WARNING: Should you wish to perform your own plumbing maintenance using the information we provide on this website, please be advised that Old School Plumbing cannot be held responsible for any work not performed by our  own licensed master plumber.  Failure to contract any plumbing work to a licensed master plumber could result in serious bodily injury or death.

Sink Drains
A stopped sink drain isn't just an inconvenience; it can sometimes be an emergency. It's always best to prevent clogs before they happen. Be alert to the warning signs of a sluggish drain. It's easier to open a drain that's slowing down than one that's stopped completely.

Run or pour scalding water down the drain to break up grease buildups.
If hot water doesn't unclog the drain, there could be some object in the drain.
To check, remove and thoroughly clean the sink pop-up stopper or strainer.
Determine if the clog is close to the sink by checking the other drains in your home. If more than one won't clear, something is stuck in the main drain.
The most effective way to clear a clog is with a snake.
You can try using a plunger or a chemical drain .

Clearing Drains with a Plunger
The plunger is a good drain-clearing tool, but it often fails to work because it's incorrectly used. Don't make the typical mistake of pumping up and down two or three times, expecting the water to whoosh down the drain. Though no great expertise is needed to use this simple tool, here are a few tips to guide you:

Choose a plunger with a suction cup large enough to cover the drain opening completely.
Fill the clogged fixture with enough water to cover the plunger cup.
Coat the rim of the plunger cup with petroleum jelly to ensure a tight seal.
Block off all other outlets (the overflow, second drain in a double sink, adjacent fixtures) with wet rags.
Insert the plunger into the water at an angle so no air remains trapped under it.
Use 15 to 20 forceful strokes, holding the plunger upright and pumping vigorously.
Repeat the plunging two or three times before giving up.

Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
Though routine use of chemical drain cleaners to prevent clogs may eventually damage your pipes, these cleaners can be helpful in opening clogged drains. If water is draining somewhat, but plunging has failed to open the drain completely, you may want to try using a drain cleaner. Whenever you use chemicals, do so with caution and in a well-ventilated room. Be sure to take these precautions:

Never use a plunger if a chemical cleaner is present in the drain; you risk splashing caustic water on yourself.
Wear rubber gloves to prevent the chemical from burning your skin.
Don't use a chemical cleaner if the blockage is total, especially if the fixture is filled with water. It won't clear the blockage and you'll face another problem-how to get rid of the caustic water.
Never use a chemical cleaner in a garbage disposal.
Read labels and match cleaners with clogs. Alkalis cut grease; acids dissolve soap and hair.

Safety Tip
Don't mix chemicals. Mixing an acid and an alkali cleaner can cause an explosion.
Don't look down the drain after pouring a chemical. The solution often boils up and gives off toxic fumes.