Encased sink cleaners, also known as an auger or drain-snake, are stiff metal cables with a corkscrew appendage that can crawl or snake through your home’s plumbing removing problematic obstructions.
These crank-operated tools are perfect for clearing backed-up or clogged kitchen sinks because they represent an inexpensive alternative to calling a plumber, which will typically charge hundreds of dollars for even the smallest of jobs.
However, while encased sink cleaners are easy to use, many people are intimidated by them. So if you are going to give one a try, I’m going to teach you exactly how to use an encased sink cleaner.
Are Kitchen Sinks Difficult to Unclog?
Kitchen sinks typically rank as easy to deal with, and the average person should be able to unclog most kitchen sink clogs in about an hour or so, depending on how bad the obstruction really is.
Using an encased sink cleaner will make the process straightforward.
How To Use An Encased Sink Cleaner
- The first step is to disconnect the p-trap found underneath the sink. Make sure to catch any water runoff with a bucket, or you’ll end up with a mess.
- Take the business end of the encased sink cleaner (this is the section with the spring-looking bit), and slowly insert it into the drain pipe until you feel the pipe bend.
- Start cranking the handle to push the corkscrew bit further and further into the pipe until you hit the clog or obstruction. At this point, activate the encased sink cleaner’s locking mechanism. The exact location of this bit varies depending on the model, but it is usually found near where the steel cable exits the case.
- Once locked, begin to push the cable forward and into the obstruction while cranking the sink cleaner. Once you run out of cable length, unlock the mechanism and retract about 10 to 15 inches. Lock the mechanism once more, and start to crank again. Continue this process until you feel the clog’s resistance give way. This means that you have successfully broken the obstruction apart, or have pushed into a section of the drain line with a larger diameter. In either case, the flow of water should now be restored to normal.
- Connect the p-trap back and place and flush the sink with plenty of water to make sure normal function has been completely restored.
If you run into a particularly stubborn clog and are not able to penetrate it, you may have to resort to one or more of the tips below.
Additional Help When Using An Encased Sink Cleaner
Sometimes, the debris you create by breaking the obstruction apart will create a new lesser clog that can affect how the sink drains. If this happens, simply use a plunger to release this secondary obstruction.
Adding a mixture of baking soda and vinegar can help you clear a particularly nasty obstruction. Simply pour one cup of regular baking soda into the drain, followed by one cup of common white vinegar. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes before attempting to clear the clog with your encased sink cleaner.
Most kitchen sink clogs are made out of grease and food residue. As such, pouring boiling water and dish soap into the drain can help to weaken the greasy scum and make the flushing process much easier.
Finally, you may have to hop on over to Amazon and pick up a commercial chemical drain cleaner such as Drano or CLR. In my experience, these products are hit or miss. Sometimes they’re able to clear clogs quickly, and other times they feel like a waste of money. However, if used in conjunction with an encased sink cleaner, the chances of the combination being successful are pretty high.
Last update on 2022-10-05 at 17:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API