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How to Clear a Sink Drain with a Shop Vac

by ramonasplumber • 104,433 views

Greg shows how to remove a sink stopper and then clear a bathroom sink drain without any chemicals, using a shop vac technique. This also addresses any smelly drain conditions. PLEASE COMMENT AND...

Previously took apart the whole sink (drain, p-trap, etc...) however the clog was further into the plumbing and I could not reach it without a snake. Prior to calling a plumber, our grandma recommended using the wet/dry vac....we thought she was a little out there on this suggestion. After looking it up on youtube and watching your video I decided to give it a shot.  Removed the drain....filled up the sink with some water....ran the vacuum (in suck mode). Not even 15 seconds later it was draining beautifully.  Big Thanks to you for positing this video and to Grandma for her GREAT IDEAS!!!
This worked.  My amateur snaking did not.  Nor did any of the Drano-type liquids. I taped up the overflow hole.  That worked better than just holding my hand over it. Also, after I felt some stuff flow up through the vacuum tube, and saw that the drain was working okay I then changed the setting from suck to blow and that improved things some more.
Hmm just one question though... Wouldn't that break your vac if the water accidentally run in that thing? 
its a shop vac, its built for that. 
Thank you for showing me how to remove the stopper. I didn't know about the connector underneath the sink. You've make my life a lot easier. Thanks!
Using a high draw electrical appliance with wet hands / around water?  Really?  I am amazed I am the only one thus far to mention this.  
+Samoh Kul Thanks for your comment.  Again, it needs to be mentioned that just because it calls for using a wet/dry vac, it doesn't mean one should ignore basic precautions when using electricity in/near the bathroom or ANY environment that has water involved, such as, wear rubber soled shoes and rubber gloves, even if you are simply just holding the vac hose.   For instance, I've seen many folks go barefoot when making repairs in a bathroom or kitchen- both environments where water is present.  Now, introduce electricity and you have the recipe for disaster.  Bottom line, all I'm saying is that because its a public video, a precautionary mention is DEFINITELY appropriate and should not be assumed.
I would pour a small bottle of DAWN Dishwashing liquid down the drain and let sit overnight.  That USUALLY does the trick. If it doesn't then do this method - however the Dawn dishwashing liquid will help reduce the smell...a lot
Great video but I hate the music.
Vessel sinks are over priced trendy fads..... over flow is not required, but the piping below needs to be done correctly....Do you have a P trap under each sink?
I do not know? I wasnt talking to anyone 4 hrs. ago... But go for it what ever it is...
Thanks for watching, subscribe and learn more free, no spam just the facts...
Yes, follow instructions, you will smell good after....
Some times a snake will pass thru a blockage where as a shop vac will remove it.
Thanks John, yes I agree spilled gas would be a real hazard.
NPR's CarTalk mentioned someone used a shopvac to aid in starting a siphon for gasoline that ended nearly immediately with an explosion. Got me wondering. Thanks for your quick responses and videos :) Think I watched all your videos this morning and will now be more thorough and confident in doing my handyman business next-door in Escondido.
I don't even bother pulling the stoper I just go to town with the shop vac
All the snake does is go past some objects, some things need a cable, some need a vac....
Thanks...My drain has been plugged for 3 months because I didn't know how to get the stopper out!!! One five minute video...and I just unclogged my was 4 q-tips! No wonder! THANKS!!!
Congratulations spread the good news to your FB if you have one
A snak small enough to get in will be too small, I never advise "Novice to mess with Cast Iron drain pipe, it can be very tough to deal with. You would most likely lose...
thanks for the helpful tip. i solve clog problems all together by just removing the stopper mechanism from my sinks and keeping a wire mesh strainer in it's place. when i need to fill up a sink, i just remove the strainer and use a rubber drain stopper. just like the good old days. baking soda and cheap white vinegar helps too.
The Drain Genie clears drains without taking the drain apart.
hey greg, what a simple solution to a common problem!! ted
@irvings2 We now use a clip on lapel mike with a radio link to a receiver on the camera. This video was done with the camera's built- in stereo mikes. The earpiece you see in the video is Greg's cell phone bluetooth
I used shop vac to clear many drains while remodeling hotels. Absolutely terrible odor. In hindsight, wondering if the sewer gas might be explosive with methane and such? If so, the shop vac motor sparks could be a good igniter?
Hi Greg, Thank you for the videos. I was able to clear both the shower and sink drains. Ken
