How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink

Clogged Kitchen Sink

Have you ever heard the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink” and wondered why the kitchen sink gets to stay? Well, if you ever find yourself dealing with a clogged kitchen drain, you’ll quickly realize how essential it is.

Without a working kitchen sink, everything in your home becomes more difficult. Washing dishes changes from a minor annoyance to a gigantic hassle, which makes cooking a frustrating prospect. Even something as simple as filling up your water filter or personal water bottle can turn into an ordeal.

In this article, we’ll show you how to unstop a kitchen sink and help you better understand what causes these obstructions in the first place.

Techniques for Unclogging Your Kitchen Sink

Sometimes, even if you avoid the items that are likely to get stuck, a clog still forms. If you’re past the point of prevention, then you need solutions now.

Here are a few ways that you can clear a clog in your sink:

  • Soap and plunger: This is probably the most common method of clearing a kitchen sink clog. To remove an obstruction with this method, run your hot water for a while to help soften the clog. Then put a drop of dish soap into the drain opening and turn the water back on. Once the sink is partially full, grab your plunger and use it to push up and down on the drain opening. If successful, it will pull (or push) the clog clear and leave your drain free from debris.
  • Reset garbage disposal: In some cases, a clog isn’t the real culprit; it’s your garbage disposal. If the disposal has been making strange sounds or not working, it may need to be reset. Locate the switch on the side of your garbage disposal and switch it into the reset position. This will turn it back to factory default settings after a brief rest period.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: If the other methods don’t work, then you can use a fun science fair throwback to clear your drain. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of distilled white vinegar. After pouring the vinegar, quickly cover the drain with a plug, stopper, or even a plate. Leave the drain covered for 30 minutes to allow the reaction to do its work. Finally, run hot water down the drain to see if the clog did clear.
  • Drain snaking: If all else fails, snaking the drain may be your best bet. To do this, you’ll need a snake that can fit in a kitchen sink drain. Once you have that, push the snake into the drain and twist it a few times once you hit the obstruction. This burrows the hook into the clog. Finally, pull the clog out of the sink along with the snake. You may need to repeat this a few times to remove the whole blockage. Additionally, you should always make sure it’s safe to snake your kitchen sink drain and that you are not damaging your garbage disposal.

These DIY solutions should work most of the time. If you’ve tried all these methods and still have a clog in your kitchen sink, it’s time to call a professional plumber.

Common Causes of Kitchen Sink Clogs

People often think that their garbage disposal can save them from drainage problems in the kitchen. And while garbage disposals do help prevent clogs, they can’t prevent all of them.

Here are a few of the common causes of kitchen sink clogs:

  • Coffee beans and grounds: For many people who use standard coffee makers, it’s easy enough to throw your grounds directly into the trash, but those who use French presses may find themselves pouring coffee grounds into the sink drain. Especially if a French press is your preferred method of making coffee, make sure to dump the grounds in the trash can and not the sink. The fine grains of coffee can get stuck inside your pipe and turn into a clog over time.
  • Starchy foods: Starchy foods like beans, pasta, potatoes, and rice are a big problem. If these foods get stuck in your drain, the constant exposure to water will eventually cause them to break into a gooey, sticky mess that’s more than capable of clogging your kitchen sink.
  • Kitchen grease: If you have ever rented an apartment, you were probably told to avoid pouring grease and oil down the drain. That’s because the grease will reconstitute into solid fat and clog your drain. And because fat is hydrophobic, no amount of running hot water will help you clear this clog.
  • Eggshells: Your garbage disposal may be capable of pulverizing eggshells into tiny bits, but your kitchen drain won’t appreciate it very much. Small bits of eggshell can stick around in your pipes and form clogs over time.
  • Soap scum: While less of a concern for the kitchen sink, soap scum can build up and form clogs in your pipes, especially if you use a lot of soap. This is more likely to happen with bar soaps since they tend to be made of fats or have a fatty component. Detergents such as pump hand soap and dishwashing liquid generally don’t cause this issue.

How to Prevent Kitchen Sink Clogs

There are two great ways to prevent kitchen sink clogs. The first is to take a look at the list of items your garbage disposal can’t handle, then ensure that those never go down the drain. The second is to purchase a food catcher. As the name implies, these wire mesh covers allow water and dirt to flow freely down your drain but keep larger food scraps out of it. When the catcher is full, you can pick it up and empty it into your trash can.

Call Mr. Rooter Plumbing for Professional Clog Removal

While most kitchen sink clogs can be cleared with relative ease, that’s not always the case. If you have a particularly stubborn clog obstructing your drain, it’s time to bring in a professional.

Do you have a kitchen sink clog that you can’t clear and are in need of kitchen drain service? Give us a call or schedule an appointment online to have us come and make your kitchen sink usable again.

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