How to unblock a sink

  • 30th November 2022

Blocked sinks aren’t uncommon, but when they happen they can cause a huge strain on your day-to-day life. From bad smells wafting around the house, to slow-draining water, it’s a problem that you need to be fixed urgently.

Our plumbers at Able Group have years of experience and plenty of expertise to help you. We’ve unblocked all types of clogged sinks, so in this blog we will put our knowledge to good use. We’ll go over our top home remedies and how to prevent a blockage in the first place, so you can deal with sink unblocking and get it back intact in no time. If you leave a blocked sink for too long, matters can get a lot worse very quickly. It can go from being a quick fix to a sink filled with toxic water, which is something you want to avoid.

But you can use these top tips for sink unblocking, or if you’d rather have hands-on help, you can get in touch with our team directly. Even if your sink gets blocked out of nowhere and you urgently need assistance, we have emergency plumbers on hand, offering a 24/7* service.

How to prepare

If you’ve never attempted to unblock an appliance before, you should take some time to prepare first. You don’t want to end up touching something unhygienic or getting splashed with toxic water. So, before beginning the unblocking, you should:

  • Get a pair of strong rubber gloves
  • Potentially use eye protection or a mask to avoid the splashing of toxic water, depending on how bad the blockage has become
  • Avoid doing anything you’re not sure about, in this case it’s always best to get in touch with a professional. Unclogging a sink in the wrong way can make matters worse
Tips for sink unblocking

There are different methods you can use to unblock your sink, so we’ve compiled some of the most successful and easiest home remedies for you to try out. However, if you’d rather a professional tackle the problem, we have emergency plumbers on hand to get to you urgently, whenever you need us.


We think the first place to start with a blocked sink is by using a plunger. It works by sucking the air out of the pipe and forcing it back through, this helps to dislodge whatever is causing the blockage. Never used one before? They’re pretty simple, start by putting the plunger over the plug, push it down so it sticks to the sink then pump the handle. 

Check if the blockage has cleared by filling up your sink and seeing if it drains.

Hot water

If you have no luck with the plunger, you may need a strong burst of water to give enough force to the blockage. The faster you can pour or spray the hot water, the more pressure the blockage will feel and the more likely it will be to dislodge.

It’s also helpful to know that hot water helps food drain easier, so if you accidentally drain food down your sink, pouring hot water afterwards may help prevent any sticking and future blockages.

Unblocking solutions

Another home remedy to help break down a blockage is using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. This is a good solution for getting rid of grease and fats from inside your drain. 

Combine two tablespoons of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar, pour it down your sink and leave for 5 minutes. However, if your sink is already clogged with water, this will cause the water to foam and won’t have the same effect. 

Still blocked? remove the u-bend

If you’re still struggling with sink unblocking, it could mean that the U-bend is clogged and must be cleaned out by hand. To clear it, you’ll need to empty under the sink. Place a bucket under the sink to catch anything that comes out. 

Unscrew the caps while holding the U-bend, removing it carefully and draining any water into the bucket. You can then clean the clog out by hand. 

Once you’ve done this, reattach the U-bend and see if the sink is working again. 

How to prevent a sink blockage

The sink is one of the most used appliances in the kitchen, so it’s important to do your best to prevent any damage. 

And what you’re dropping down your drain has a large part to play in sink blockages. The good news is it means you can prevent needing to unblock your sink in the first place. 

Follow these tips to make sure you keep your drains in the best possible condition.

  • Avoid putting food, including fat and hot oil, down your drains. This is one of the most common causes of a blocked sink, so make sure to clean as much food into the bin as possible before washing your plate. Oils and fats are even worse as they can clump up and stick to your drain.
  • Hair is a common cause of blockage in bathroom sinks and showers, so cleaning these drains regularly will help you avoid a big blockage.
  • Understand other materials that can block a sink, such as tissues, plastic, paper, straws etc and avoid putting them down the drain.

Preventing a blocked sink is the best way to go, but we know that’s not always possible. So if you do have a blockage and need help, our plumbers are qualified to tackle any type of drain issue. No matter your issue, we have specialists in 7 different trades, from plumbing to locksmiths. And with experts local to you, available 24/7*, they can get to you quickly in any emergency with no call out charge. Simply get in touch by giving us a call on 0330 108 4111

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