We all know to use a plunger to unclog toilets, but did you know it’s also an effective method for unclogging sinks? Plungers are essential household tools since they can be used to unclog any drain in the home, including kitchen sinks and tubs.

As soon as you notice a slow-draining sink, try to open it up with some near-boiling water. Sometimes, pouring scalding water down the drain is treatment enough, but if not, try a plunger.

How to Clear Drains with a Plunger

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to use a plunger, but it’s not as simple as pumping it up and down a few times.

Choose the right plunger. The plunger we normally imagine in our heads is the classic red cup plunger. This is actually a much better plunger for sinks and tubs than it is for toilets. For your toilets, we recommend the flange-style plunger, normally black with an extra rubber flap known as a flange. Make sure the plunger has a suction cup large enough to fit around the drain opening.
Fill up the sink, tub, or clogged fixture with enough water to cover the top of the plunger’s cup.
Coat the rim around the plunger’s cup with petroleum jelly to help create a tight seal.
Cover all other drains and outlets with wet rags. If you have an overflow drain, second drain in adjacent sink, or any other connected outlet, block it off with a wet rag.
Insert the plunger over the drain at an angle so no air is trapped underneath the cup.
With two hands, forcefully pump up and down without breaking the seal. Pump up and down around 15 times.
Repeat plunging process a couple more times before giving up.

If a plunger doesn’t clear the clog, use a snake or contact a professional plumber for professional drain cleaning.

Notes On Chemical Drain Cleaners

We don’t recommend making chemical drain cleaners a routine since they can damage your pipes, but they may be helpful in clearing your drain.

Make sure you wear gloves and follow all manufacturer instructions.
Provide adequate ventilation by turning on exhaust fans and/or opening a window.

Learn more DIY kitchen and bathroom plumbing maintenance.


Give us a call at  205-942-1405 or contact us online.

Call OnTime Service at 205-942-1405  or contact us online to schedule your HVAC, electrical, and plumbing inspections.