Best Ways to Fix a Slow Drain

Best Ways to Fix a Slow Drain

One of our most common plumbing calls are about slow, sluggish drains. While any drain can get a backup or clog, it’s most common to see blockages in the bathroom sink. Why you may ask? It’s because the bathroom sink is the one used the most. Think of how many times you brush your teeth and wash your hands. It’s no secret that your bathroom sink takes a beating; and with that beating comes backup. When it comes to big clogs, that’s when it’s best to call the big guys—like the plumbers at Bell Brothers—but, when it comes to smaller, manageable clogs, there are some things you can do at home and some preventative measures you can take. Today we’re sharing our expert’s tips for the best ways to fix a slow drain.

What Not to Do

First, we’re going to start with what not to do. We often visit many homes where someone has tried one of these “solutions” to find it only makes things worse. If you don’t want to make your slow draining sink worse, don’t do one of these:

  • Use a Chemical Drain Cleaner – Chemical drain cleaners do much more harm than good. They’re hard on pipes and can cause serious damage. The other issue is that when homeowners use a chemical drain cleaner, that drain cleaner only clears a portion of most clogs; leaving your pipes susceptible to another backup.
  • Add More Water to a Blocked Drain – If your sink already isn’t draining, don’t add more water. If you do add more water to an already full sink, you’re putting more pressure on the drain and pipes, adding more work for yourself and the plumber who’s going to come out and fix it.
  • Using a Hose to “Jet” Your Drain – A garden hose is not a hydro jetter. We’ve seen some cases where a homeowner thinks that a strong gush of water will dislodge what’s creating the clog. This does nothing but get you, and the bathroom or kitchen, soaking wet.
  • Use a Coat Hanger – We’ve often heard that shoving a coat hanger down your drain will help pull up most blockages. Do not put a coat hanger down your drain. Chances are the coat hanger isn’t long enough to reach whatever may be causing your clog, and you could end up damaging your pipes in the process.

Hot Water

Using hot water to dislodge something is the easiest way to see if you need to call a professional. If your sink is draining slowly and you want to do something about it, simply bring some water to a roaring boil.  Once the water is boiling, pour it into the backed up sink. Sometimes the hot water can help melt things like soap scum, cooking oils, and other biological materials and help give the push they need to get out of your plumbing system.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

To do this, you need to remove all standing water from your sink. After the sink is clear, pour about a cup of baking soda into the drain, follow that up with an equal amount of white or apple cider vinegar. The combination of baking soda and vinegar will start to bubble. Once the bubbling stops, wait about 15 minutes, then run hot water to flush everything out. If your sink is still slowly draining after this, give us a call.


If all else fails, one of the best ways to fix a slow drain is with the tried and true plunger. Just note that a flat plunger is best for drains. A light plunging can help dislodge hair and other organic debris in your pipes. Before plunging, if your sink has an overflow, make sure it’s covered with a rag or some duct tape. Covering the overflow creates a seal needed to clear the drain. Once you have the overflow covered, fill the sink with a few inches of water, place the rubber plunger directly over the drain, and lightly plunge up and down. Don’t plunge too hard or you could damage your sink and drain.

Call a Professional

Tried one of the best ways to fix a slow drain and still don’t see a difference? It’s time to call in the professionals. A slow draining sink is annoying, but over time it could lead to a bigger problem. The same goes for leaky faucets. These issues may seem small but could be indicators of much larger problems. At Bell Brothers, we believe an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. The expertly trained plumbers at Bell Brothers are able to diagnose and treat any plumbing problems. To schedule an appointment, call the number at the top of the screen.