How to Unclog Sink Drain: Best Products and Methods

Last Updated On November 30, 2021
how to unclog sink drain

Gunk accumulates in the sink drains in our home, and a complete clog can lead to potential water damage and an unusable sink.  

When you get a sink drain clog, you need to bypass the standing water to get to the root of the problem with a plumber’s snake, sink plunger, chemical drain opener, or natural solution. 

In this PlumbingNav review, we cover:

  • What are some of the causes of a clogged sink drain? 
  • What are the different ways to unclog a sink drain? 
  • How to unclog a sink drain in 5 steps
  • What do you look for in the best products to unclog a sink drain?
  • Review of top 5 products to unclog a sink drain

ImageProduct
digital-business-prep-table__image
Xion Lab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover
  • Easy to use
  • Works on a variety of clogs 
  • Portion of sales go to
  • Easy to use
  • Works on a variety of clogs 
  • Portion of sales go to
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Liquid-Plumr Mini Bellows Sink & Drain Plunger
  • Compact size
  • Safe for plumbing
  • Accordion design
  • Compact size
  • Safe for plumbing
  • Accordion design
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Ridgid 55808 PowerClear Drain Cleaning Machine
  • Highly effective on all clogs 
  • Immediate results 
  • Auto-feed technology
  • Highly effective on all clogs 
  • Immediate results 
  • Auto-feed technology
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
Green Gobbler Drain Line Cleaner
  • Non-toxic and biodegradable 
  • Multiple applications
  • Works on deep clogs
  • Non-toxic and biodegradable 
  • Multiple applications
  • Works on deep clogs
View on Amazon
digital-business-prep-table__image
7-in-1 Drain Clog Remover Tool

  • Disposable 
  • Multiple size options
  • Fast-acting

  • Disposable 
  • Multiple size options
  • Fast-acting

View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On May 21, 2021

Xion Lab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover

This industrial-strength gel drain cleaner easily bypasses standing water to work on tough clogs made out of hair and grease while also keeping your plumbing safe. You can use this odorless and biodegradable product on clogs made out of paper and food waste as well. 

Our Top 5 Products For Unclogging A Sink Drain (2021 Review)

  1. Xion Lab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover  (Our Top Pick)
  2. Liquid-Plumr Mini Bellows Sink & Drain Plunger (Best Budget)
  3. Ridgid 55808 PowerClear Drain Cleaning Machine  (Best High End)
  4. Green Gobbler Drain Line Cleaner (Best Natural)
  5. 7 in 1 Drain Clog Remover Tool (Best Manual Snake)

What's In This Guide?

      What Are Some Of The Causes Of A Clogged Sink Drain?

      Hair

      When you shave in the morning, you probably allow the hair to fall down the bathroom sink drain, where it can build up over time and prevent proper water flow. Hair can also be a problem if you brush your hair over your sink.

      A bathroom sink strainer can help catch hair before it falls down the drain, and you can learn other ways to shave without clogging the sink. Without a strainer, you may experience a slow drain. 

      Luckily, hair proves to be one of the easier items to clean out of a drain. 

      Grease

      You should never pour grease or fat down the kitchen sink drain for easy disposal. The grease will stick to the edges of the pipes and continue to build up over time. While it may take more time, it’s best to contain the grease and throw it out in your garbage. You can also build a homemade grease trap.

      Soap Scum 

      Everyone uses dish soap to do dishes and hand soap to wash their hands. You also use soap in the shower, washing machine, and dishwasher. 

      Soap, especially when it comes into contact with hard water, creates a sticky sludge that can stick to the inside of the pipes and accumulate over time. 

      Paper 

      Toilet paper makes us feel clean and comfortable, but too much toilet paper can create a problem. 

      It’s also important not to put certain items down the toilet drain, including feminine paper sanitation products, tissue, and paper towels. 

      Toothpaste

      We all brush our teeth with toothpaste 2 – 3 times a day (according to what we tell the dentist). Toothpaste is thick and sticky, making it easy for it to cling to the drain walls. Both regular and gel toothpaste can create a stubborn clog that you will need to dissolve.

      Beauty Products 

      A clay mask can hydrate and exfoliate the skin, enhancing your physical appearance and potentially even making you look younger. However, when you rinse the clay off, it can get caught in your bathroom sink drain or shower drain. 

      did you know how to unclog sink drain

      What Are The Different Ways To Unclog A Sink Drain?

