This inconvenience of clogged drains is one of the few drainage issues to cause trouble to homeowners. Luckily clogs of kitchen sinks are easy to address and can be prevented in the future. But clogging mostly happens if you rinse down large food waste or grease within the main drainage water line.
The kitchen is the heart of any home and plays an important role in keeping your family nourished. Thus a clogged kitchen sink is not only a nuisance but is a health hazard too. Hence it is important to clean it properly to keep it free from viruses, odor, contamination, and bacteria.
With water filling up in the sink and a counter full of dirty utensils you need to read on and learn to try these easy do-it-yourself methods to unclog the kitchen sink drain. However, if the sink still does not drain properly after trying these methods then you would have to contact the plumber or cleaning agent.
Why do kitchen clogs happen
The kitchen sink clogs are mostly caused by food scraps and grease. Over time all the food waste from dishes especially oil or fat pours down the drain or garbage disposal, gets accumulated, and leads to clogging.
Most clogs in sinks and tubs are due to a combination of cooking oil, grease, soap residue stuck right below the drain opening.
Kitchen clogs can easily be identified through odor and standing water. If the water in the sink takes longer to drain or there is a strange odor in the kitchen or if the sink fills up with debris. But before you start sticking your hand down the drainpipe, make sure to unplug the garbage disposal to avoid the risk of it being switched on while you are working on it.
Ways to unclog your double sink
Here are a few simple ways to unclog the kitchen sink using the some home items or tools that are available at any hardware store. But if they prove to be ineffective, you need to call drain cleaners to fix your kitchen sinks.
Things you would need to unclog
The following is a list of things you will need to unclog your home kitchen sink.
These will help you protect your fingers from the blades of the garbage disposal and give you traction while dealing with grease.
You need the wrench to loosen slip nuts holding the drainpipe.
For best suction, you would need a cup-style plunger to create a tight seal that covers the opening of the drain.
This also known as plumber's snake. This drain snake will become your go-to for clearing the sink pipe. It is available in plastic and metal.
This comes in handy for getting visuals of the clogging in sinks.
Remove the clog by hands
When grease, soap residue, and debris get stuck in your drain, boiling water may be all that your pipes need to loosen the blockage. It is the easiest, simplest, and least expensive method making it the best one to try first. What you can do is try removing the clog using a flashlight and using your hands.
At times a clog that is visible near the surface can be extracted by putting on a pair of rubber gloves and removing it manually. This makes you become a drain cleaner.
However, if this method fails to dislodge the clog, you need to move to another technique.
Use salt and boiling water
This method works well especially with stoppages caused by soap scum and grease. Pouring boiling water helps when there is a slow drain and not a lot of tepid water is already in the double sink. Pour about half a cup of salt down the drain, then fill a kettle with water, heat it, bring it to boil, and carefully carry it to the sink.
Then pour about a quart of it directly into the drain (not onto the porcelain) in three to four stages and then let it sit for a couple of minutes and then flush it with hot water so it loosens and dissolves the clog and then clear the mixture.
The results are relatively fairly quick, although you need to repeat this process multiple times and the method works most of the time.
However, if there is still standing water in the sink that means that the clog is still there and you have yourself a sink clog that is too stubborn for this approach.
CAUTION: Do not try this method if your drain is attached to plastic (PVC) pipes as the boiling hot water can melt them.
Check the garbage disposal
One of the main culprits of drainage issues is if your sink has a garbage disposal. If the clog is in the garbage disposal then turning it on will clear away the blockage in the drainage system. Sometimes, it might be overheated, broken, or jammed hence causing the clogging.
You can try breaking up the clog by turning the blades manually, but make sure it is disconnected to power before you stick your hand in it. You can also try resetting it by activating the reset button for an easy reboot.
You can also insert the wrench in the hole at the bottom of the garbage disposal and twisting it till there is less resistance, leading to unclogging . Once it is unclogged, turn the power back on and test disposal, and then turn the faucet to see if the drainage of the sink is back to normal.
Keep in mind that there are chances that your garbage inspection may not reveal any clogs so in such a case switch to another unclogging method.
Plunge away the blockage
Once you establish the fact that garbage disposal is not a problem, you should bring out the cup plunger. For this technique to work, fill in the sink you intend to plunge with plunger hot water till it is half full to cover the bell of the plunger, lift out the removable strainer and create a tight seal against the surface around the drain with a stopper.
Place the cup plunger firmly over the drain opening and begin pumping up and down vigorously multiple times in an attempt to clear the obstruction through the plunger.
When you hear the suction of the plunger, clear the clog and see if the water drains. Then remove the plunger, let the faucet run and flush the drain well for a few minutes.
