How to Unclog your Kitchen Sink
By Randy Daniel
When your kitchen sink will not drain, your entire routine is thrown out of kilter. What can be more frustrating than your kitchen sink backing up?
So, when it backs up, what do you do? You can reach for the chemical cleaners to take care of the problem, but these products are not the best choice. There are some better and safer alternatives for accomplishing this nasty but necessary job.
Chemical cleaners produce hazardous waste. They are also harmful as they will severely burn your skin and ruin your clothes, if you accidentally contact them. If they get into your eyes, you can suffer permanent damage. Also, toxic gas or an explosion can occur if you mix these chemicals with household products such as bleach, baking soda, or vinegar. You don't want to clear your clog the hard way! Finally, this caustic “soup” will eventually make its way to our waterways, lakes, and the ocean, harming the wildlife that make these environments their homes. So, it’s best not to use them.
A Better Alternative
How do you unclog your kitchen drain if you want to protect yourself and the environment? There are two methods to make your kitchen sink functional again, homemade drain cleaners and boiling water or you can use something called an “auger.”
This device is a coiled-up cable with a brush or a scraping mechanism attached to one end. It can be hand-operated or you can opt for one that attaches to an electric drill. You simply feed it into the drainpipe and use your electric drill or manually turn the crank. This spins the auger that cleans your clogged pipe. Regardless of what powers it, you will achieve the same results: an open drain without the use of dangerous chemicals.
Some preliminary steps should be taken before using this handy tool. First, make a picture of your under-the-sink plumbing for reassembly purposes, and then completely remove it to the point where it goes through the floor. You want your drain accessible without the risk of damaging this fragile drainage system, especially if it is made of plastic. If you have a shop-vac, use it to vacuum the water out of your sink and the plumbing. If you don't have one of these handy items, get your bucket ready. Your above floor plumbing will contain approximately a quart of water.
Then carefully insert the “business end” of the auger into your drain. Keep feeding the cable slowly into the drain as you operate the drill or turn the hand crank. You may want to add a little hot water to help the auger do its job. Your drain will be clear within a few minutes.
Every home should have one of these valuable tools. Clogged drains can occur at the worst possible time. But, what if the inevitable occurs and you don't have an auger? Then it's time for some ingenuity.
For the second method, fill two or three large pots with water and set them on your stove. While the water is heating up, get your garden hose ready because you will use it in a way for which it was not intended.
When the large pot of water is boiling, pour in one cup of baking soda and dissolve it thoroughly. Using a funnel and a smaller pot or measuring cup, slowly pour the mixture into the drain. Use the whole pot and let this set for five to ten minutes. Then add a cup of white vinegar.
This combination will begin bubbling like an Alka Seltzer in your drainpipe, eating through the grease and soap clog. Let this cleaning solution work for five or ten minutes, then put your garden hose to work.
Take the threaded end of the hose and carefully feed it into the drainpipe. Keep feeding the hose into the pipe slowly and steadily. Eventually you will meet a slight resistance; that's the clog. It's probably located at the elbow fitting where it enters into the primary drain line. Push and pull the hose back and forth, moderately “punching” this stubborn organic mass.
Keep at it for approximately five minutes, and then slowly pull the hose out of the pipe, while wiping it with newspaper. It will be quite dirty. Then pour another pot of water into the drain. If it doesn't back up, you have successfully unclogged your kitchen drainpipe. If it backs up, then simply repeat the process. Stubborn clogs may require several “treatments.”
Using either method will eventually unclog your drain, you can resume your regular kitchen routine, and all will be right with the world.
©2019 Randy Daniel
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