How to Repair a Clogged Sink: A Simple Guide

We’ve all been there: standing in front of a sink that’s filling up with water instead of draining. It’s frustrating, inconvenient, and let’s face it, a bit gross. But don’t worry—Vaquero Plumbing has got your back! You don’t need to be a plumbing expert to handle this. With a few basic tools and some handy tips, you can get your sink back to working order in no time.

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Identify the Cause of the Clog

Before diving in, it’s important to understand what’s causing the drain clog. Sometimes, it’s something simple you can see right away. Other times, the problem is a bit deeper.

Common Culprits:

  • Food Particles: Especially common in kitchen sinks. Ever washed off a plate without scraping it first? Yeah, me too.
  • Grease: It might go down as a liquid, but it cools and solidifies, creating a blockage.
  • Soap Scum: This is more common in bathroom sinks where soap mixes with hair.
  • Hair: The number one culprit in bathroom sinks. Hair just loves to get tangled up down there.

Gather Your Tools and Materials

You don’t need a toolbox worthy of a pro. Most of these items are probably already in your home or easy to find at your local store.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Plunger
  • Plumber’s snake
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Bucket
  • Wrench

Start with the Plunger

A plunger is a trusty first step in dealing with a clogged sink. It’s simple but effective.

  1. Seal the Overflow: If your sink has an overflow hole, cover it with a wet cloth to ensure better suction.
  2. Position the Plunger: Place the plunger cup over the drain, ensuring a good seal.
  3. Plunge Away: Use steady, vigorous up-and-down motions for about 20 seconds.

If you’re lucky, the clog will break up and you’ll hear that satisfying gurgle as the water drains away. If not, don’t worry—there are more tricks up our sleeve.

Try the Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

This method is like a mini science experiment that works wonders on clogs.

  1. Pour in Baking Soda: Dump about a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  2. Add Vinegar: Follow it up with a cup of vinegar. You’ll see some fizzing action—this is good!
  3. Let it Sit: Allow the mixture to sit for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Flush with Hot Water: Boil some water and pour it down the drain to clear out the loosened debris.

Clean the P-trap

The P-trap is that curved pipe under your sink. It’s designed to trap debris (hence the name) and prevent clogs from forming deeper in your plumbing.

  1. Place a Bucket: Put a bucket under the P-trap to catch any water or debris.
  2. Loosen the Nuts: Use a wrench to loosen the slip nuts on either end of the P-trap.
  3. Remove and Clean: Take out the P-trap and clean out any gunk.
  4. Reassemble: Reattach the P-trap and make sure the nuts are tight to avoid leaks.

Use a Plumber’s Snake

When the plunger and natural remedies don’t work, it’s time to bring out the big guns: the plumber’s snake.

  1. Insert the Snake: Push the snake into the drain until you feel resistance.
  2. Turn the Handle: Rotate the handle to break through the clog.
  3. Retrieve the Snake: Pull the snake out, along with any gunk that’s causing the blockage.

Prevent Future Clogs

Once your sink is flowing freely again, you’ll want to keep it that way. Here are some tips to prevent future clogs:

  • Mind What Goes Down the Drain: Avoid dumping grease, coffee grounds, and large food particles down the sink.
  • Regular Maintenance: Run hot water down the drain regularly and use a drain strainer to catch debris.
  • Monthly Cleanings: Use the baking soda and vinegar method once a month to keep your drains clear.

Most sink clogs can be fixed with a bit of elbow grease and patience. Remember, if these methods don’t work, or if you’d rather leave it to the pros, don’t hesitate to contact Vaquero Plumbing and schedule your same day appointment. We’re here to help!

Additional Tips and FAQs

Troubleshooting Persistent Issues

  • Bad Smell: If your sink smells bad, it could be due to trapped food particles. Clean the P-trap and use baking soda and vinegar regularly.
  • Slow Drain: A slow drain might indicate a partial clog. Try using a plumber’s snake to clear it out.


  • Can I use chemical drain cleaners? We don’t recommend it. They can damage your pipes and aren’t environmentally friendly.
  • How often should I clean my drains? A good rule of thumb is to clean your drains once a month to prevent buildup.

Feel free to reach out to us at Vaquero Plumbing for any plumbing concerns or questions. We’re always happy to help our community with friendly advice and professional service!

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