Remove the overflow outlet seal and replace the stopper or the sink basket.
Use the combination of salt, vinegar and baking soda to break it
If any of the previous home remedies are not successful in unclogging the kitchen sink drain it is time to try an old and natural method to clear clogged drain. Much to your convenience baking soda, vinegar and salt are common household items that every kitchen has.
Before trying this remove the standing water in the kitchen sink with a cup, then make a mixture of vinegar and baking soda by pouring one cup of baking soda down the drain trap using a spatula to push the powder down the drain, place a stopper to cover the drain and seal the opening.
The baking soda mixture will work its magic after it starts bubbling, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then run hot tap water or boiling water to flush it and see if the clog clears. Repeat the process if the water draining is slower than normal as this usually means that the clog didn't get fully cleared the first time.
Another effective combination is using baking soda and salt mixture. Mix half a cup of baking soda and salt, the mixture will create fizz, and then and pour it down the drain. Let the mixture sit for several minutes and then pour hot water down the drain. All these components will create an aggressive chemical reaction and can unblock tough clogs. You can repeat this process if it does'nt work for the first time.
Use the drain snake or plumber's snake
The tough clogs that put up a fight will require the strength of a drain snake or plumber's snake to battle with the blockage in the drainage system. Plumber's snake has a spiral coil that reaches down the drain and is available at any hardware store.
This handy tool clears all clogs stuck further down the draining system under the kitchen sink. You need to disassemble the drainpipe that runs underneath the sink to expose the stub pipe that travels behind the cabinet wall.
This is where you insert the plumber's snake or drain snake into the pipe. Once it hits the obstruction you can crank the handle to dislodge the debris, pull it out and break the clog. Electric plumber's snakes are even more powerful to tackle clogged drains.
Use a wire or coat hanger
If you do not have a plumber's snake you can create a makeshift one with a wire or a coat hanger. Simply use a pair of needle-nose pliers to unwind the coat hanger into a long wire piece.
Keep the end that is hooked as you would use this to grab the debris. If deemed necessary, you can use the pliers to adjust the angle of the hook so it can easily fit through the opening of the drain.
After the tool is ready, push it down the drain but try not to push it too roughly as you might accidentally push the clog further down the pipe. No matter which tool you are using, when you feel the tip hit an obstruction, hook it on and pull the debris up through the drain pipe. Repeat the process until you are certain that the drainage system has been cleared and then run hot water down the drain.
Try the wet and dry vacuum
The wet and dry vacuum is an ideal appliance to help with stubborn clogs. For this, you need to create a seal for the hose to effectively suction out the blockage. This powerful suction is strong enough to dislodge whatever it is that is clogging the sink.
Clean the P-trap
If there is still standing water, there might be clogging in the P-trap. This is at the curve of the drainpipe under the sink, usually inside the cabinet, and is also known as the elbow-shaped pipe under the sink. It is necessary to clean it to clear the unclogging.
For this place a bucket or pan underneath the pipe to catch any stuck debris, food particles, or grease that may fall out when you open the the drain trap. Unscrew the connectors or slip nuts on the side of the trap, hold the curved piece to the vertical and horizontal drainpipe to disassemble the drain trap from the drain pipe, and clear out the gunk, grime, grease and residue that is causing the sink to block because the water hits a snag on its way down.
Then either replace or clean and reconnect the trap, make sure all connections are tight and closed up then replace the it and turn on the faucet to run warm water through the pipes for a few minutes to flush the drain.
If the drainage is still not up to par the clog may be farther up the pipe, so you need to find the source of the clogging and remove the trap by removing the horizontal pipe that connects the system to the wall.
Before you celebrate your handiwork, check under the sink while the water is running to make sure all connectors are tightened by hand and closed up while reassembling to make sure there isn't any leak in the pipes. If you notice leaks make sure you tighten them but do not over tighten as it may cause the pipes to break.
Warning: This task can get slightly messy so prepare yourself with rubber gloves, goggles, and towels before working on this technique.
Once you are free from the drips, dry any water spillage under the sink or on the floor and you are good to go. However, If you have made it to this point and your sink still is not draining there could be a larger issue and so you need to call a kitchen plumber expert for a professional fix.
How to prevent future clogs
Now that your kitchen is draining properly again, make sure to prevent this from happening in the future. The most important preventive measure is to use a drain cover to catch debris, another one is to refrain from disposal of harmful items such as grease, coffee grounds, or cooking oil from dishes and do not overload garbage disposal.
Also, make sure to run plenty of hot water down the kitchen drain after each sink use to keep everything clear.
While clogged drains are an easy DIY fix, as stated in the article, calling drain cleaners or plumber is a wise step for a serious situation.