Slow drains are just a fact of life. The problem is you may not notice when a sink starts to drain poorly until it reaches the point where it barely drains at all. It's shocking to think how long we'll tolerate living with a slow drain before we do something about it. Before your drain stops up completely, here are a few steps you can take to fix a slow drain.
1. Use a Zip-It Tool
Never heard of the zip-it tool? Well, you're in for a treat. It's a simple long, slender stick with little-jagged edges up and down the side. You simply insert the tool all the way into the clogged drain and pull it out, and the hair and debris that's causing the clog should stick to the teeth as you remove the tool. It's disgusting, but it works! Most zip-its are inexpensive, and you may have to insert yours a couple times and wiggle it around, but if it's a simple clog, zip-its can work wonders.
2. Pull Out the Sink Pop-Up
This is one of the simplest fixes you can make to a drain without being a professional plumber. Remove the pop-up and carefully clean it. Sometimes, the gunk that gets stuck to the pop-up will be enough to slow the drain even if the drain itself isn't clogged. Most pop-ups can be removed from the sink, while others are held in place with a nut that's just under the sink. Either way, the process of removing and cleaning is very simple.
3. Clean the Overflow
The overflow in your sink (that's the little hole that appears near the top of the sink bowl) serves two purposes: to prevent the sink from overflowing and to permit air into the drain so the sink drains more quickly. If the water is draining slowly from the sink, it could mean a clog in the drain, but it could also mean the overflow is clogged, so air can't make its way into the drain. Cleaning the overflow with a zip-it or a similar tool can make all the difference.
4. Drain Cleaner
There are several brands of drain cleaner on the market you can use, but it's not difficult to improvise your own at home. Mixing 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt, and 1/4 cup cream of tartar in a container creates a combination that both breaks down the buildup and cleans the metal. Merely shake up the mix and sprinkle about half of it into the drain. Let it settle for 15 minutes, then flush the drain with hot water. If this fails to unclog the pipe, repeat the process.
These simple processes will repair a majority of clogged drains, but not all of them. If these steps fail to work, it's time to call in a professional. Plumbers are trained for just this very thing, and a skilled one can repair your drain, and get it back to working order in no time.