Sink clogs are inevitable. Even with the best of care, you’re bound to encounter one sooner or later. The good news is that most bathroom or kitchen sink clogs are easy to clear without the need of a plumber. And yet some common practices can end up doing more harm then good.

Follow these tips to avoid costly mistakes when clearing a clogged kitchen or bathroom sink.

Do flush a slow-to-drain kitchen sink with hot water. Over time, food residue can build up in drainpipes, especially when connected to a garbage disposal. If your kitchen sink isn’t draining as quickly as before, pour a tablespoon of liquid dish soap and a large pot or tea kettle of piping hot water down the drain to break up the gunk and unclog the sink. And remember to never dispose of FOG (fat, oil, grease) down the drain or in the garbage disposal.

Do avoid caustic chemical drain cleaners. Continued use can damage older metal pipes and soften PVC pipes. Instead, reach for a biodegradable option that utilizes enzymes to safely eat away at clogs. While they may not work as quickly as common chemical drain cleaners, they’re safer for you and the environment, and help protect your pipes from damage.

Do snake a clogged drain. A snake, or auger, is inexpensive and easy to use. Remove the sink strainer and insert the tip of the snake into the drain and through the pipe until you feel resistance. Then, rotate the snake to break up the clog. Be careful not to jam the auger into the clog as doing so can damage pipes and trap connectors. Once dislodged, flush with hot water and replace the sink strainer.

Do remove the drain trap for stubborn clogs. The trap – a pipe beneath the sink usually shaped like an S, P, or J – is where most sink clogs occur. Remove as much water from the sink as you can, place a bucket under the drainpipe, and untwist the connectors to remove the trap. Use a gloved hand to remove all the gunk you can. Then replace the trap and flush the drain with hot water to remove leftover debris.

Don’t add more water to a fully clogged sink. Contrary to popular belief, additional water pressure won’t flush the blockage. Instead, remove as much water as possible and try one the of tips above.

Don’t ignore the bathroom sink stopper. Hair can wrap around the stopper and trap soap scum and other debris around it. Remove the stopper and bend a wire hanger to form a J at the end. Insert the hook into the drain and pull out as much of the blockage as you can. Replace the stopper and flush the sink with water.

Don’t use excessive force when plunging. Unlike shower and tub drains which are permanently connected, kitchen and bathroom sink drains feature twist-off couplings. Excessive force can damage the drain line connections.

Don’t hesitate to call a plumber. If your DIY methods don’t work, it’s a good idea to call an experienced plumber with the right tools and expertise to clear away those tough clogs. Speaking of experienced plumbers, here we are…Anthony’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. No clogged drain problem is too large or small for our experienced team of professionals. So, when the clog won’t budge, Anthony’s tackles it head on.