Unclog your sinks without undoing any pipes

I found this wonderful dude on Pinterest http://www.hometalk.com/2251857/how-to-unclog-a-sink-like-a-pro?tk=d4g1rl&se=wkly and followed his easy to follow advice, with a few modification of course.

Rule #1: Don’t undo any plumbing pipes as he suggests if you are renting the house.

Rule #2: Don’t undo any plumbing pipes unless you are attempting this between 9-5 on a weekday and are willing and financially able to call a plumber.

Rule #3: Don’t attempt any plumbing unless you know how to shut off the water lines.

Law #1: Most, if not all, plumbing joints are reinforced with silicone plumbing putty stuff. Unless you know what this is and how to reapply it- DON’T UNDO ANY PLUMBING PIPES.

Rule #4: Have plenty of towels handy and/or little helpers who can run for towels in an emergency.

Rule #5: Atheists need not apply. Plumbing is a religious experience and I guarantee that somewhere along the way you will find God. As in “Oh God, HELP!” and only a God Guaranteed Miracle will fix your problem.

What I did

what happened when the auger went down the sink

what happened when the auger went down the sink

This is the sink in the laundry room so it didn’t have a pop-up plunger to remove.

I put the garbage can in the sink so I could pull up crud left by previous tenants and dump it right away without carrying goopy mess to the can.

when the zip it went down the laundry sink

when the zip it went down the laundry sink

Repeat this zip/auger fishing expedition until nothing more comes up, or you think the job has been done well enough.

In this house I have 3 bathroom sinks and one laundry sink so I was at it all night. Each sink will take about 45 minutes, some more, some less.

Tools you will need

very high tech and very dangerous plumbing tools

very high tech and very dangerous plumbing tools

This is a cut length of a wire coat hanger with the end squeezed into a fish hook.

You start with this tool, just going straight down and pulling up whatever is there.

Rule #6Don’t drop this metal piece in the sink! If “to thine ownself be true” and you suspect strongly that you’re clumsy and will drop it, don’t use it in the first place.

It’s also very useful for poking loose the paint the previous tenants washed down the sink and you use the straight pointy end for poking through the drain holes right at the top of the pipe as soon as you pull the pop-up plunger out. These holes are connected to the drain holes in the porcelain sink that prevent the sink from overflowing and they can get gooped up too.

remove sink pop-up plunger and clear out drain holes

remove sink pop-up plunger and clear out drain holes

The little red circles indicated by the red arrow are where the overflow hole in the porcelain sink exit to drain the excess water into the sink’s pipe.

Zip it and Auger the pipes once the pop-up plunger is out.

Law #3: Pay attention to how the pop-up plunger came out because you’ll have to put it back the same way. I found that the X pattern on the plunger lined up with each branch pointing up, down, right, left, with the loop for the metal rod under the sink put at the back.

The pliers
You will need pliers, not just to cut the metal coat hanger, but to scrape off the metal buildup on the post for the pop-up plunger. Grip metal buildup with pliers and turn back and forth to loosen it. Have a towel underneath the piping when you do this because the metal bits will fall and some (not much, don’t panic) water may drip out.

Rule #7: Lots of water will drip out if you choose this moment to turn on the sink and let the water run.

unhook pop-up plunger under the sink

unhook pop-up plunger under the sink

You turn the grey plastic nut thing by hand then pull back on the metal rod.

Law #2: If you can’t turn it by hand, leave it be.

This is where you will find more crud and a metal build up. It’s not too bad in this picture but it was 1 cm thick in my other 2 sinks.

You will need a Zip It tool, a $3, long plastic piece with ridges on the side to catch hair.

the zip it tool

the zip it tool

You can reuse it a bunch of times but eventually it will have to be replaced.

And an auger. This is more for clot busting but it will pull up crud too. It’s very long and has a turning motion so it can go through and around the plumbing bends to catch stuff. Mine cost $20 and you need one for life. It’ll seem like brain surgery as you figure out how it works, but once that’s done (it’s not hard), you’ll be amazed at the genius of the little device.

a plumbing auger

a plumbing auger

A box lined with grocery bagsThis is for storing all the plumbing tools when you’re done.

Do one sink at a time because you’ll need a functioning sink somewhere to rinse off your tools and wash your hands.

2 responses

    • Thanks! I know what you mean about hiring a plumber out of fear though. I’ve been forced into repairing plumbing emergencies before in my life so I’m not afraid anymore. I tried to make this post as gentle as possible.

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