The one part of your sink you’re forgetting to clean – how to do it

Mrs Hinch's best tips for clearing your sink drains

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Drain stoppers in sinks are used to prevent large items from slipping down the plug hole, but even then, it’s hard to control exactly what passes through the pipes. Whether it’s soap scum, toothpaste, or food, the drain can quickly be filled up with dirty, foul-smelling residue. While pouring baking soda and white vinegar down the plug hole will clear most of the bacteria away, a cleaning expert has urged people to check underneath the drain stopper too.

In a recent post on her Instagram profile, Carolina McCauley (@carolina.maccauley) showed followers how to deep-clean a sink drain.

She explained that the trick is to remove the drain cover and target the tube beneath it.

The self-proclaimed “Home Hacks Queen” used a blunt dinner knife to unscrew the bolt in the centre of the drain cover.

While doing so, she noted that the inside of the drain is “disgusting” as many people usually forget to clean it.

After unscrewing the bolt, Carolina lifted the cup-shaped cover from the sink.

It was visibly dirty on the underside – particularly around the rim, though the drain itself looked much worse.

To clean the white plug and tube underneath, the Instagram star used a dish scrubbing brush and some dish soap.

She said that this easy trick should be done every six months to “prevent nasty buildup” inside the drain.

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In addition to cleaning the tube beneath the drain cover, Carolina also scrubbed the underside of the removable element.

Once the cleaning was complete, she rinsed the sink and replaced the drain cover before screwing the bolt back into place.

The “Home Hacks Queen” revealed that as well as removing stains and bacteria, the cleaning hack would also leave drains “smelling fresh”.

While the hack is easy to do at home, some of her followers noted that they had experienced issues with their plumbing after trying it at home.

One user, @lynneh7, commented: “You need to make sure the seal between the pipe and the sink is glued solid or you will flood underneath when you turn the tap on.”

To avoid breaking the seal, you will need to tailor the removal technique depending on the type of drain stopper you have.

An expert at plumbing specialists Tub Shroom explained that there are three common types of “lift and turn” drain stoppers.

They said: “For lift and turns with a removable knob, unscrew the knob from the stopper base. Next, get a screwdriver and unscrew the screw inside the knob just enough to greatly loosen the stopper. Then, pull out the stopper.

“For lift and turns with a screw-in base, use a flashlight to look for a screw head underneath the stopper. This connects to the long, thin base.

“Next, insert the screwdriver horizontally and turn the screw counterclockwise until you can separate the stopper from the long, thin base. Then, remove the stopper from the drain.”

For lift and turns with a twist-style base, you will need a wrench to rotate the base counterclockwise until the stopper loosens from the drain strainer. Then, detach the stopper from the drain.

The plumbing expert noted that it is important to remember what method you used to take out the drain stopper because you now need that method to re-insert it. They said: “Grab knobs and screws, a screwdriver or drill, a wrench, and a flashlight. All lift-and-turn versions begin by inserting the stopper back into the pipe drain.”

It’s important to remember what method you used to take out the drain stopper because you now need that method to re-insert it. 

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