How to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink

Out of all of the drains in your home, your kitchen sink takes the brunt of the work, and often has some of the worst things to move through the pipe, like food particles, greasy remnants from pots and pans, and other insoluble items that can build up and cause clogs.

Not to mention the fact that your kitchen sink plays in integral role in keeping your home spick and span, and most homes only have one to speak of. A clogged kitchen sink is definitely a major headache for homeowners.

In the instance that your kitchen sink is backed up, draining slowly, or clogged with grease and grime, we have some DIY solutions to help get things back to normal.

The best way to avoid a clogged kitchen drain is prevention and remembering that F.O.G. (fat, oil, and grease) should not be rinsed down your kitchen sink. Not surprisingly, this includes coffee grounds, egg, butter, dressings, sauces, and other food scraps. Using a sink strainer to catch the little bits of food leftover from washing dishes will make a huge difference in limiting buildup as well.

These DIY methods for unclogging your kitchen sink are meant for smaller clogs. If your kitchen sink is quite backed up already, it’s best to give a professional plumber a call, like the ones at Canuck Plumbing and Heating. Also, keep in mind that none of these tips are completely fool proof, you may still require a professional drain cleaning.

While we do not recommend using a harsh chemical drain cleaners, as they can be damaging to your system, we do have a product available that cleans your pipes and drains without harmful chemicals. BioSmart uses enzymes that eat grease, oil, and organic matter to leave clean pipes behind. Learn more about this environmentally-friendly drain cleaner here.

If your sink is full of water, you’ll need to empty it before proceeding with any of the steps below.

Tips for Homeowners: How to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink Drain

1. Unclog Your Kitchen Sink with Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you have a two-bowl sink and only one side is clogged or draining slowly, there is a good chance that this method will work, as it is an indication that the clog is closer to the sink rather than stuck farther down the pipe.

Before you add the baking soda and vinegar, boil some water and carefully pour it down the drain. If this does not immediately fix the problem (sometimes boiling water is enough to unclog the drain), pour 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain. You may need to force the baking soda down the drain.

Let this mixture sit for 15-20 minutes, before pouring more boiling water down the drain.

If this does not remove the clog, it’s time to move to the next step.

2. Unclog Your Kitchen Sink with a Plunger

There are plungers out there that are specifically made for unclogging sinks, which can be found at your local hardware store.

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To use a plunger to unclog your kitchen drain, first partially fill your sink with hot water, then put the plunger over the drain opening to create a tight seal.

If you have a double sink, you’ll want to stuff a wash cloth into the other drain opening to ensure the pressure is focused on the clogged drain.

Push and pull the plunger up and down vigorously for a few times. Then lift the plunger off of the opening to see if the water drains properly.

If, after a few times, the clog is still stuck, you can move on to the next method.

3. Unclog Your Kitchen Sink with a Drain Snake – Part One

When it comes to using a drain snake on your kitchen drain, there are two parts: one where the drain pipe and trap remains intact, and the other where the trap is taken apart.

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The first, obviously, is less intensive because you don’t need to take anything apart, you simply feed the snake down your kitchen drain until you can find and release the clog.

You may, however, find it necessary to modify the end of the drain snake so that it will fit through the kitchen sink basket strainer. Use pliers to snip off the spiral end of the snake, bend it at a 40 degree angle, and then turn the tip at the end into a small hook (this is what will hopefully grab onto the clog).

There are two major benefits to unclogging your sink this way first. One is that you can check to see if the clog has been cleared by running the sink (if the pipe was taken apart this would not be possible), and the snake will come out of the drain clean as long as you run clean water while pulling it back up.

If you are unable to reach and remove the clog this way, then it’s time for your last resort.

4. Unclog Your Kitchen Sink with a Drain Snake – Part Two

It’s best to leave this method as your last resort because it requires taking your kitchen sink trap apart, which can get messy.

You’ll need a large bucket to catch any water the leaks while you do this. You may also need a pipe wrench.

To start, you’ll want to detach the trap (the U-shaped pipe underneath your kitchen sink). You should be able to simply twist them apart, but if not, you can use a pipe wrench to loosen them apart.

Once it is detached, dump out any water into the bucket and inspect the trap for a clog. If you find the clog in the trap, reattach and run your water to make sure this was the only problem.

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If the clog is not in the trap, use your drain snake to go even further. At this point, you’ll want to remove the horizontal pipe that connects to the wall. Insert your drain snake and feed it through until you feel resistance or the clog. Once you feel the clog, turn the crank the opposite direction and hopefully pull the clog out.

If you are lucky, this is the end of the kitchen sink clog, but you’ll have to reattach the trap and run the water to find out for sure.

If not, you can try to dislodge it using the above methods, or call a professional plumber to get rid of your stubborn kitchen clog.

You can also check out this helpful video on how to unclog your kitchen sink.

Do you have a stubborn kitchen clog that is preventing you from using your kitchen sink? At Canuck Plumbing and Heating we can handle all of your plumbing needs, whether you need your kitchen drain cleaned or have a plumbing emergency on your hands. You can contact us 24/7 in case of a plumbing emergency.

6 replies
  1. Andre Beluchi
    Andre Beluchi says:

    Unclogging a kitchen sink with a plunger sounds quite interesting because I thought it would somewhat ruin the plumbing of that sink. Well, it would probably be how you do that can affect the plumbing. Maybe it could be something that I can try out at the moment since my kitchen sink is having trouble draining the excess food waste from last night’s dinner.

  2. Cherry
    Cherry says:

    Hi Canuckplumbing,

    I like your post. These are helpful Tips to Unclog Kitchen Sink. It is undeniably true that DIY is the first thing that we do to put solution in any home problems before calling professional help and these tips are very useful, still a sort of step by step process to avoid the problem from getting worst. Thru this, we can save money. I am very thankful that you share this tips though you are professionals in this field. GOD BLESS and Keep on posting.

  3. John Devis
    John Devis says:

    These are fantastic tips for unclogging the kitchen sink, but sometimes it can be worst so in that situation I think we should try to call plumber that can effectively unclog the kitchen sink. Thanks

  4. Janice Smith
    Janice Smith says:

    Yes, kitchen sink usually gets blocked over a certain period of time. This is mainly due to the garbage disposals. If we think, it will go automatically, then I can tell that we are totally wrong. That means we have to give immediate attention to unclog our kitchen sink. But prior to do any think, first we should check whether our kitchen sink is full of water or not, and if it is, then we should first empty it. Well, one can do it on his own, but I think it is better to hire a professional contractor in order to unclog the kitchen sink in a more efficient way.


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