Are you finding it difficult to drain a sink that isn’t clogged? Then you’ll find 4 fixes to this issue in this article. Take the plunge!

Here are 4 fixes for a sink that won’t drain, but isn’t clogged

  1. Clear under the strainer
  2. Use a plunger
  3. Flush the drain out with a drain cleaner
  4. Check your garbage disposal

Fixing a sink that won’t drain doesn’t have to be a job for the plumber. Save yourself the call-out charge by taking a look at the extended instructions below. You’ll have the water descending quickly again before you know it!

Bathroom sink taps
You can fix your non draining sink yourself and same money on a call out charge!

Sink Not Draining, But Isn’t Clogged? 4 Fixes to Try

There is nothing worse than water that doesn’t want to drain. It can quickly turn your sink that was full of lovely, bubbly, washing up water into a sour, pungent, swamp of grease and everything else you’d rather see the back of.

Perhaps you’ve tried wriggling a knife down the plughole but it doesn’t seem clogged. Maybe you’ve even dumped a liter of hot water down the drain. But now there’s just more water in the sink that won’t descend. What can you do?

The following are 4 fixes you can try to get your sink draining again even if it doesn’t appear to be clogged. Let’s dunk right in!

#1 Clear Under the Strainer

Every sink should have a built-in strainer. The strainer prevents large chunks of food from getting clogged up inside your sink. Even if you have a good strainer over your plughole, I recommend you clean it periodically.

Sink strainer
Lift the strainer out of the sink to clear underneath it

You should clean under your strainer to clear away any trapped grease, hair, and dirt. These things, although difficult to spot, may be what’s blocking your water from draining.

So how can you clear the area under the strainer? Take a look at the following instructions.

  1. Remove the strainer from the plughole. You might be able to lift it out with your fingers. If not, unscrew the nut that is holding the strainer down. Then lift the strainer out.
    • TIP: If you are struggling to get the strainer out of the plughole, trying removing it with a pair of pliers
  2. Untwist a wire clothes hanger and make it as straight as you can. Then fold the hanger into the shape of a big dipper.
    • TIP: If you are finding it tricky to make the big dipper shape, see a great tutorial video here.
  3. Push one end of the clothes hanger into the plughole and keep a firm grip on the end with the handle
  4. Move the clothes hanger around in the plughole. Sway it back and forth and in circular motions.
  5. Pull the wire clothes hanger back up, out of the plughole and clean it with a rag
  6. Repeat steps 2 to 4 until the hanger comes out clean
  7. Put the strainer back into the plughole by screwing the nut back into place if necessary
  8. Run the water to see how it descends

#2 Use a Plunger

Another great remedy to a slowly draining sink is to use a plunger. The plunger will help to shift any particles that are stopping the water from draining.

Using plunger in a sink
Use a plunger to help the water to drain again

Here’s the most efficient way for you to plunge your sink.

  1. Place the plunger over the plughole
  2. Let the water run until you fill the sink with three inches of warm, slightly, soapy water
  3. Plunge the sink as you normally would. The warm, soapy water should work to breakdown any grease that could be lurking in the plughole
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as necessary
  5. Run the water to see how it descends

#3 Flush the Drain Out With a Drain Cleaner

Using a drain cleaner on a slow draining sink is also a good way to get the water moving again as it should.

But what can you use to clear the drain? You could use a simple store-bought drain cleaner for this task. This will do the job marvelously. But why not save yourself a couple of pennies? Get creative by taking a look at some of our natural drain cleaning solutions! There’s nothing like a homemade house cleaner!

Here is a list of homemade drain cleaners and instructions on how to make them.

Drain CleanerHow to Make It
Baking soda and white vinegarHalf a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda followed by hot water. Add a spoon of Borax for an extra boost!
Baking soda and lemon juiceHalf a cup of baking soda and half a cup of lemon juice followed by hot water. This solution has a great, fresh smell.  
Table salt and white vinegar  Half a cup of coarsely ground table salt and half a cup of white vinegar followed by hot water  
Table salt and lemon juiceHalf a cup of coarsely ground table salt and half a cup of lemon juice followed by hot water
Natural cleaners
Natural ingredients are great drain cleaners

Now you know what ingredients you need to make your own drain cleaner. Whipping yours together should take no longer than 5 minutes!

The best thing about these ingredients is that you will probably have most of them at home already! That means that you can save yourself a trip to the store today. And even if you are missing an ingredient, the ones we’ve listed are very cheap to buy. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of getting a DIY job done on a budget!

Are you ready to clear your drain? Then grab your chosen drain cleaner and meet me at step one.

  1. Squirt your drain cleaner down the plughole. If you are using a store-bought cleaner, follow the instructions on the bottle. If you are using a homemade cleaner, start by pouring the dry ingredients down the drain first. This includes your baking soda, Borax, or coarsely ground table salt.
  2. Next, pour the other ingredients down the plughole. This could be your lemon juice or white vinegar. Leave the hot water until last.
  3. Leave the drain cleaner to sit on the drain for the recommended amount of time. Check the instructions on your store-bought cleaner for more details. If you are using a natural cleaner, let the ingredients sit for one hour.
  4. After one hour, wash the drain cleaner away with a pot of hot water
  5. Test to see how the water drains after cleaning it

#4 Check Your Garbage Disposal

Does your sink have a garbage disposal linked to it? While your sink may not be clogged, your garbage disposal could be. Once you have unclogged your garbage disposal, your sink should drain properly again.

Here’s how to stop your garbage disposal from inhibiting your sink from draining.

  1. Turn on the garbage disposal. If the garbage disposal doesn’t turn on, it could be blocked. In this case, do the following
    • Reset the garbage disposal unit via the reset switch you can find under or on the side of the unit
    • Unplug the garbage disposal and unclog it manually. (Please, never use your hands to do this!)
  2. Test to see how the water drains in the sink after unclogging your garbage disposal


Trying to get a sink to drain that isn’t clogged can seem a bit of a cryptic conundrum. Slow draining water is a pain and not to mention, a little whiffy. I am sure the 4 fixes in this article have helped you to get your water descending again.

Has this article been helpful to you? Then make sure you check out some of the other articles and free guides on our website!

Have a great day!