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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What To Do If Your Sink Overflows

4/10/2020 (Permalink)

dripping sink What to Do if Your Sink Overflows

There’s no arguing that bathroom overflows are an unwelcome interruption in your day to day life. When a toilet or a sink overflows, it can make a big, wet mess.

Sometimes kids wash their hands or brush their teeth at a sink and forget to turn the water off. When a sink is properly draining, the basin won’t fill up while the faucet runs. But when running water fails to drain, whether it’s due to hair stuck in the drain, or something else blocking the pipes, you may walk in on an unpleasant surprise - water spilling over the sides of your sink. 

Often, you’ll find a sink that shares plumbing with a dishwasher or a washing machine. A gurgle is heard through the sink as the machine drains, but if the pipes are blocked, the wastewater will make its way up through the sink.

Aside from being a rude interruption to any otherwise normal day, sink overflows may cause damage to the subfloor or growth of bacteria and mold. Delayed action could mean further damage that leads to costly repairs. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take now to tackle overflow issues. 

My Sink is Overflowing! What Should I Do?

Once you’ve turned the faucet off, investigation of the blockage begins. A kitchen sink filling up with water is due to the drain overflowing, so we’ll zero in on troubleshooting the drainage set up. Below are some things you can try before you call the plumber.

1. Check the Garbage Disposal

With enough water in the drain, run the garbage disposal. If the water starts to empty out properly again, then the disposal line is now clear and the problem is solved. Issues with the garbage disposal can cause drainage problems for dishwashers, so make sure the garbage disposal is run regularly and stays clear of obstruction.

2. Try Boiling Water and Salt

(Please use caution when handling boiling hot water)

Sometimes stubborn clogs need a little push out of the way. Boiling water works well for this. Start off by pouring half a cup of table salt down the drain. 

 Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Pour all of the hot water into the sink. If the clog does not clear out the first time, you may repeat this step once more.

3. Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you’ve done school science experiments, you’ve probably witnessed what happens when baking soda and vinegar interact. It bursts with bubbles and foam. Imagine this expansive reaction in a confined space like a drain and how it would move clogs along and out of the way.

Start off by putting a cup of baking soda into the drain. Then pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain. As you would with the salt treatment, follow up with pouring a pot of hot water down the drain.

Some advise against using chemical drain cleaners because it can cause cumulative damage to the plumbing and it’s not environmentally safe. 

4. Use a Plunger

If the above suggestions were unsuccessful, it’s time to get out the tools. Sometimes a double sink has only one drain that is blocked. In this case, you’d seal the clear drain with a stopper. Next, position the plunger to cover the drain hole. Add enough water to cover the plunger’s bell so it seals well with the drain. Use the plunger with the same repetitive motions you would use with a toilet.

5. Clean the P-trap

The p-trap is a u-shaped point near the drain used to help keep odors out of the room. It is usually u-shaped and can be found near the opening of the drain, directly under the sink.

Hopefully, it won’t come to this, but a blockage in the p-trap may need to be cleared. 

For this fix, you will need a bucket, a wrench to remove the lock joint nuts, and something bendy to send through the curved pipe (like a coat hanger). 

Find the p-trap under the sink. It will be U-shaped like the curve in the letter P. Place a bucket underneath the p-trap. While holding the p-trap pipe, loosen each nut with the wrench. 

Carefully remove the p-trap pipe. Some water may spill out and that is what the bucket is for. 

Use your flexible tool to push out any blockages. If you feel the coathanger pushing against something, but it won’t clear, you can try a plumbing snake. Move the instrument around inside the pipe thoroughly to clear out any remaining debris.

If another faucet is available, try running water through the trap to see if water passes through easily. Once you’ve cleared the piping, put the p-trap back on and tighten the joint nuts securely.

Sometimes vent blockages for the washing machine can get clogged and cause draining issues. Locate the vents for your washing machine or kitchen sink and check the vents for blockage.

If you’ve tried every practical measure and the problem persists, contact a trusted plumber.

Clean Up After a Sink Overflow Disaster

The next task is to clean up the areas affected by the overflowing sink.

A thorough response now saves you from other problems like damage to nearby materials and structure or contamination. The key is to remove as much water and moisture as possible.

Overflow Cleaning Procedure:

  1. Mop up as much water as possible from floors, pantries, and cabinets.
  2. Leave cabinets and doors open so that all dampened areas have a chance to dry out. 
  3. To more thoroughly dry out the area, use cross-ventilating electric fans. 
  4. Thoroughly clean all surfaces with antibacterial cleaner.

If after some time construction materials like wood are still damp or there are signs of mold/mildew growth, remove and replace the affected items.

If the water mixes with sewage, contact us at SERVPRO of North Irving for sewage cleanup.

Sink Overflow Prevention Tips

We can avoid the hassle of a sink overflow by being proactive to keep drain clogs from happening in the first place. Drains are not built to handle everything winds up in the sink, so gating the drain is the best way to avoid these issues

  • Food - Minimal food should end up in the sink. Throw food scraps into the trash and use a sink strainer to catch food particles that end up in the sink. Coffee grounds, pasta, rice, and fibrous foods are common culprits for clogging drains, so keep them out of the sink as best you can. Use a strainer and empty it regularly to keep the sink clean and clear.  
  • Grease - Hot grease looks clear and fluid like water, but when it cools it becomes gummy. Fatty grease and oil will build up along the sides of plumbing and create stubborn clogs.
  • Hair - Loose hair clogs up a vacuum cleaner hose and it will do the same to your drain. Bathroom sinks are especially susceptible to hair clogs because it’s a place for personal grooming. Use a cover that collects the hair but still lets the water through the drain. This way you can swiftly toss the hair collection into the trash instead of having to fish it out of the drain.

Sink strainers can also catch things you don’t want to get into the drain like expensive rings, fallen eye contacts, and small toys. These sink accessories are typically inexpensive and are found in stores everywhere.

Call SERVPRO of North Irving Today

SERVPRO of North Irving is here for life’s emergencies. If a sink overflow gets out of hand, we’re here to perform a complete water repair

We’ll remove all water and moisture to prevent mold and damage from happening. Our goal is to keep a watery mess from ruining your home while promoting a healthy home environment for your family with bacteria and mold prevention.


We’ll thoroughly clean up the mess and advise you on how to prevent future overflows. We’ll answer the call 24/7 at (972) 986-7677 or you can complete our convenient form!

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