A kitchen sink that does not drain properly can make working in the kitchen an unpleasant experience.
It can result in gurgling noises from the sink, odd smells in the area, and of course, slow water drainage. While many people do not take such problems seriously, if the issue is not resolved quickly, it will become more challenging to deal with later. These plumbing problems can also cause new issues, such as drain flies and mould.
Fortunately, there are several ways by which you can unblock a kitchen sink, and this guide mentions some of the best ones.
Causes Of A Blocked Sink
Understanding the causes of a blocked sink will make it easier to know how to deal with the problem.
1. Food Scraps
Food scraps that go down through the pipes and water are among the most common causes of a blocked kitchen sink. This generally happens when food waste is regularly dumped down the kitchen sink instead of in the garbage bin.
2. Grease Waste
Grease can be a significant problem when it enters the kitchen drain and is another one of the leading causes of such blockage. When fat enters the pipes and solidifies, it can lead to the blocking of the pipes.
3. Blocked Garbage Disposal
Sometimes there may be a problem with your garbage disposal, which can also lead to your kitchen sink getting blocked.
Best Methods To Unblock Your Kitchen Sink
1. Using Boiling Water
One of the most effective ways to unclog a kitchen sink clogged by grease is to pour boiling water into the drain. Pour boiling water into the sink slowly using a kettle and wait a few minutes. Then run hot water from the sink to remove the grease and clear the clog. This method is also helpful if materials like coffee grounds block the sink.
2. With Vinegar And Baking Soda
Sometimes you may not be sure what leads to a clogged kitchen sink. In such cases, it is best to avoid chemical drain cleaners that can damage the plumbing. An alternative would be a mixture of baking soda and vinegar that can help get rid of the clog quickly. To use it, first, get rid of any standing water before pouring one cup of baking soda into the drain.
Next, pour a similar amount of white vinegar and block the drain with the rubber stopper. When vinegar reacts with baking soda, it forms a natural drain cleaner that will push the clog along the pipe and clear the way. You can then pour hot water into the drain to complete the process.
3. Clearing The Garbage Disposal
When the garbage disposal is responsible for the clogging, you may need to turn it on to solve the problem. However, if your kitchen uses PVC pipes, the garbage disposal might sometimes malfunction and not turn on. If that is the case, reset the unit using the bottom or side button.
4. Using Salt And Baking Soda
Another effective method to clear a clog in your kitchen sink is using a baking soda mixture combined with salt. Before trying out this method, clear away standing water from the sink. Then, mix one cup of table salt with one cup of baking soda and pour the mixture into the drain.
Leave the mixture in the drain for a few hours to allow it to dissolve the materials making up the clog. Then use hot water to wash away the remaining materials in the pipes.
5. With Boiling Water And Salt
When boiling water is not enough to clear away the clog, you can try using some salt along with the water. First, pour a cup of salt into the drain and then follow it with boiling water. Then, turn on the hot water faucet and let it run for a few minutes.
6. Using A Plunger
While plungers are generally associated with toilet clogs, a sink plunger can also effectively unclog kitchen sinks. Place the plunger over the drain of the sink while making sure that it covers the drain completely. You can stand on a chair or step stool for better leverage before starting to plunge.
7. Cleaning With A Pipe Snake
You can use a drain pipe snake to clean the most stubborn clogs. It is a flexible and thin plumbing tool you can insert into the drain to clean such clogs. Pipe snakes may be made of metal or plastic and can easily be purchased from the nearby hardware store.
Insert the plumber’s snake into the drain until it meets with some resistance. When that happens, move the pipe snake until the clog breaks. Pull it out and pour some hot water down the sink.
8. Using A Wet-Dry Vacuum
A wet-dry vacuum can unblock clogged drains like those in your kitchen sink. To do so, adjust the settings on the vacuum to make it ready for wet use. If you don’t know how to do so, check the manufacturer’s instructions in the manual.
Once it is ready, place the end of the vacuum hose near the drain entrance, ensuring a tight seal around the drain and the hose. In the case of a double sink, you will need to find out on which side of the sink the clog is located. Then seal the other side using a rubber stopper.
Finally, turn the vacuum to its maximum setting to remove the clog.
9. Cleaning The P-Trap
Sometimes a blockage can occur in the P-trap, the pipe at the bottom of the sink. Grease, food and other items can get trapped in the pipe, causing the sink to start draining slowly. To deal with this problem, you must disassemble and clean the pipe properly.
However, preparations are required before you can do that, including putting on rubber gloves. Make sure to wear goggles and gloves and keep a towel nearby. Also, before starting, place a bucket underneath the sink to ensure that all the debris and water are collected.
Then, the connectors on the P-trap will need to be unscrewed using the slip nut provided on both ends of the trap. After removing the trap, clean it properly and remove all the grime and debris. After cleaning the pipe, reconnect it, and turn the faucet on to check the drainage.
10. Using A Wire Coat Hanger
If a plumber’s snake is not available at hand, you can use a wire coat hanger that has been straightened out to clear the clog. Simply push the hanger through the drain opening until it reaches the clog. You will know when the wire meets with some resistance.
Move the wire around and use pressure to break up the clog and allow the passage of water.
Preventing Future Clogs
Items like food scraps, grease, oils, egg shells, tissues, fruit peels, paper, coffee grounds, etc., should never be thrown down the sink drain. Disposing them properly in the garbage bin is the most effective way of preventing blocked sinks in your kitchen. Alternatively, waste like coffee grounds can be added to the compost pile.
Additionally, avoid overloading the garbage disposal unit, and do not throw items like those mentioned above in the unit. Ideally, a maximum of one cup of food waste should be disposed of in the garbage disposal at a time.
An easy way to keep your garbage disposal in good working condition is to create a solution of water and vinegar and freeze it into ice cubes. To prevent waste build-up and keep the disposal unit fresh, grind down these cubes at least once a month and follow up with a flush of warm water.
Also, you can turn on the hot water and let it run for a few minutes each time you finish using the kitchen sink.
Effective Ways To Unblock A Clogged Kitchen Sink
The methods mentioned here in this guide can help you unblock a kitchen sink quickly and easily. However, it is always better to take preventive steps so that the problem does not occur in the first place. One way to do that is to use a sink unblocker regularly when cleaning the kitchen.
Also, you may be tempted to use regular drain cleaning products to remove clogs in the kitchen sink. But keep in mind that these can be pretty harsh, so make sure to wear protective clothing when using them. A better option would be to use green drain cleaners that will not damage the plumbing and are safe for the environment.
If you have standing water in your kitchen sink and baking soda and vinegar just won’t work - speak to our Sydney blocked drain experts at Service First Plumbing. With our tools and knowledge, we can unblock your clogged sink or clogged drain in no time!