How to Clear a Slow Drain

April 22nd, 2022 | Plumbing


Have you noticed lately that the kitchen sink in your Orange, CA, home has been slow to drain? It’s frustrating, right? Over time, food particles, grease, and soap scum collect in your drain pipes and cause a slow or completely clogged drain. 

The good news is, there’s always a nearby plumber to help you with your problem. But perhaps the better news is you can typically resolve this issue on your own.   

Our team of experts has collected a few tips on how to clear a slow drain for you to follow. Depending on the severity of the clog, you may need to repeat the process until the water begins to drain quickly. But with a bit of elbow grease and some patience, your drain should soon be working as it should. 

Tips to Clear a Slow Drain 

The most effective way to clear a clogged drain is to call a trusted plumbing company. However, you might not always have time to wait around for the nearby plumber in Orange, CA, to arrive. Instead, this article details five techniques to teach you how to clear a slow drain in a pinch.

If there are any underlying issues, these approaches won’t solve that issue. Still, you’ll be able to drain the stagnant water collected in your sink.   

Use a Plunger 

The plunger is a tried-and-true method for clearing most clogged drains. If something’s blocking your sink from draining water, you should try using a cup plunger to remove it first. It fits snugly over the drain to create an effective vacuum to force out whatever has your pipes blocked.

So how do you clear a slow drain with a cup plunger? Start by removing any water that is stuck in the sink. Then, remove the drain cover to uncover the opening of the drain. Position the cup plunger completely over the surface of the drain. 

Apply pressure to the handle to pump the plunger up and down for approximately 30 seconds to one minute. Turn on the water, allowing it to run into the drain. 

You may need to repeat these steps up to three times, but your drain should eventually become unclogged. If not, there may be an underlying issue that requires the attention of a trusted plumbing company. 

Remove Strands of Hair 

Hair is the most common culprit for clogging the pipes of the bathroom sink. The best way to remove this clog is to pull out any hair you see in the drain using your bare fingers. If you’re unable to remove the loose hairs, contact a trained professional. 

Boiling Water 

Boiling water isn’t the best method because it isn’t effective on every clog. However, it could be the simplest way to remove what is blocking your drain. You just need to boil some water! As the water is heating up, remove any surplus water from the sink. 

After the water has reached a boil, slowly dump it into the clogged drain. The heat from the water will help dissolve the contents that have blocked your pipes.   

Instead of dumping the entire pot of water into the drain at once, for better results, break it into segments. Begin pouring a small amount of water and follow it with one-third cup of dish detergent. The soap will help quickly break up the debris. Repeat this process until the water begins flowing freely down the drain again. 

If the combination of water and detergent appears to be working but could use a boost, add in the plunger. The triple threat of hot water, soap, and pressure could be the perfect solution to eliminating the blockage.     

Have a Professional Clean the P-Trap 

Under every sink, there is a bent pipe called the P-trap that connects the drain to the wall. It always holds a small amount of water to block sewer gasses from escaping through the pipes and stinking up your home. Unfortunately, other substances can be caught in the P-trap, preventing your water from draining.

It’s always best to have a professional clean the P-trap, as they have specialized tools and vast knowledge. 

What Not to Do When You Have a Slow Drain 

Hopefully, one of these solutions will help you remove the clog from your pipes and eliminate any standing water. If not, your best solution is to contact your nearby plumber, Moffett Plumbing & Air. In the meantime, avoid using any of the following tools or techniques.

Chemical Cleaners 

There are tons of chemical drain cleaners available on the market that claim to solve your problem. But these cleaners are mighty. Besides irritating your skin, using too much or too strong a solution can clean the gunk, but it will also wear down your pipes. 

Another problem with drain cleaners is that they can clear a hole in the blockage and make you think the problem is solved. Instead, the opening will eventually close up again, possibly worse than before. 

Homemade Tools 

You might think forcing the clog down the drain is your only solution. So you create a make-shift device out of a wire hanger and get to work. While your intentions here are good, the hanger could break, damage the pipe, or even become lodged in the pipe along with the gunk. 


Maybe you’ve heard of the vinegar and baking soda concoction. Sure, it might work, but if it doesn’t work, you’ve created the same issue as if you used chemical cleaners. You’ll be left with corroded and rusty pipes that will cost you more in repairs than if you had called a plumber to help with the clogged drain. 

Professional Tools 

This is never a good idea unless you know what you’re doing. It might be tempting to buy the same tools from the hardware store and do the job yourself. Yet again, you could create more damage. These tools require special training to ensure they are being used correctly. If you haven’t been taught, don’t begin experimenting on your own sink.  

Trusted Plumbing Company in Orange, CA 

If your drain is running slowly or you need to address an underlying issue, we’re here to help. Call Moffett Plumbing & Air to make sure your plumbing is working correctly and those drain problems are gone for good.

Moffett Plumbing & Air is a full-service, family owned & operated plumbing & HVAC company based out of Orange, CA. Follow our blog for valuable homeowner tips, and updates from your favorite team of plumbing professionals.