Sink not Draining But Pipes Clear

If you have a sink not draining but pipes are clear, you could be at the end of your rope!  Never fear, you have a few options you can try before calling in a professional. 

Let’s save you a few bucks and find out how to deal with a sink not draining but pipes are clear below! 

sink not draining but pipes are clear
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Sink Not Draining But Pipes are Clear 

Sinks usually have problems draining for a few reasons.  

  1. P Trap Clog 
  2. Air Vent is Clogged 
  3. Pipe Angle 

Sink won’t Drain but there is No Clog 

This is super frustrating because what could possibly be wrong with your sink if it won’t drain but the pipes are clear? 

If you’ve already used a sink plunger and no clog is in the pipes, you are probably scratching your head, wondering what to do next.  Well, the fact is, there IS a clog in your pipes, just not one that your plunger can remove.  Thinking long term, the best tool to have in your home is a drain auger.  Then, you can clear out all the drains in your home, yourself, for only the cost of the auger.

P Trap Clog

If your sink is not draining but pipes are clear, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a clog somewhere in the pipes.  Most likely the clog is at or behind the P trap.  The P trap is basically the elbow in your pipes before your pipes go into the wall.  This “elbow” cause gunk, grease, food, and hair to gather in the area and cause clogs.  

p trap

Your clog is probably hiding down there, after the P Trap, where hands can’t reach.

You can easily remove the P trap and clear out any visible debris.  First, turn off water to the sink.  

Second, grab a bucket to catch any water that will come out of the pipe.  Third, grab yourself a wrench that fits onto the pipe and then remove the pipe.

Take out anything you can find, even putting your hands as far as they will go into the pipes and grabbing any debris.  Wipe of the inside of the pipe to remove built up gunk.  

Replace the pipe and then turn the water back on.  Test out the sink to see if it runs clear after doing this.  If not, you may need a drain auger to go down the pipes passed the P trap.  

Air Vent is Clogged

Each sink should have an air vent built in to allow the water to flow freely through the pipes.  Sometimes, that air vent can get clogged with gunk and debris.  Each sink and building codes in your area are different so the air vent may be located in different places.  

For most sinks though, it’s under the sink and just looks like a random pipe sticking out that’s not attached to anything.  Make sure to take that off and check that its not clogged on the inside of the air vent piping.  Also make sure that nothing you are storing under the sink is blocking air from getting out of the air vent.

If the P trap is clear, and the air vent isn’t clogged, you can move onto problem #3.

Pipe Angle

Some pipes were not built at the right angle to allow drainage to occur properly.  This results in slow drains, standing water in pipes, and no way for water to flush out the debris.  It just gathers in the flat pipe area and forms clogs.  

If you see a pipe that is mostly straight under your sink, you should take that off and clean it out. Long term, think about getting that replaced with a proper pipe.


If you have a sink not draining but pipes are clear, there are a few things you can try yourself at home.  We hope that the DIY techniques mentioned here help you save some money and get your sink running clear.