How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink
Do you have a clogged kitchen sink drain and not sure what to do? Homeowners have used many different methods to remove the clogs in kitchen sinks for years. Whether it’s on the side that has a garbage disposal, or the regular sink drain side, some homeowners may use baking soda, boiling water, chemical drain cleaners like Drano and others to cure the standing water problem from kitchen sink clogs. Sometimes it’s as easy as removing food waste or buildup that has collected in the strainer over the faucet drain, using rubber gloves or pliers to remove the waste. Sometimes it’s from coffee grounds or orange peels acting as a stopper in the garbage disposal, to having a clog in the pvc pipes p-trap, which may require a plumber’s snake/drain snake to clear that clog and get the cold and hot water draining again.
With a few affordable tools and some hands-on practice, you should be able to clear up even the most difficult and stubborn clogs. To begin, you’re going to need a plunger (the one with the larger rubber bell) and a snake, also known as a hand auger.
Snakes vary in length and price, but we recommend the 3/8 inch model that is about 20 feet long. You can buy these at your local hardware store or home center. You will also need a bucket, rubber gloves, and a working flashlight.
Check the drain before you begin plunging
A major cause of clogged drains is a clogged garbage disposal. If the water on one or both sides of the sink is not draining, first plunge it to clear the clog and open the water drain.
If you turn on the disposal and you hear a humming sound, the unit is most likely jammed. First, turn it off and then unplug the disposal. You should be able to free it by moving the blades manually. You can do this by inserting an Allen wrench. Place the wrench into the hole at the bottom of the unit.
If the garbage disposal is not making any noise when you turn it on, this may mean that the internal breaker has probably tripped. If this is the case, let the unit cool off for a minute and then press the reset button on the bottom of the unit. Next, turn it on again.
If you have a dishwasher, you’ll need to plunge the drain. But first, tighten the clamp that’s over the drain line’s flexible part line before doing so. By doing this, you are preventing dirty water from going back into your dishwasher.
Clear the clog with a plunger
If the issue is not with the disposer, try plunging the drain. If you have a dishwasher, don’t forget to clamp the drain hose first before plunging it. Then, fill the sink with about 3 or 4 inches of water so the plunger seals around the drain.
Hold a rag tightly on the other side of the drain opening if you have a double sink, or seal it with the basket strainer. Then, plunge vigorously for about 20 seconds. If the water doesn’t clear into the drain, keep plunging for an additional minute or so.
Using a snake
To begin, thread the tip of the snake into the drain stub-out. Turn the crank clockwise and feed it into the drain pipe. You may feel a block, but this is most likely the snake is turning a corner. Continue feeding the snake into the line.
If the cable has run into an obstruction, keep pushing the cable through until the tip bites through. When you pull out the cable, it will be covered in dirty gunk, so clean the cable as you pull it out. Since you may get a large plug of sludge at the end of the snake, be sure to have a bucket handy.
Repeat these steps until you don’t feel the blockage any longer. After reassembling the trap, run plenty of warm water in order to flush out the line.
Once the drain is clear, pour a mixture of 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain. Close both of the openings (for double sinks) and let the solution sit for five minutes. Then, run a gallon or so of warm water down the drain to flush the sink.
The baking soda and vinegar can dissolve the leftover fat deposits and leave the drain smelling better.
Need help unclogging your kitchen sink, shower drain, or need help to clear a drain trap so you can run water?
DIY plumbing projects aren’t for everyone. If you have a stubborn clog or other plumbing issues, pick up the phone and call the professionals, our Kansas City plumbers at A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. are glad to help!