methods. If that isn't enough and your sink still isn't working, it's time to call a drain cleaning company.