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There you are, ready for dinner and a relaxing evening in front of the TV, when you see it: a kitchen sink full of grimy standing water.

Instead of settling in to binge your favorite show, you’re stuck wondering, “Is my sink clogged? And what do I do if it is?”

Before you waste the evening by calling for professional help, check out these three simple steps to learn how to unclog your sink with some simple household tools.

  1. Boiling Water

If you’ve ever had to unclog your drain before, you may already know this trick. As the easiest and least expensive solution for your clogged sink, it’s the best one to start with—before you make the leap and call for kitchen plumbing repair!

To try it, bring a pot of water to a boil on your stovetop. If you have any standing water in your sink, use a mug or small saucer to get as much of it out as you can.

Next, pour the boiling water directly into the sink. If the water doesn’t drain away, wait until it cools. Remove it with your mug or saucer and try again.

It can take several repetitions of this trick to work, but boiling water does a great job of washing away more minor grime and blockages.

If you want to add an extra punch, you have a couple of options.

First, you can add a half cup of table salt to the mix. Alternatively, you can try the classic combo of one part baking soda and one part vinegar. You’ll want to wait fifteen minutes to allow this mixture to work, and then you’ll follow up with another rinse of boiling water to do the trick.

  1. Plunger

When you think of unclogging your sink, your mind may not jump to the plunger you use for your toilet. However, the common household plunger is a great tool for kitchen drains as well!

If you have a double sink, you’ll need to use a stopper on the other drain, and you might need to have a helper push down on it as you plunge. Make sure there’s enough water on the clogged side to cover the lip of your plunger, and then plunge away! Once the water drains, you’ll know the clog has come free.

  1. Plumber’s Snake

Also called an auger or drain snake, this tool can eliminate stubborn clogs that sit far down in your drain. You can get a household version from a hardware store or find one online, but if you don’t have one handy, you can straighten a wire coat hanger for a shorter version of the same tool.

To unclog your sink, feed the tool into the drain or stub pipe until you feel resistance. At this point, you’ll want to push through or pull out the blockage by manually twisting or by turning the crank on your auger, depending on the type you have. Take care not to scratch your pipe as you break up the clog!

Know How to Unclog Your Sink

The last thing you want to do is wait until your sink is flooded with water to learn how to unclog your sink. Understanding the best practices for dealing with a basic clog—and what not to put down your drain—can help you keep your sink well maintained and clean.

For more of the DIY home solutions you need to know, check out our other posts!

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