A clogged and backed up kitchen sink can be a real pain in the head. It disrupts the normal flow of your household and can lead to much larger problems if left unresolved. As the dirty water starts to rise and the dishes pile up, you’re probably wanting to throw in the towel and call a professional plumber, but you may not have to.
There are actually numerous ways to unclog your kitchen sink and most of them are affordable and easy. With just a little bit of effort and some good old fashioned elbow grease, your kitchen sink will be draining normally in no time.
7 Ways to Fix a Clogged Kitchen Sink
Before you call a local plumber, we’ve put together some DIY solutions to unclog your kitchen sink so that water will run effortlessly down the drain.
1. Check Garbage Disposal
Before going down the rest of these DIY plumbing solutions, it is best to first check to see that your garbage disposal isn’t the reason behind your clogged sink. Your garbage disposal and sink are connected. The same goes for your dishwasher. It isn’t uncommon for food particles and debris to accumulate and get lodged in one of the hoses that flow in between these different components. Simply running your garbage disposal may loosen the clog so it can pass through the drain pipe. If not, and your garbage disposal won’t turn on, you’ll have to activate the reset switch which is typically located on the bottom of the garbage disposal unit. There is also a way to manually move the blades on the underside of the garbage disposal unit. Once you’ve made sure that the garbage disposal is not the problem, you can move to other do-it-yourself clog solutions.
2. Boiling Water to Loosen Clog
Believe it or not, boiling water can help with minor clogs. This method works for clogged or slow draining toilets as well. Follow these simple steps.
Word of Warning: If you have PVC pipes in your kitchen, specifically running from your drain, you’ll want to bypass this option. Boiling water could soften, warp and damage PVC piping.
- Remove any standing water from the basin of your kitchen sink.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Using oven mitts, cautiously remove the boiling water from the stove and pour the hot water directly into the clogged drain in a consistent, steady stream.
- If this method is successful, you’ll see the water drain almost immediately.
- If the water is slow to drain, but seems to be moving more than it was, wait for the water to cool or drain. Then repeat the process up to three times before moving on to the next option.
3. DIY Baking Soda Mixture & Other Home Remedies
An easy-to-make baking soda solution may offer relief for a clogged sink. This is a much gentler way of unclogging your kitchen sink, rather than using harsh chemicals that could damage the piping or make the clog even worse over time. To unclog your kitchen sink with baking soda, follow these simple instructions.
- Remove any standing water in the basin of the clogged sink.
- Measure out 1 cup of baking soda and strategically pour it down the clogged drain.
- Follow the baking soda by pouring 1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in the same drain.
- Place a stopper or sinkhole cover over the drain opening and wait 15 minutes.
- After waiting 15 minutes, remove the stopper and run piping hot water down the drain to clear the clog.
Pro-Tip: There are several different mixtures you can try with some common household products. To find out more, read our blog on ‘Drain Cleaners You Can Make at Home. ‘
Plunging your sink is a simple, straightforward approach to unclogging your kitchen sink. For minor clogs, a plunger is the most reliable go-to tool.
Two-Basin Sink Alert: If you happen to have a two basin sink, which most homes have, be sure to cover the drain of the side you are not actively plunging with a plate, dishrag or drain plug. This will help with the suction and also prevent a gush of water from coming out when you plunge the opposite drain.
- Remove most of the standing water from your sink. You’ll want to leave about an inch of water in the basin of the sink to help with suction.
- Use a plunger with a single flat rim. This will create an effective seal around the drain for maximum suction.
- Maintain a water-tight seal around the drain hole and move the plunger up and down rapidly until you see movement.
- Plunging may require several rounds of plunging before the clog budges, but when the water starts to recede, you’ll be set.
5. Wet-Dry Vacuum
Wet vacs are an excellent way to break up clogs. They provide a little extra power, where plungers may fall short. Always remember to set your wet-dry vacuum to the ‘wet’ setting before using it on your kitchen sink. You’ll want to position the hose end at the entrance of the sink drain and create a tight seal around it. A damp towel will work just fine. Again, if you have a double-basin sink, remember to plug the drain that you are not utilizing so it doesn’t shoot water all over the place when you turn on your wet-dry vacuum. Switch on the vacuum to high and let it work its magic. This should dislodge any clogs that exist in the main drain pipe. Refer to your instruction manual for how to dispose of the wastewater or debris that your vac may suck up.
6. Auger/Plumbing Snake
Otherwise known as an auger, a plumbing snake is a handy tool that can push through and grind-up tough to reach clogs. Because plumbing snakes are flexible, they can navigate most piping without causing too much damage to the plumbing.
How to Snake a Kitchen Sink: Here is a simple step-by-step on how to use a plumbing snake or auger on your kitchen sink.
- STEP 1: To start this process you’ll have to disconnect the p-trap from the underside of the kitchen sink. Before loosening the friction washer and slip nuts, you’ll want to put a small bucket underneath the sink to catch any excess water that hasn’t drained due to the clog.
- STEP 2: Now that you have disconnected the trap, take a moment to look into the pipe and see if you can spot any obvious obstructions, grime or debris. If there are no noticeable signs of a clog, then the obstruction is further down the pipe.
- STEP 3: Time to push some of the cable or the plumbing snake into the piping until you feel resistance and as if you have reached the clog. You’ll want to make sure that the snake does down the T-fitting and not in the other direction. You can do this by listening and adjusting the direction of the snake if you think you’re going the wrong way.
- STEP 4: Once you feel as if you reached the clog, tighten the set screw on the front end of the snake and push the cable forward while turning the crank clockwise. This will effectively break up the clog and grind away any tough obstructions.
- STEP 5: Now that you’ve broken up the clog, you’ll want to reverse course to retrieve the snake. As you pull back, remember to turn the crank in a clockwise motion. That way you can attempt to bring out any of the materials with the snake so you don’t leave anything behind to clog the pipe again.
7. Wire Coat Hanger
If you don’t have access to an auger or plumbing snake, you may be able to fashion a makeshift one from a coat hanger. It won’t really reach as far as a plumbing snake would, but if the clog isn’t deep inside the drainpipe, you should be able to push through the clog. Unravel a wire coat hanger and push it into the kitchen sink drain. Be sure to move as gently as possible so you don’t cause damage to the sink’s plumbing. Push until you feel some resistance, now you know you’ve reached the clog. Continue to push the hanger around to break up the blockage and debris. You can opt to run hot water in between your efforts to break up the clog.
When in Doubt, Call Detour Plumbing Los Angeles
For tough clogs, contact one of the trusted plumbers at Detour Plumbing. We are prepared to work in your home under the strict government and coronavirus CDC guidelines, taking every precaution necessary to keep you and your family safe during the current COVID-19 crisis. We are enacting added safety precautions to ensure our customers and their home environments are left undisturbed.