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How to Clean Your Sink Drains Properly

How to Clean Your Sink Drains Properly

You may be proud about keeping your house clean and sparkling – but what about sink drains? Although responsible for the plaque of numerous bacteria, we don’t always give drains the attention they need and deserve.

It may not cross our mind, but the bathroom and kitchen sink drains do see a lot of action – washing down soap, removing food waste, disposing of hair and dirt, etc. After some time, sinks can build up and create a problem in the form of a clogged drain. So the troubles you may be facing with sink water not draining might be due to blocked sink drains.

So, how to clean the sink drain? Preventing blockages in drains is actually not that difficult. And lucky you, we have just the guide to keep your sink sanitary and clean – with a DIY solution or by relying on a professional service.

How to Clean Sink Drain in the Bathroom?

Waking up to greasy water in your bathroom sink is not something to look forward to in the morning. Don’t blame your family for this occurrence because the causes can be many.

Hair, for example, is known to be the common cause of a stuck sink drain and the same is true of soap scum, which leaves a thin film in your pipes. If such issues are not addressed on time, your sink drain might be subject to blockage.

There are two options for how to clean the bathroom sink drain. One is by using home remedies and the other is by using drain cleaning products.

Unclog Drains with Home Remedies

Chemicals are no friends to the plumbing system and can cause quite a damage to the sink and pipes. Try to avoid them as much as possible and use them only when absolutely necessary. Here are some of the DIY natural unclogging techniques you can try.

The Winning Combo of Baking Soda and Vinegar

The fantastic duo is used in just about any household affair that has to do with cleaning. To clean your sink drain, add 1 cup baking soda directly to the sink and add 1 cup vinegar thereafter.

The fizzing sound you hear means that the two ingredients have bound and are working on unclogging the drain. Allow them to react for about 30 minutes and then pour plenty of boiling water down the drain. Repeat the method several times until the drain unclogs.

A Combination of Salt and Hot Water

If your drain is blocked by fat or soap scum, salt and hot water are the answer. Simply pour ½ a cup of any type of salt into the drain and flush it with lots of boiling water. What happens here is, the hot water melts the grease and oil while the salt is used as a natural scouring agent to clear the debris.

Use a Plunger

Everyone has a plunger lying around and it can be used to unclog drains. Simply fill the sink with water and use the plunger to cover the drain. Press and pull for some time until the water begins to drain. Repeat this once more and then rinse the drain with boiling water.

Drain Cleaning Products

If none of the above works, you can turn to other options. Use products that come in the form of thick gel or powder, intended to create a chemical reaction that can help unclog drains. You can buy one that specifically addresses hair clogs or grease clogs, too.

Using a drain snake is also a possibility. It is a flexible cleaning tool that is inserted inside the drain and can remove hair and other objects blocking it. Be careful, the drain snake is prone to breaking and can partially get stuck inside the drain thus causing further issues.

How to Clean Your Kitchen Sink Drain?

The kitchen sink is also easily blocked because of the grease and food waste that goes down the drain. When you learn how to clean kitchen sink drain you will be able to reduce such buildups and prevent the growth of germs and bacteria.

The winning combo of baking soda and vinegar does wonder for kitchen pipes. As described above, using baking soda and white vinegar is a handy trick to help keep your sink drain clean. Pour a mix of the ingredients until you hear a fizzing sound to indicate the cleaning process has begun. Wait for around 30 minutes to allow them time to do the job and rinse the drain with boiling water to clear up any leftover plaque.

If you have never cleaned your kitchen drain, you may need to use some drain cleaners. Use vinegar and baking soda to regularly clean and maintain the drain.

Clean the Garbage Disposal

You can clean sink drains all you want, but getting rid of lingering odors and germs coming from the garbage disposal will still be an issue. So, you should clean the garbage disposal regularly to reduce the chances of nasty buildup.

First, unplug the garbage disposal to prevent it from turning on. To remove debris, scrub the baffle folds and underside, and the top of the grinding chamber with soap and a sponge. Pour some baking soda into the disposal to absorb odors. Allow it to work for five minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly. Rinse all parts before reassembling and turning on the garbage disposal.

How to Deal with Stinky Drains?

Noticing a lot of lingering odors coming from the kitchen sink? Here are some helpful tips on how to clean a stinky drain.

Using lemon, salt and ice is a good method for the prevention of odors and bacteria. Simply add 2 tablespoons of salt, sliced lemon, and two cups of ice to the garbage disposal. Turn it on and the cold water, odors, and bacteria will be scrubbed away.

Some of the other things you can try to keep drains from stinking:

  • Scrape food waste from plates into the bin so that it doesn’t go into the drain. Do the same if you are using a dishwasher because the food waste will clog those pipes as well.
  • Avoid pouring grease and fat down the sink. Cold fat will solidify and clog the drain.
  • After washing the dishes, let the hot water run for a full minute to flush the drain.

Cummings Plumbing: Keeping Tucson Drains Clean for 35 Years

The reason behind clogged drains are many and so are the home remedies available. In learning how to clean sink drain, you might find that using a DIY fix may not always help resolve a serious problem. This is where you turn to professionals for help.

Cummings Plumbing is a professional company offering the best service technicians to help you keep your drains clean and functional. Our service area includes Tucson, Vail, Marina, Green Valley, Sahuarita, and Pro Valley. Our professionals will ensure your sink drains are clean, safe to use, and functioning optimally – be it in your kitchen or bathroom.

To learn more about our tailored services, schedule a free estimate today.


How do you clear a slow-draining sink?

There are many available options to clear a slow-draining sink. One is by using a plunger or use of drain cleaning products. You can also use natural products for regular cleaning and maintenance. Pour baking soda and white vinegar for 30 minutes and rinse with boiling water. For more serious sink drain clogs, contact a professional.

Why do my drains smell like sewer?

If you notice lingering and unbearable odors coming from your drains, this means that bacteria are feeding on the pipe debris. This is a result of everything that goes down the drain, like food waste in the kitchen sink. To avoid this you need to regularly clean your drains with DIY methods, use drain cleaning products, or get the help of a professional.

Can you pour bleach down a smelly drain?

Bleach is not recommended for cleaning and dealing with smelly drains. When used to tackle pungent odors from the drain, this might cause a chlorine odor that can be harmful. Chlorine is especially not recommended for homes with septic tanks. Bleach is known to kill bacteria that break down septic waste and can permanently damage the septic system. If solids in your septic tank don’t break down, they fail to drain the tank properly and cause the waste system to clog.

What breaks down hair in a drain?

Human hair is an alarming problem for pipes and clogged drains. One of the most common natural remedies used for breaking down hair is a mix of baking soda and white vinegar.
A cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar is enough to pour down the drain so it‘s clean. The fizzing sound points to a successful chemical reaction between the two ingredients. Leave the mix for about half an hour, until the fizzing stops, and pour a large quantity of boiling water to rinse the drain. Repeat this several times for more persistent clogs.


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