Your kitchen sink is a perfect example of a household fixture you take for granted when it works as it should. However, as soon as an issue arises, such as water draining slowly, your kitchen sink’s importance is apparent, which is why people need to know how to unblock their kitchen sink.
You can unblock a kitchen sink, p trap or drain trap in many ways, but this guide considers the most common causes of a blocked sink and provides five ways to safeguard your kitchen.
Common causes of a blocked sink
Before we consider the most effective ways to unclog a sink or drain trap, it is helpful to view the most common causes of a kitchen sink not draining properly. Some drain unblocking solutions are more effective at dealing with specific problems, so consider these issues:
- Food debris or food particles, even from washing dishes
- Grease build-up
- A build-up of hair, pet or human
- Soap residue or soap scum
- Coffee grounds
Over time, these issues can lead to blocked PVC pipes, but there are easy ways to unclog a sink drain or double sink.
Ways to unclog a kitchen sink drain
The following list details what you need to unclog a clogged kitchen sink without resorting to chemical-based drain cleaners:
- Boiling water
- Baking soda and vinegar
- A plunger
- A metal or wire coat hanger
- A pipe snake
You should also have a garbage bag and a trash can or a bucket underneath to help clean up food waste. A wet cloth, rubber spatula and a glass jar will help you wipe clean or collect coffee grounds or food waste quickly. When working with clogged kitchen sinks, plastic dishwashing gloves are also a good idea. Another list of tips for keeping drains clear is to follow:
Boiling water is a great way to unclog grease
If your issue is caused by grease congealing in your pipes, boiling water will melt the fat, clearing any clog in your drain or pipes.
Pouring boiling water down a clogged sink helps
This process is simple. Fill a kettle with at least half a gallon of water, boil water, and pour it down the drain. After a minute, run the hot water tap, allowing this to enter the drain.
You can also add salt to boiling water to remove grease from your sink drain.
Baking soda and vinegar work wonders with many blockages
If you are unsure what the problem is, combining vinegar and baking soda is an effective way to remove blockages from your drain.
Baking soda and white distilled vinegar mixture works well
Start by ensuring no standing water is in your sink, then place a cup of baking soda into your drain. Follow this with a cup of white distilled vinegar, and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon.
Run hot tap water after using baking soda
This concoction of baking soda and vinegar creates a fizzing mixture, which should loosen and move any blockage or clogged drain.
An alternative to this method is using a salt baking soda treatment. Let this mixture sit for a few hours, and then you should run hot water to rinse the mixture through your pipe.
Lemon juice can also be used alongside hot water, vinegar and baking soda.
A plunger is a tried and tested method of unblocking pipes
A plunger isn’t just for clearing toilet blockages; it can also be used on blocked sinks and drains. Anyone struggling to remove stagnant water from their sink should start with a plunger.
Cover the drain fully, creating a tight seal and give yourself as much leverage as possible. Tall people will have this naturally, but shorter people might find it better to stand on a stool or sturdy item.
With the seal intact, firmly pump down on the plunger a few times, sending standing water through the water drain to the p trap or maybe even the septic tank.
A metal coat hanger can push or pull blockages out of the way
The humble hanger is highly effective when it comes to handy household items that help you unblock clogged drains. It is best to use a metal coat hanger instead of a plastic or wooden one.
The straightened coat hanger acts as a long metal rod that you can place down the drain opening by unfolding the hanger. If you hit a blockage in the p trap, move the hanger back and forth, hopefully breaking any debris into smaller bits which can flow through the pipe.
Once you have removed the hanger, turn on hot tap water through the drain pipe.
A pipe snake deals with stubborn blockages
If you have a pipe snake or drain snake handy, it might be your first choice when unblocking kitchen sinks or a p trap. If you don’t have a plumber’s snake, you should try the other methods before buying or hiring this handy tool.
Pipe snakes are flexible and make their way into your drain, smashing through blockages.
A plumber’s snake is suitable for kitchen and bathroom sinks that drain slowly
Push or wind the drain snake through the drain opening, either reaching the end of the snake or coming across a blockage.
If you feel resistance, move the plumber’s snake back and forward.
Bathroom sink or kitchen sink not draining? Help is available
Chemical drain cleaners are an option with clogged drains, but some people prefer to avoid harsh chemicals or are fearful of a chemical reaction.
Do you have a garbage disposal unit?
The standard tips for unclogging a sink or plug holes are mostly the same for using a blocked garbage disposal unit.
Additional steps to unblock a garbage disposal unit, include:
- Always ensure the garbage disposal unit is turned off before you attempt to clean or unclog it
- Never place your hand down the garbage disposal unit, even if the unit is turned off
- Always be careful with electricity and water, the two are best avoided even with your garbage disposal unit
No matter the cause of the blockage, or scale of the problem, a quick and convenient solution should be available.