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Cleaning Sink Pipes: How to Unclog Plumbing at Home

After living in the city for 30 years, EC moved to the countryside. He writes about life in the mountains, dogs, plants, and cooking.

It's easier than you think to unblock clogged sink plumbing

It's easier than you think to unblock clogged sink plumbing

In This Article

  1. The cheapest way to unblock clogged pipes
  2. The ultimate de-clogger
  3. Why plumbing pipes are important
  4. How to care for the kitchen sink and drain
  5. Plumbing of high-rise condos

The Cheapest Way to Unblock Clogged Pipes

Believe it or not, you only need three items:

  • 1 box baking soda
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 pot boiling water


  1. Pour the baking soda in the drain hole; followed by the vinegar.
  2. The mixture will start foaming. Let it foam while waiting for the water to boil.
  3. Pour boiling water into the drain hole.
  4. This should remove the clogs; but if not, repeat the procedure one more time.
  5. If the second attempt failed, try using rubber suction or removing the 'bends' and 'traps.'

The Ultimate De-Clogger: Lye

When baking soda and vinegar do not work, there is the ultimate de-clogger: lye. Purchase one small can of lye in the hardware. They appear like small yellowish stones.

How to Use Lye to Unclog a Sink

  1. Put all the content in the pipe of the sink.
  2. Pour one kettle-full of hot water and leave overnight.

It also works well with the toilet bowl and bathtub.

Importance of Plumbing Pipes

The plumbing system is about 15 percent of the value of the house. A sound plumbing system gives far greater sale value to a house than poor plumbing. Clean and smoothly functioning pipes add convenience to standard of living.

Anyone can install the pipes, but major plumbing installation jobs should be done by licensed and professional plumbers. It also pays to invest additional money on high-quality materials.

The best place to buy your plumbing supplies is at the local plumbing store, or at the store where you bought the fixtures. Buying pipes from online stores can be fun, but you must choose companies with a good reputation.

Always buy top quality brands for your plumbing needs because they often offer stock parts designed to fit the main products perfectly.

Categories of Plumbing Pipes

  • Kitchen drains
  • Toilets
  • Tubs
  • Floor drains
  • Fittings (faucets and valves)
Kitchen sink waste pipes

Kitchen sink waste pipes

Half bath pipes

Half bath pipes

How to Care for the Kitchen Sink and Drain

  • Try to Prevent Clogging: The drain in the kitchen sink is the most used and most-often clogged. By watching what is emptied into the sink drain, clogging can be prevented. Regular use of biodegradable waste digester is also recommended.
  • How Clogging Starts: Clogging of pipes is caused by liquid fats, coffee grounds, and small bits of food. Films of grease will form on the pipe walls and create a build-up of small waste particles.
  • Don't Pour Oil Down the Sink Drain: Best practice: Do not pour used oil down the sink drain. Collect all oily substances in a container with air-tight cover then dispose of it with the garbage.
  • Use a Plunger to Remove Clogs: Minor clogs can easily be removed by using a plunger. It is a rubber suction cap attached to a long wooden handle. Cover the drain completely with the cap and push down several times. The forced gusts of air will push down the jam inside the pipe. If the sink has a double drain, seal the other one to avoid splashing water all over the place.
  • Clean the Pipe Itself: Another way of removing clogs is by cleaning the pipe itself. Remove the J-bend or the P-trap. Place a bucket or deep basin right under the fixture to catch drippings and the clogging materials.

Plumbing of High-Rise Condos

My daughter lives in a high-rise building. Thirty-six floor, to be exact. Going up in the elevator is not just one of my anxieties. My secret concern has been the plumbing. I thought to myself: what if there's someone who flushes the toilet with sanitary napkin or diaper in the bowl? Not my daughter, but someone from above? The condominium is a forty-one-floor building.

I remember some news I read a while ago. Toilet bowls have clogged simultaneously. The caretaker had several options, but he chose the cheapest first. He sent a memo to all occupants to flush the toilet bowl every 7 in the morning. And it worked! The plumbing needed a strong pressure of water to flush down the obstruction in the pipe. From then on, everyone flushes their toilet bowls every morning at the same time.

We live differently nowadays. Certain responsibilities must be observed. Do not throw small trashes outside the windows. Do not cook strong-smelling dishes inside your unit. There are lots of don'ts. You chose to live in such a place so live by the rules.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2009 EC Mendoza


maker on August 29, 2013:

I have the same problem, and will give it a try...

Have a chearful life, wonderful time!!!

whitton on January 20, 2011:

Nice Hub. These are some great tips and steps on how to clean plumbing at home.

Calgary Plumber on July 04, 2010:

Yeah it can be amazing how easily a drain can get plugged - its always good to review your pipes at least every 6 months and flush these of any debris before they become too much of a headache.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on April 20, 2010:

Right now I am listening to a pipe squealing and humming and wondering what I can do about it. Not much, I think, because its on the supply side, not the outlet side. But it shows the importance of proper plumbing!

Thanks for the tips about unclogging drains

Love and peace


quicksand on December 22, 2009:

Your Majesty, I wish you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year! :)

EC Mendoza (author) from Philippines on December 16, 2009:

Hi, Melinda! Thank you for the nice comment :D

Melinda L. Fisher on December 16, 2009:

Thank-you for such an informative read! I have heard of the baking soda before. The vinegar/baking soda mixture is a new one for me. I will have to try this one the next time I have a troublesome clog. I wonder if it would also be a good idea to maybe do the baking soda/vinegar mixture just as a prevenative measure every few months? Would that be a safe and cost effective preventative measure to do every so often? Thanks, again for the ideas. This is an issue we all face from time to time.Oftentimes, some can't afford to call the plumbers these days and must correct the problems ourselves.This was a very informative pice, Queen. =)