How to Clear a Slow Sink Drain

A slow sink drain can be frustrating, especially if you use that sink frequently. There are several simple methods you can use to clear a slow sink drain without having to hire a professional or spend hours trying to do it yourself.

Clearing a Slow Sink Drain

Boil 2 to 4 quarts of water, depending on the size of your sink.

Pour the boiling water into the drain. The hot water will break up grease, soap and other materials that may have caused your sink drain to become clogged. You may need to repeat this process two or three times before the drain is cleared.

Take out the sink's stopper and clean it thoroughly with a household cleaner and a scouring pad. Wear cleaning gloves when doing this, because the stopper can be filled with bacteria and mold and household cleaners can irritate your skin.

Plunger Method

Fill the sink with hot water up to the top of the plunger's base.

Coat the edge of the plunger base with petroleum jelly and place it over the sink's drain.

Push down on the plunger to expel water and create a vacuum seal.

Vigorously pump the plunger up and down to dislodge grease, hair, soap scum and other obstructions from the drain.

Hand-Snake Method

Insert a hand snake into the drain, rotating it as you work the snake into the drain pipe.

Continue feeding the snake into the pipe until the obstruction is dislodged.

Remove the snake from the drain slowly to prevent damage to the face and eyes.

Enzyme-Based Cleaner Method

Remove as much water from the sink basin as possible.

Pour the enzyme cleaner into the drain and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes.

Flush the drain with hot water.

If the clog is not removed, add more cleaner to the drain and wait 45 minutes before flushing with water.

Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Large pot
  • Household cleaner
  • Scouring pad
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Bathroom plunger
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Hand snake
  • Enzyme-based drain cleaner


  • The enzymes in those types of cleaners will dissolve hair, cosmetic residue and other items that might be blocking your sink's drain. An enzyme-based drain cleaner is an environmentally friendly alternative to standard commercially available drain-cleaning products.


  • Wear gloves when using a hand snake, because the coils of a hand snake can pinch your fingers.
  • If you are working in a space with poor ventilation, wear a protective mask to avoid breathing in toxic fumes that can damage your lungs.

About the Author

Owen Pearson is a freelance writer who began writing professionally in 2001, focusing on nutritional and health topics. After selling abstract art online for five years, Pearson published a nonfiction book detailing the process of building a successful online art business. Pearson obtained a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Rio Grande in 1997.