In many homes, the kitchen is a central hub of family life, but a kitchen sink clogged with debris can set the whole household back. Fortunately, this can be an easy fix for homeowners to tackle themselves. Read on for 6 ways to unclog a kitchen sink drain, along with expert tips to help you avoid getting your kitchen sink clogged in the future.
Looking for an “emergency plumber near me”? The team at Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating is on call and ready to help. Call (972) 992-1495 or visit us online.
What Causes a Clogged Kitchen Sink?
There is, perhaps, no other sink in the house that takes on as much debris in the form of food scraps as the kitchen sink. We tend to send crumbs, sauces, cooking oils and bits of leftovers down the drain without thinking twice, but many of these food items don’t belong in our plumbing at all.
While oils and cooking grease can coat our pipes and solidify there, food items like eggshells can easily get caught in plumbing, attracting and trapping more debris until it forms a major clog.
As with many household fixture breakdowns, improper use and a lack of regular maintenance greatly contribute to issues like clogged drains. Our experts advise that homeowners educate themselves on which food items are safe to feed into their kitchen sink drains and specific garbage disposal units, and to keep up with regular household plumbing maintenance.
6 Ways to Unclog a Kitchen Sink Drain
While there are several go-to methods homeowners can attempt to unclog a kitchen sink drain, severe clogs may require multiple tries or a combination of DIY methods. Let’s dive in.
1. Boiling Water
This simple method involves bringing roughly half a gallon of water to a boil and slowly pouring it down the drain, then checking to see if the drain starts moving along. This method should only be attempted if homeowners are certain their plumbing doesn’t connect to PVC piping, as boiling water can melt or otherwise damage these materials.
Clogs caused by soap, grease or cooking oils may dissolve when flushed out with hot water. To prevent these kinds of clogs in the future, avoid adding oil or grease to your sink drain whenever possible. Instead, allow cooking oil to solidify in the pan and dispose of it in the trash.
2. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
These common household items have many DIY cleaning uses, including breaking up stubborn drain clogs. Try the following:
- Remove excess water from the sink until you can access the drain directly
- Pour up to one cup of baking soda into the drain (using a funnel if necessary)
- Follow up with one cup of white vinegar, and place a stopper over the drain
- Allow the mixture to sit for 15–30 minutes
- Remove the stopper and run hot water to flush the drain
Repeat this process as necessary. If you are unable to clear the clog, it’s time to break out the plunger.
3. Plunge the Sink
For plunging to be effective, homeowners will need to plug up the sink’s overflow drain hole (if there is one). In double basin sink units, the second sink’s drain will also need to be plugged. Next, fill the problematic sink with hot water until it forms a seal around the drain. Position a flat-bottomed plunger over the drain and plunge vigorously for 10–20 seconds. Check to see if the water drains, repeating the process if necessary.
4. Snake the Drain
Severe clogs may require the help of a drain snake to break things up or pull the clog out entirely. A drain snake, also known as an auger, is a coiled length of wire or piping with a hook or spiral at the end for breaking up clogs. You can gently feed a drain snake into your drain a few feet at a time, working slowly until you hit resistance.
Ideally, this means you’ve found the blockage. Try hooking it with the tip of the snake, then slowly retract the snake to pull out the debris and try again, if necessary. Run hot water to see if it drains. Homeowners can follow up with baking soda and vinegar to ensure the clog has been cleaned out sufficiently, or try using a combination of these methods to bust a stubborn clog.
5. Clean the P-Trap
The P-Trap is a curved or elbow-shaped section of plumbing underneath your sink. Due to its shape, the P-Trap can collect grease, debris and other forms of gunk, which can be difficult to clean out from above the sink.
In order to clean out the P-Trap, place a bucket and/or towels underneath the P-Trap. Next, unscrew the connectors holding the curved section of piping in place. Remove the P-Trap and clean out any blockages, debris or build-up.
If you cannot find a blockage here, the clog may be further down the line. In this case, you’ll need to remove the horizontal section of piping that connects your sink drain to the wall. Feed your drain snake or a section of wire directly into this access point and see if you can locate and break up — or pull out — the clog.
Reinstall the piping and P-Trap, careful not to overtighten connectors, and run the faucet, checking to ensure no leaks occur underneath the sink.
6. Check Your Garbage Disposal
If your sink has a garbage disposal unit, it could be the source of your clog. Try running the disposal, listening for changes in the way it normally sounds. If you believe you have an issue, always be sure to fully disconnect the power before attempting any repair work.
Using a flashlight, check for any obvious obstructions and use a pair of tongs or pliers to remove any objects or debris you find. It’s important to note you should never stick your hand into a garbage disposal.
Homeowners can also manually turn the disposal’s blades to break up a clog. Locate the manual turn hole on the bottom of your garbage disposal unit and insert an allen wrench to work the blades.
If no obvious clogs are present, lay down towels and a bucket and try disconnecting the pipes that lead to your garbage disposal. Clean out any blockages you find, then reconnect pipes and try running water to see if it drains. Always check to ensure no leaking occurs from reconnected pipes when repair work is done.
Emergency Plumbers in Duncanville, TX
If you’re ready to skip the troubleshooting or require the help of an “emergency plumber near me,” give us a call. Our master plumbers are fully trained and ready to help. Dial (972) 362-9801 or visit us online to schedule emergency plumbing services today.