Here are five DIY answers for how to unclog your kitchen sink. If you have a kitchen sink with a garbage disposal, first make sure the problem isn’t a broken or clogged disposal. If not, try pouring boiling water down the drain. If that doesn’t do the trick, grab your plunger. If your plunger can’t manage, try cleaning the p-trap or using a plumber’s snake.
Kitchen sinks tend to clog more than most other sinks in a home. It only makes sense: food waste probably goes down your kitchen sink’s drain daily. Next time you’re up to your elbows in dish water that won’t drain, avoid harmful chemicals and try these five ways to fix a clogged sink. If one doesn’t work, move to the next until you’ve solved the problem. If none of them work, your Dallas area pros at Ben Franklin are always ready to help.
Before you follow this (or any of the following steps), remove everything in and around the clogged sink. Take out any dishes or utensils you were soaking and try to bail out as much standing water as possible. While you’re preparing the sink, fill a kettle or pot with water and start boiling it on your stovetop.
Once the water is boiling, pour it into the sink’s drain. Be careful not to scald yourself or dump the water in too quickly, it may splatter. If the water doesn’t dislodge your clog, let it sit in the sink until it cools. When the water has cooled to safe temperatures, remove it from the sink and try again. Repeat this process a few times. Boiling water can remove most of the gunk that clogs kitchen sinks quickly and effectively.
A cup plunger is the “classic” plunger you picture when you think of any plunger. It has a wooden or plastic handle and a rubber cup at one end. Before you use a cup plunger, fill the sink with hot (not boiling) water until you’ve submerged the plunger’s cup. This water helps create the suction you’ll need to remove the clog.
Position the cup plunger over the sink’s drain hole until it creates an airtight seal. To unclog a double kitchen sink, plug the other sink’s drain hole with a rubber stopper or similar item. Work the plunger up and down over the drain at a constant and steady beat. Keep it up for about a minute or so, then release the seal. If the water drains, then you’ve dislodged the clog. If it doesn’t, repeat this process two or three more times.
Baking soda and vinegar
First, boil some more water. Pour the boiling water down your drain along with a cup of baking soda. Let the baking soda and boiling water sit for a few minutes and heat up another cup of hot water. When the cup of water is hot enough, dump it down the drain with a cup of vinegar. After adding the vinegar, plug up the drain (be careful not to scald yourself).
Once combined, the vinegar and baking soda chemically react with one another. That chemical reaction will generate pressure, fizz, and even a mild acid, which will all help break through clogs. For best results, we recommend alternating between using baking soda and vinegar and trying your plunger.
Remove the P-trap
All sinks contain a p-trap between the basin’s drain and the wall drain. This (appropriately) p-shaped pipe is usually made of PVC or plastic, but it could also be metal.
The p-trap keeps sewer gases from rising up and out of your drains. In order to do that, it has to bend into a p or u shape. This bend often catches objects that you accidentally flush down your drain. If you can’t seem to clear your clog, there may be something caught in your p-trap.
Removing a p-trap is easy, but you may need a crescent wrench, along with a bucket and some gloves. Place the bucket beneath the p-trap and begin unscrewing the fasteners. The p-trap will contain dirty water that may splash out while you’re removing it along with any water that was in the sink.
When you’ve detached the p-trap, clean it out. When you’re finished, re-install the p-trap and test the sink.
It’s possible that your clog is well beyond the kitchen and deeper down the drain line. To reach these types of clogs, use a plumbing snake.
Now that you know how to remove the p-trap you can access the drain line from the wall rather than go through the sink.
Insert the end of your snake into the drainpipe and feed it down into the line. If you hit a bend or an obstruction, turn the handle to finesse the end of the snake through. Push and pull through stubborn areas to loosen clogs.
Once you think you’ve cleared the clog, retrieve your snake, reattach the p-trap and test your sink.
Help With Big Kitchen Sink Clogs
If you’ve tried each of these steps and still can’t dislodge the clog, it’s time to call in the cavalry. The last thing you want to do is break something and create a big plumbing problem while you’re trying to fix a small one.