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how to fix a backed up sink

Fixing a backed up sink yourself has two big advantages: You save time and you save money.

Pouring liberal doses of very hot water down the drain will often help fix a backed up sink by melting greasy clogs away.

If the hot water drain trick doesn't cut it, hang tight. You may still be able to fix that backed up sink yourself in 3 easy steps.

1. to fix a backed up sink, begin by cleaning the strainer.

Plumbing problems often happen at the strainer area of the sink, and are easily fixed by removing the strainer or stopper and cleaning it. Here's how to do this yourself:

  • Remove the stopper or strainer by turning and pulling up on it with your fingers.
  • Rinse away any soap scum, hair, food or grease attached to the strainer.

2. plunge with petroleum jelly.

Sure, you put it there for the toilet, but plungers can often fix a clogged drains quite efficiently, too. Here's how to utilize the toilet plunger to unclog a backed up sink:

  • If you don't have standing water in the sink, run the faucet until there are several inches of water covering the drain. This water will help force the clog out. 
  • Apply a thin ring of petroleum jelly around the rim of the rubber plunger cup. This provides for a tighter seal against the drain - and improves the effectiveness of the pumping action.
  • Once the seal is established, as you gently push the plunger down, hold a slightly damp cloth over the overflow valve. Give the plunger three or four quick, powerful pumps. Wait a moment to see if it drains. If it doesn't, try again.
  • When the drain is cleared, run hot water to wash down any remaining clogged material that might be lingering in the drain.

3. try to clear the back up with a liquid drain cleaner.

How to fix a backed up sink.

As a last resort before calling that plumbing repair service, pour in one of your favorite liquid drain cleaners.

These chemical cleaners can usually burn through all but the toughest of clogs quickly. Be sure to follow the label's directions carefully.

If the drain cleaners or several short sessions with the plunger won't dislodge the blockage - or if you've noticed that several of your home's other drains are also draining sluggishly - the problem is likely to be deep inside your main house drain and well out of your reach. It's now time to call that plumbing repair service. Your work is done.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for plumbing tools and products you need to solve and prevent plumbing problems.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.