• Last updatedLast updated: Aug 19, 2021

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink – 101 Recipes That Will Help (2022)

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Wouldn’t it be good if you never had to worry about clogged sinks?

Unfortunately, a clogged drain is one of those things that you need to deal with now and then. But it is possible to prevent or at least reduce the frequency you have to deal with clogs.

Your kitchen’s sink is one of the busiest parts of the house as there is always something to do there. Whether it is cleaning some dishes or washing some vegetables or fruits, there will still be something to clean. And so a clogged sink can be very annoying.

So what can you do about it?

Before you decide to call in a professional plumber, you should know that there are many things you can try. But wait, why do kitchen sinks clog in the first place?

Why do kitchen sinks clog

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink - 101 Recipes That Will Help (2022)The frequent use of the kitchen means that some food and waste particles will find their way through the sink. While the water will drain most of them away, some of the debris will cling on to the walls of the pipe and start piling up.

In the long run, the pile-up will thicken up and make it impossible for the water to pass through and hence causing a clog. Is it that straightforward? No, there is much more to kitchen sink clogging than the piling up of food and waste particles.

So what else can cause your drain to clog?

Coffee grounds and grease are the two leading causes of clogged sinks in most homes. How do you dispose of your coffee grounds? Do you empty them into the garbage bin or wash them in the kitchen sink?

Since you also need to clean your coffee maker parts, the chances are that the coffee grounds will end up in the drain. Pouring grease into the sinks also leads to clogging in the long run because it does not drain smoothly. Instead, it clings on to the pipes as it cools down and results into clogging.

Luckily, there are many ways of dealing with a clog regardless of the cause.

How to unclog a kitchen sink

So the water will not drain from your sink, but you cannot just leave it there as it will create an unsightly scene and start developing bad odors. What do you do about this?

Let’s jump straight into the possible solutions. But first a list of some of the things you will need.

Things you need:

  • Plunger
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Rubber gloves
  • Commercial sink drain opener
  • Drain snake

Method #1: Using a plunger

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink - 101 Recipes That Will Help (2022)

The plunger should always be your first option when dealing with a clog on any drainage system. In most instances, the clogs are simple to deal with and so with a plunger and a few minutes to spare you can unclog your kitchen sink. And it is as straightforward as the following three steps.

  • Step 1. Fill sink partially with warm water

A plunger will always be more useful when you have some water in your sink. And so the first step should be to fill at least 1/4 of the tub with some warm water.

  • Step 2. Position plunger over drain

Positioning the plunger is an obvious step but still an important one. But, if you use a double sink with two drainage holes you will need to cover the one that does not have any clogging issues with a washcloth to ensure that you focus the plunger’s pressure on the clogged drain.

  • Step 3. Work plunger up and down

The last step is working the plunger up and down for a couple of minutes. You should then take it off the drain to see if the water in the sink will drain. If there is still a clog, you can try plunging a few more times or move to one of the other methods below.

Method #2: Vinegar and baking soda

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink - 101 Recipes That Will Help (2022)

Did you know that baking soda and vinegar can also be useful for unclogging your sink?

Yes, the two are not just ideal for cooking and cleaning as they can also offer you a solution to your clogged sink drain. But, how can you use them?

  • Step 1. Empty standing water from the sink

Unlike with the plunger, you will not need to have any water in the sink when using the vinegar and baking soda method.

In fact, the kitchen sink should be as dry as possible, and so the first step should always be to empty any water that is standing in the tub. And to do this, you can use a cup or bowl to scoop it into a bucket.

  • Step 2: Pour the baking soda

You will need about one cup of baking soda and a spatula for this step. Start by pouring it around the drain hole. Next, use your spatula to force it into the openings. Make sure that you get as much of it into the drain openings as possible.

  • Step 3. Pour the vinegar

How do I pour vinegar into an already clogged sink?

Perhaps this is the question on your mind when you get to this step. But, it’s just straightforward because in most cases the clog will always be at least several inches deep into the sink drain system. And so you can still pour in the vinegar with ease. But, it is still important to put the stopper in your sink after pouring the vinegar to ensure that it is forced towards the clogged section.

Allow 5 minutes for the solution to work. The vinegar and baking soda solution will need some time to work. And so you should leave the stopper in the sink for at least 5 minutes before moving to the last step.

  • Step 4. Run warm water

After the 5-minute wait time, you should run some warm water into your sink to check whether the clog has opened up. If the warm water is not effective, you should pour a few cups of boiling water. Doing this should take care of the clog but if that is not the case repeat the entire process one more time.

Method #3: Drain snakes

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink - 101 Recipes That Will Help (2022)

If the plunger and vinegar/baking soda methods fail, the other alternative should be to snake through the drain. And to do this, you will need a drain snake and to follow the following simple steps.

  • Step 1. Detach the P-trap

Before you can use the drain snake or auger cable, the first step should always be to detach the P-trap.

You will need first to open the cabinet beneath your sink and locate the curved pipe that dips just below the horizontal and vertical tubes. This section is the P-trap, and in most cases, you can unscrew it easily by hand.

  • Step 2. Remove horizontal pipe

Once you detach the P-trap, you will also need to remove the horizontal pipe that connects it to the stub pipe in the wall.

Removing it should also be easy because for most sinks you only need to unscrew it by hand.

  • Step 3. Insert the drain snake

With the stub pipe opening exposed, you can now push in the auger cable until you meet some resistance. This resistance will indicate that you have located the clogged section of the pipe. You should then use the auger cable to pull out the source of the clog to open up the drain.

  • Step 4. Reattach the pipes

After clearing out the clog, you should re-insert the cable to ascertain that it does not meet any resistance. If this is so, you can now reattach the pipes and then run hot after through the sink. If the water still drains slowly, you can use a plunger to push out any remaining debris.

Note: If you do not own a drain snake and do not want to rent one you can also use a metal wire hanger to snake down the drain to unclog it.


Method #4: Commercial sink drain opener

A commercial drain opener can also be a useful way of unclogging your sink. You can use it if all the other methods fail or when you do not have a lot of time and want a quick and efficient solution.

You only need to pour it through the sink opening and give it a few minutes to work before running some hot water.

But, with the many commercial drain openers out there you should always go for something that is tested and proven to work such as the Pure Lye Drain Opener by Comstar.

The non-acid and odorless formulation of this product will clear everything including grease traps, and it is also safe for use on plastic pipes and chrome trims.

Prevention and protection

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink - 101 Recipes That Will Help (2022)

Well, unclogging a sink is simple but do you always have the time to do it?

Probably not. The busy life schedules do not leave a lot of time to spare. And since you still need to use your sink every day the best move is to prevent and protect it from clogs. Clog prevention and protection is also quite easy and you only need to change a few kitchen habits.

Start by ensuring that you never pour any coffee grounds on the sink and instead start a habit of throwing them into the trash can. Also, make sure that you do not drain any grease into the kitchen sink and in case you do, always follow up with some boiling water to ensure that it does not cool down in the pipes.

Well, how often do you run hot water through your kitchen sink?

Running baking soda and vinegar through the sink is also a useful regular maintenance routine that will keep it flowing smoothly. For more effective prevention and protection, you should invest in a drain protector such as TubShroom as it catches materials that can clog the sink to prevent clogging and to make cleaning easy.


There you have it, a variety of simple ways to unclog your sink. Now that you know how to unclog a kitchen sink and what to use, you will never need to call in a licensed plumber and spend a lot of cash for something as simple as unclogging the sink.

But, also remember that protection and prevention are as important as knowing how to unclog your kitchen sink as they will save you a lot of time. So go ahead and deal with that jammed up drain.

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