I have never known of a combustion, from using a vac, but you are right the odor is really ripe! As for explosions, I have on two occasions had Hydrogen gas from an elect water heater pop from using a torch on a water heater tank setting for 6 months and electric power re heating the water from standby heat loss. It is like a battery explosion .
Is the earpiece you are using a microphone? The sound is fairly consistent even when you turn away from the camera. If so, is it a bluetooth based system? Great video -- very helpful!
@TheFred1952 That works unless you have a lot of the drain.
If you look under the sink you will see that the drain has a trap in it, a U shaped pipe. The reason it is there is to stop sewer gasses from up through drain. When you use a vacuum on the drain you are removing the water in the trap ans sucking sewer gas up into the sink. That is what is smelling. I think this guy is just trying to drum up business with false info. Here is a link :
background musics is WAY to loud and annoying
@goodsz24 , You might I got the goods too! Thanks
@TheFred1952 The Internet rocks, he could have also found my video! yes, experience says knowledge is power. Check out Green Plumbers training.....IAPMO offers it. I teach it.
Hey thanks man, your vid helped and inspired me to make a simple cleaning and adjustment to my sink that has made it Wwwaaaayyyyy smoother!! Thank you!
This is exactly why we had our sinks made without overflow holes. They are nothing but germ holding areas!
Just found your videos and man, they are really good! I pretty much use a Kinetic Ram for clearing drains now, but the vacuum method is awesome!
Your videos are really great, I learned a lot
@mau0412 WET-DRY or Shop vacuum can suck water, a regular vacuum can will ruin the machine.
It was my pleasure, subscribe to my stuff and I am going to do alot more, HD cam as well..thr future of the web is great! Greg
Cast Iron needs a snake to ream out the build up, call a Pro. 55' is Cast Iron the problem is most likely in the drain and not the fixture.
Cool, glad to help make the world a better place...
Thank you, I was wondering if using my wet-vac on the sink was a good idea or a stupid one, and seeing this reassures me. Also the tip on cleaning out the overflow wash is useful, so again, thanks!
Excellent tip! I've been fighting this clog with 3 types of drain snakes all day. But the shop vac cleared it in a few seconds. Thanks so much for the help.
@sanity599 My dear Sanity, After one vacuums out the muck from the drain as I say, one runs water to test the drain and wa -la the P-Trap has water in it once again. I an truly amazed you think I am looking for money, I dont clear drains as a service anymore. I am well aware of the tap seal and its function . I teach Plumbing for a living now. I also spend my dear $ and time to bring you all this free info. to DIY. Greg Chick, dba Ramonas Plumber.
I have done this for years. Put a cup of bleach in shop vac before you start. Put a little bleach in drain when done . No more smell in drain or in shop vac when cleaning out shop vac.
sorry were you talking to me or someone on the Jawbone
@stooge81 Yep, the good olde days when we actually paid attention....
@sanity599 "Drum up business with false info?" He's telling people how to do it themselves - how is that "drumming up business?". As stated in the title of the videp,. the purpose of this procedure is to clear a clog (which may or may not be located in the trap). This method allows clearing of the clog (which is smelly) without having to disassemble the P-trap and get the area under the cabinet wet, RE: sewer gas: as soon as you put some water down the drain, that will take care of that.
If you ever are unlucky enough to actually clear a drain you will find this nasty stuff coming out of the pipe. ( that's using a power snake.) When human skin oils go down the drain, or any kind of oil, in goes through a chemical change and becomes soap. Yes boys and girls soap is make from oil. Usually Lye is added to the oil if one is making soap for use but the same chemical process goes on in the pipe. This is what makes up the clog.
@Catinka666 My pleasure. There is a tip jar on my site! I am trying to pay for web expenses! Greg
it pulls the hair close enough that I can use needle nose plyers the vac also works on kithchen sinks I left one customer scratching his head saying why didn't I think of that
@wfpalmer Well I came back for one reason but I see I have another. The vent will prevent the vacuum from pulling anything up that is after the vent. And the vent is usually right near the drain. And if the trap is working then you should have no smell. Also you don't disassemble the trap to clear a clog. I put myself through college as a plumber. I have a hard time seeing this work at all.
I couldn't watch it cuz it kept skipping!! Waa.
Good luck, the blockage is most likely in wall at the Tee and down the drain less than 24"
Thank you! I hope to have more, and better ones too! Greg
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