A clogged sink drain is one of the most common plumbing problems a homeowner can face. It’s also one of the easiest DIY repairs. The first step is to make sure you have the right type of plunger. A standard cup-style plunger is a type designed for clearing sink clogs. This plunger has a shallow dome with a flat bottom rim that seals to the sink basin around the drain hole. By contrast, a toilet plunger has a tall dome and a flange, or collar, that extends from the dome’s bottom edge. The flange helps seal around the hole in the toilet bowl. You can use a toilet plunger on a sink only if you tuck the flange up into the dome; otherwise, it won’t seal to the sink basin.
How Drain Plungers Work
Plunging a drain uses the forces of suction and compression. When you pull up on a plunger, it pulls water in the drain upward, beginning the process of loosening the clog. When you push down on the plunger, water is forced downward, moving the clog in the other direction. After a few up-and-down strokes, this push-pull effect breaks up and loosens the clog so the water in the drain can carry it down through the drain system (and out of your life). Keep the two forces in mind when plunging your drain.