How to unclog a sink (and keep your pants)

One of the many joys of homeownership is the clogged kitchen sink. This is not my first clogged kitchen sink, having worked through such an experience with my father a number of years ago.

I should point out that the event did not make me an expert, just made me aware of what not to do.

First thing not to do: pour sulphuric acid down the pipes, and hope that it somehow dissolves the gunk that’s down there. Even moreso: not to blow into the pipe in hopes of forcing it down, only to have it come back up to splash on your pants and dissolve the fabric while you’re still in them.

Still, about two litres of Draino didn’t help. It poured in, but the drain didn’t really unclog. Finally, desperate measures were needed. Not a plumber — a snake.

The snake is a long metal … um … well … thing. If you’ve seen one, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then I suggest a short trip to your nearest rental store to ask about one. It’s about the easiest thing I can think of.

The snake was a 25 footer, which I hoped would be enough to find it’s way to the clog. I figured that the clog had to be at the drain stack, where the drain would ultimately head vertically into the sewer.

A note about using a snake: Use gloves. Preferably ones you don’t care about. Because those snakes have been everywhere and they are disgusting. My hands were turned a greasy brown. I chose to believe it was actually grease, and not something else that you normally find down a drain. (At least it didn’t smell.)

With a bit of help from Alex, we managed to get the sucker down the drain, find the clog, and poke a hole in its formerly impenetrable defenses to allow the drain to … well, drain.

And I still have my pants!

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