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New Solutions to Unclog Sinks

Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey discusses some innovations that can make clearing a clogged sink easier


  1. There are a couple different ways to unclog a sink and to prevent clogged sinks in the first place.
  2. The first method Richard explains includes using a plunger at the base of the sink. Be careful when using this method to block the overflow opening at the front of the sink with a rag. Otherwise, you’ll get covered in clogged sink water when the force of the plunger pushes everything up through the overflow.
  3. Another method involves using a drain snake. Push the drain snake down the drain as far as possible, then spin it around to catch whatever is clogging the sink. Pull the snake out and dispose of the clog. The most effective snakes will require removing the pop-up drain assembly, which can be a hassle, so they also make snakes that can fit underneath the pop-up.
  4. Another solution to the pop-up drain issue is to install a magnetic pop-up drain assembly. This makes it significantly easier to remove the pop-up in case of a clog, but it also eliminates the pop-up lever that causes many clogs in the first place.
  5. If the clog is happening further down the drain, they’ve also created a new type of P-trap with a cleanout on the end to make clearing the clog easier, and then you don’t have to touch the pop-up assembly.


Richard demonstrated a variety of pop-ups and drain clearing devices that can all be found at home centers and plumbing supply houses.

The magnetic pop-up drain is called the ClogFree No Clog Pop-Up Drain Kit, which is manufactured by PF Waterworks.

The P-trap with the cleanout is the Go Green Drain system, which can be found through IdeaBuyer.