A sink not draining is not something you want to be dealing with – today or ever. To help you solve this inconvenient issue, here are some reasons why your sink might be clogged and some solutions you can try yourself.

Why Your Sink Isn’t Draining

Every once in a while, you’ll deal with a sink that won’t drain in your home. When the sink drains slowly, tasks take twice the time they usually do (or longer) because you have to wait for all the water to leave the sink. This can make doing dishes, brushing your teeth, and other tasks particularly frustrating.

So why is this happening?? The number one reason for a sink not draining is a clog. This is generally caused by hair, skin flakes, debris, and food combined with soap scum inside the pipes. Here in Arizona, minerals from our hard water can deposit inside the pipes, adding to the mess. Sometimes though, there are more serious problems that could be the cause, like tree roots growing into the sewer line, deterioration, and old plumbing.

Sink Not Draining – Problems

While most sink clogs are minor, if you leave them, they can cause quite a few problems. Here’s what you could be dealing with if you leave the clog to sit.


Is this the most serious problem a sink can leave you with? No. But it’s worth noting the amount of frustration homeowners experience with a slow-draining sink. If you brush your teeth only to look down and see a pool of toothpaste water in it every single day, it becomes a nuisance (and gross). Also, waiting for the sink to drain so you can finish the dishes can result in frustration. The last thing you need is for your day to be interrupted by plumbing problems.


You may notice when the sink doesn’t drain, smells accumulate. If the slow drain is due to a clog (which is likely), the smell is probably coming from the blockage. If your kitchen sink is the one draining slowly, food, dirt, and other substances can also cause you to be stuck with bad smells until it drains.


Depending on the water in the sink, stains are possible. Soap scum, food, drinks, and more form rings in the sink if left for too long. This means if the water drains slowly, the substances are more able to form stains. These can be tough to remove and add to frustrations.

Mold and Mildew

When your sink is slow-draining, pools of water collect in the basin. If the water stays there long enough, mold and mildew spores are able to grow in the drain. Mold and mildew thrive in warm, damp, and dark spaces, which makes drains the perfect home. A clogged sink allows water to stagnate in the drain, which makes it easier for these substances to grow.

Sewer Line Issues

Last but not least, sewer line issues are also possible. A slow-draining sink might be minor at first, but it can cause larger issues if you leave it. Also important to note, a single fixture that drains slowly is likely something minor at first, but if all your drains are slow, you have a bigger problem at hand.

How to Get Your Sink Draining Again

While this problem is frustrating, there are ways to solve it. Here are some solutions for a sink not draining.

Natural Methods

When hair, soap residue, and other debris get stuck in your drain, boiling water, baking soda, and vinegar may be all your pipe needs to loosen the clog. These are the first few fixes you should try when your sink is slow to drain.

First, you’ll want your sink to drain completely. Then, pour some dish soap down the drain, followed by ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar. Cover the drain and let everything mix and sit for 20 minutes. Once you’re done waiting, pour half a gallon of boiled water (or just hot water if you have PVC pipes) down the drain. After you’ve done all this, test your drain to see if it works. This is a safe way to scrub your drains clean (no need for harsh chemical drain cleaners), so repeat as needed.

Plunge Away the Blockage

If the slow drain persists, it’s time to try plunging away the blockage. While you can use a toilet plunger if it’s all you have on hand, a flat-bottomed one is best for the job. All you need to do is fill the sink halfway full with hot water, position the plunger over the drain, and pump up and down quickly several times. Then, you can remove the plunger and see if the water drains.

Try a Plumber’s Snake

Clogs that put up a fight will need the strength of a plumber’s snake to try and get things flowing again. This tool has a coiled spiral snake that reaches down into the drain. Once it reaches an obstruction, you crank the handle to dislodge the debris and pull it out of the drain.

If you don’t have one and don’t want to go buy one, you can create a makeshift one out of a wire coat hanger. Just use some pliers to unwind the hander into one long piece, keeping the hooked end to grab onto debris. No matter which tool you use, make sure to feed it slowly down the drain. If you push too roughly, you could accidentally push the clog further down the pipe. When you feel the tip of the tool hit an obstruction, hook it and pull it out. Run water down the drain to see if you fixed the problem.

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When you’re dealing with a sink that won’t drain, call up City Plumbing Services!

Call a Plumber

When all else fails, you can always call a plumber to come and clear out your sink. They may find the cause was more serious than you originally thought and can help get everything fixed and running smoothly again.

If you have a slow-draining sink, City Plumbing Services is here to help you out. We are always here to help our Arizona neighbors! We also provide residential plumbing services and will answer all your questions. We’re located in Cave Creek but are ready to help those in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Surprise, and most of the East Valley of Arizona.

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