The Best Way to Unclog a Sink

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Holly
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Q:

My bathroom sink clogs occasionally.  A liquid drain cleaner seems to do the job. But, I'm concerned I'm damaging my pipes, not to mention the environment. Should I have it snaked or is a drain cleaner OK once in a while?

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You need to look a bit further into why your clogs are occurring.  If it's a hair clog, which is what normally happens,  you can purchase a hair removal tool from your local Home Depot store in the plumbing area. This nifty device is made of a plastic strip about 3/8" wide that contains little barbs along the edges. You simply remove the stopper from the sink and push this two foot plastic strip into the drain. Then pull it up and along with it comes all sorts of goodies stuck to the barbs.  Then give it a good flushing with some baking soda placed in the drain along with a cup of vinegar. The foaming action will help dislodge any crud in the pipe. Run some hot water and you're done.

If this occurrence happens a lot, then you might want to look at the type of drain pipe that you have.  There has been a lot of flexible plastic drain lines sold that look much like an accordion. These are designed to work with out of alignment plumbing pipes and makes it very easy to connect a drain for the DIY type of person that has little plumbing experience. The issue with this type of drain connection is that it is not very smooth on the inside, quite often trapping all sorts of gunk in the grooves.  If you have this type of connection, you may want to have a plumber, if you're not handy, come in and change this pipe out with a smooth plastic or metal pipe. This may help your clogging issue if indeed this is the cause.

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