How To Unclog A Kitchen Sink Drain

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How To Unclog A Kitchen Sink Drain

Yes, we don’t have to list the variety of reasons why a clogged sink drain is an annoying problem to have. But just because you have this problem doesn’t necessarily mean you have to call a plumber right away. You can try out several DIY options first.

Is Your Garbage Disposal Causing the Problem?

The problem may not be with your kitchen sink drain at all, but with your garbage disposal unit. If the garbage disposal is clogged up, that can cause the drain to clog too.

To test if this is the case, run the garbage disposal. This may clear up the clog. Inspect the disposal to see that it’s running properly.

The disposal unit may also have overheated instead. You may have to flip the switch on bottom or side of the garbage disposal unit.

Now if the garbage disposal unit isn’t the problem and the kitchen sink drain really is clogged on its own, here are some other suggestions:

Use Boiling Water

This is generally the first thing you need to try. That’s because it doesn’t cost you anything at all, and everyone knows how to boil water. When you see that the kitchen sink drain is clogged, here are the steps you need to take with this approach:

  1. Put a pot or kettle of water on your water heater and bring the water to a rolling boil.
  2. As you wait, get rid of as much of the standing water in the sink as you can. Use a small pot or a mug to bail out the water.
  3. Once the pot of water has come to a boil, pour the entire pot of water into the drain. Wait for a while. If it doesn’t work on the first try, wait for the water to cool so you can again bail it out.
  4. Boil another pot of water and try again. This method often works, but you may need several attempts to get it done.

Use Boiling Water and Salt

Again, you first have to remove the standing water. If you don’t, how else are you going to pour water down the drain? But this time, you first need to pour about half a cup of table water down the drain.

Pour the boiling water next, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then clear the mixture by flushing it with hot water. Again, you may want to give this method a few tries first before switching to another option. It may work, but only after several attempts.

Combine Baking Soda and Vinegar

Just in case you forgot, remove the standing water first. Now baking soda (a cup or so will do) down the drain, and then you follow this up with a similar amount of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.

This will result in bubbles in the solution. That will subside, though, and when the bubbles are gone put the stopper in. Now wait for about 15 minutes. Run hot water down the drain to see if it’s still clogged. If it is, you may have to do the entire procedure again.

Mixing Salt and Baking Soda

Quite a few folks have discovered that this can actually work. The best solution is to mix half a cup of salt with a full cup of baking soda. Pour the mixture down the drain, but now you will have to wait a few hours for this to clear the drain.

After about 4 hours, flush the mixture with boiling water and see if it is still clogged. Again, a second and third attempt may be needed if it doesn’t work the first time.

Use a Plunger

If these various combos aren’t working (or if you just can’t get rid of the standing water), use a plunger. For double sinks, it’s best if you use a stopper or a wet cloth to first seal off the other side.

For this to work, you will need to maintain a tight seal around the plunger. That’s why it’s a great option if you still have standing water that can cover the bell of the plunger. If there’s not enough water, then just add some more.

Put the plunger securely over the drain and then plunge and pump hard. Do this until the clog clears (if it works). If the clog does clear, take off the plunger and then flush hot or boiling water down the drain.

Unfasten the P-trap

The P-trap is a curved piece of pipe under your sink. If it’s causing the clog, you need to unclog it. Before you unfasten it, put a bucket or a pan underneath the catch any debris or water that may fall out. Unfasten the P-trap, and get rid of anything that’s stuck inside it. Put it back and then run water through it.

Of course, if there was nothing in the P-trap, it’s not the cause and you need another option…

Auger or Plumbers Snake

You buy this at your hardware store. It’s a long flexible metal cable with an uncoiled spring at one end and a handle for your hand on the other end. It’s about 50 feet long, and you put in through the sink to manually clear off the blockage. You may want to remove the P-trap first and use the auger into the opening.

Use a Coat Hanger

If you don’t want to use up time buying an auger, you may want to first try a coat hanger to a similar job. It may be long enough to reach some clogs, though it’s obviously not as long as an auger.

Avoiding the Problem

To avoid this problem in the first place, here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t get rid of oils, coffee grounds, and bacon grease down the drain.
  2. After each use, run plenty of water down the drain.
  3. Don’t overload the garbage disposal unit. Feed in a little at a time and wait until these items have been run through completely before you add more.

Remember, prevention is better than a cure. If you don’t clog your drain through negligence, you’re definitely better off!

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