      Drain Snake 

      A drain snake or auger can enter your bathroom sink or a similarly affected clog to break up the clog. 

      The snake can only reach clogs in the first 15 – 25 feet of your plumbing system on average, and you need to be careful not to scratch the pipes. 

      Homemade Cleaner

      When combined, vinegar and baking soda react in a way that eats at numerous types of clogs. 

      You should put the mixture down your drain as soon as it starts to fizzle. After about an hour, pour boiling water down the drain as well. 

      Chemical Cleaner 

      A chemical drain cleaner uses acid, caustic chemicals, or lye (bleach or nitrates) to eat at the clog. 

      Chemical cleaners work the best, but they also have the potential to damage your plumbing, especially plastic pipes. 

      Enzyme Cleaner 

      Enzymatic drain cleaners use natural enzymes and bacteria to eat at a clog

      Residential plumbing systems naturally have enzymes in them already, making them safer on both plastic and metal pipes than chemical drain cleaners. 

      These natural ingredients are much safer than cleansers that use chemicals, but it’s important to understand how to work with enzymes in cleaning products safely

      Perhaps the most well-known “safe” drain cleaner is Green Gobbler. You can read this article to find our complete and full review of the Green Gobbler line.

      Special Note: If you simply dropped something of value down the drain and need to get it out, read this post below:

      How To Unclog A Sink Drain? 5 Easy Steps

      Step One: Detection 

      The first step to resolving an issue involves recognizing the problem exists. Slow drains might go unnoticed for a while.

      You can detect a stubborn clog when you notice your sink taking longer to fully empty, even after the drain stopper or strainer is removed.

      The key lies in early detection. Don’t live in dirty water (and denial). 

      Step Two: Diagnosis 

      When you recognize that you have a clogged drain, you need to analyze the material causing the clog as well as the location of the clog. 

      Clogs made from natural items, such as hair, located in the beginning of your plumbing system will be easier to tackle than clogs made from non-natural material deep in your main line or septic system. 

      Step Three: DIY Drain Cleaning  

      Start to dissolve the clog with solutions you can do yourself. 

      Sometimes, boiling water or hot tap water can resolve the issue by melting the clog. You can also try a mixture of baking soda and vinegar before you go to the hardware store. 

      If the problem persists, most homeowners will try a liquid drain cleaner. 

      If the clog exists in an accessible location, you can also try using a drain snake or wire coat hanger. You can also consider using a stronger, yet safe drain cleaning product such as Green Gobbler.

      Step Four: Professional Service 

      If your attempts don’t produce results, you may enlist the services of a professional plumber. 

      A plumber may use a powered auger to dissolve the clog. If that doesn’t work, they may take apart your plumbing to reach the clog directly. 

      Step Five: Prevention

      Prevent future clogs by using a natural drain cleaner as part of your regular plumbing maintenance routine. 

      You should also avoid flushing certain items down the drain and garbage disposal. 

      Some items not to put down the drain include: 

      • Peels
      • Fibrous vegetables
      • Grease
      • Clay
      • Paint
      • Foreign items

      What Do You Look For In The Best Products To Unclog A Sink Drain?

      Effective Yet Safe Ingredients 

      Just like you read the ingredients on the food items you buy, you should examine the ingredients in the drain cleaner you choose. 

      Chemical drain cleaners such as Drano that use acids work well, but they can damage your pipes if you leave them in too long.

      A caustic drain cleaner can cause similar problems but with different ph levels. Lye chemical cleaners that use bleach or nitrate aren’t quite as strong but don’t contain the same risk of plumbing damage. 

      Money-Back Guarantee 

      A good drain cleaner will come with a satisfaction guarantee that ensures that if the product doesn’t work as advertised that you can get a refund. 

      Keep in mind many guarantees require consumers to use the product as advertised and to manage expectations, so be careful to read the instructions carefully. 

      Best Products To Unclog A Sink Reviewed

      Now let’s explore our favorite units so you can decide on the perfect choice for your situation.

      Our #1 Rated Pick: Xion Lab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover

      Xion Lab Safer, Greener Drain Clog Remover

      Our Top Pick

      This industrial-strength gel drain cleaner easily bypasses standing water to work on tough clogs made out of hair and grease while also keeping your plumbing safe. You can use this odorless and biodegradable product on clogs made out of paper and food waste as well. 

