What to do for a clogged kitchen sink

What to do for a clogged kitchen sink

Got a problem? If you’re dealing with a clogged kitchen sink, there are a few do-it-yourself tricks you can try before you call the plumber. The success of these may vary, and some may be great short-term solutions before you have to call in the professional help. If you continue to have repeat problems, consider how much a professional consult could actually save you time and money over the course of owning and repairing and maintaining your kitchen.

Tricks to unclog a clogged kitchen sink

  • Boiling water. Sometimes, food debris that gets washed down the sink clogs the area immediately below the drain, or builds up on the blades in your garbage disposal if you have one. Bring some water to a boil on the stove while you drain standing water from the clogged sink by scooping it out with a mug. Then, pour the boiling water into the drain and see if it helps break up the clog. You may have to repeat the process more than once for best effects. You can also try this approach with an added ½ cup of salt in the boiling water, which can also help break up certain types of clogs.
  • Plunger. Depending on the setup of your sink – if it’s a single or double sink, and whether you have a garbage disposal – you might try a common bathroom plunger. Make sure that it is thoroughly cleaned with sanitizer, white vinegar, or bleach, before inserting into the clogged kitchen sink. Once placed over the drain, operate with the same jerking motions to use suction to remove the clog. Once the sink begins to drain, flush it with hot running water.
  • Vinegar and baking soda. A common concoction of two household items, you’ve probably seen the incredible effects in a youth science class volcano. First, pour about ½ cup of baking soda in the drain, then add the same amount of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. After the bubbles slow down, put the stopper over the drain and allow it to sit for up to 15 minutes. Rinse with hot water. Repeat if necessary.
Clogged kitchen sinks can be caused by improper installation.
Proper sink installation matters.

For Repeating Clogged Garbage Disposals

If you have a garbage disposal that seems to constantly back up when you run the dishwasher – as the plumbing can often be connected and the backflow can cause dishwasher run off to come up through the disposal into your kitchen sink – you may want to clean and disinfect your disposal regularly. However, it can be intimidating to clean the garbage disposal – because you don’t want to injure yourself. Prevent it from repeatedly getting clogged with two simple household ingredients and a few minutes. No gloves or tools required.

First and foremost: DO NOT EVER INSERT YOUR HAND OR ARM INTO THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL. If you find a need to put your hand into the disposal, call a professional.

Safety first.

Some clogged kitchen sinks need professional repair.

The easiest and safest way to clean your garbage disposal is with a few cups of ice and some salt – any kind of salt will do. Pour the ice into the disposal, with the salt on top of it, and pulse the disposal 3-5 times for about 5-10 seconds each time. Then, run the garbage disposal with the hot water running until you hear all ice cubes clear the blades. You should find that your disposal runs smoother and has a cleaner smell, and hopefully a cleaner disposal helps you prevent frequently clogged kitchen sinks.

When to Call a Plumber

If you have an extensive issue, repeat problems, or a pipe that is broken, cracked, or rusted through, call a plumber. What might seem like a simple clog could actually be an item caught in the drain that must be snaked out or removed with more advanced methods. If you ever feel that your efforts to unclog a clogged kitchen sink are actually making the situation worse, then stop what you’re doing and call the professionals.

I've been an expert maintenance plumber in Atlanta, GA for over 25 years. I love to camp, especially with my family. True cigar devotee. Years ago when we took our oldest daughter to Disneyland, we stopped by an exceptional cake shop who owned this domain. She’s now moved on and has her own beautiful family. But now every time I make a new post on this blog I think of her.