      Pros

      • Easy to use
      • Works on a variety of clogs 
      • Portion of sales go to charities

      Cons

      • 6 – 8 hour wait 
      • Chemical ingredients 
      • Not suitable for main or sewer line clogs

      Our #2 Rated Pick: Liquid-Plumr Mini Bellows Sink & Drain Plunger

      Liquid-Plumr Mini Bellows Sink & Drain Plunger

      Best Budget

      This plastic accordion plunger designed especially for clogs provides more pressure than a cup plunger and only sits 6.5” high, making it easy to store. To use the product, simply create a tight seal and plunge for nearly instant results.

      Pros

      • Compact size
      • Safe for plumbing
      • Accordion design

      Cons

      • Plastic 
      • No case
      • Only effective on mild clogs

      Our #3 Rated Pick: Ridgid 55808 PowerClear Drain Cleaning Machine

      Ridgid 55808 PowerClear Drain Cleaning Machine

      Best High End

      Handle the toughest clogs with confidence thanks to this powerful plumber’s snake with auto-feed technology that feeds the cable down the drain without requiring excessive effort or mess on your part. 

      Use the shorter attachment for nearer clogs or the longer 25’ attachment for the deepest clogs. 

      Pros

      • Highly effective on all clogs 
      • Immediate results 
      • Auto-feed technology

      Cons

      • Difficult to use
      • Expensive 
      • Not cordless

      Our #4 Rated Pick: Green Gobbler Drain Line Cleaner

      Green Gobbler Drain Line Cleaner

      Best Natural

      This natural commercial-grade drain opener works on your bathroom sink drain as well as your main line, floor drain, and septic tank. When used regularly, it can ensure a drain opening in every part of your plumbing system in only 30 minutes when combined with warm tap water. 

      Pros

      • Non-toxic and biodegradable 
      • Multiple applications
      • Works on deep clogs

      Cons

      • Used as maintenance 
      • Not suitable for baby wipes
      • 2 year shelf life

      Our #5 Rated Pick: 7-in-1 Drain Clog Remover Tool

      7-in-1 Drain Clog Remover Tool

      Best Manual Snake

      This snake comes with a wide range of disposable tools to eliminate a clog at the source within minutes. The kit includes four plastic 20” tools, 2 25” snakes, and a long 78” auger. You can use these tools on just about any clog in any part of your plumbing system without fear of damaging your pipes. 

      Pros

      • Disposable 
      • Multiple size options
      • Fast-acting

      Cons

      • Stainless steel can scratch pipes
      • Only one application
      • Must pick right tool for the job

      Final Thoughts On Unclogging A Sink Drain

      A sink clog can create a messy problem in your home. Luckily, we have the solution for a clog in your bathroom drain or kitchen drain with these five products. 

      We go in-depth on each of these specific issues. Check out our complete drain guides below for a quick and easy reference to the most common problems and solutions:

      FAQs For How To Unclog A Sink Drain

      What can I pour down a drain to unclog it?

      To unclog a drain, you can choose a homemade cleaner made from white vinegar and baking soda, a chemical drain cleaner, or an enzymatic drain cleaner. 

      How do you unclog a sink naturally?

      You can unclog a sink naturally with an enzymatic drain cleaner. 

      How do you unclog a drain with standing water?

      Many drain cleaners claim to get through standing water to reach the clog at the source, making them effective for deep clogs and situations where you can’t turn off the water. 

      How do you unclog a double sink with standing water?

      A plunger can provide adequate pressure to break up a clog in a double sink but cover the overflow drain. 

      Need additional help in other areas of your home?

      Here are some guides to help you with clogs in other common areas of your house:

      Meet Your Plumbing Expert

      Brant

      I'm passionate about all things plumbing, and love sharing tips, "how-to", and reviewing the latest products to help make your project a success!

      Learn More Expert Plumbing Tips

      Want to learn more about plumbing? Check out these other helpful resources written by our plumbing experts!

      pex plumbing disadvantages
      hydrostatic plumbing test guide
      what is a slab leak
      how to remove push fit plumbing fittings

      Got Plumbing Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

      Brant

      Brant

      I'm passionate about all things plumbing, and love sharing tips, "how-to", and reviewing the latest products to help make your project a success!

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

      Recently Published Guides