How to Clean Kitchen Sink Drain: Three Methods and Tips
how to clean kitchen sink drain

Most people get the impression that their kitchen sink is well kept because we spend so much time cleaning the surface area. However, just because you always rinse it off after doing dishes does not mean your sink is properly clean! Your kitchen sink could start smelling due to food residue buildup, grease, and grime hiding in the drain! 

A smelly kitchen is a nightmare, and an unhealthy one, too. You will need to clean your sink drain at least once a week thoroughly. Keep reading for practical methods on how to clean kitchen sink drain and other valuable tips. 

Clear Your Sink

The first step of cleaning a kitchen sink drain using any method is clearing it. Remove all food items, utensils, and dish racks from the sink and give it a quick rinse to eliminate any extra food residue. Assuming you have all your cleaning products and equipment ready, put on your gloves for the actual party.

Unclog the Sink

The next step is to unclog the sink of any apparent blockage before actual cleaning. You may also want to examine your sink to determine whether you are dealing with a simple blockage or a faulty drain. If your drain is defective, you may need to replace it since cleaning will not fix it.

Actual Cleaning

Once you have determined that the issue with the drain is a blockage, proceed to clean it out. There are three methods of cleaning and keeping your drain fresh: flushing with hot water, using baking soda and white vinegar, and hiring professional drain cleaners.

Flushing with Hot Water

Flushing with Hot Water

The first and most straightforward method of cleaning the kitchen sink drain is simply flushing it with hot water. You can use hot tap water or water you’ve boiled.

Step 1: Boil Your Water

Get a generous amount of clean water and pour it into an electric kettle. If you don’t have a kitchen kettle, don’t fret. A boiling pot is a fine alternative. Your water should be boiled at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pay attention to your pipes before pouring hot water down the drain. If the drain is made of PVC pipes, it is advisable to decrease the heat to 140 degrees Fahrenheit because that is the hottest temperature plastic pipes can take.

Step 2: Pour the Boiled Water down the Drain

Once your gallon of water is ready, transfer it to a portable container, then pour it down your drain. Be careful and precise while running the hot water to avoid spilling some on yourself. The hot water will flush out grease and food debris. You can use hot soapy water to help ease the process.

Step 3: Cold Water

Wait for at least five minutes after pouring hot water down the drain, then follow it with cold water. A jug full should be enough. This step is essential for flushing out the remainder of the debris and grease down the drain.

Step 4: Repeat Step 2

The last step is to repeat step 2, pouring hot water down the drain. Assuming you have already boiled your water to the right temperature, pour it down the drain slowly and precisely for a final flush. This last step should remove any remaining grease and food debris.

You can flush your drain weekly with hot water to keep it clear and clean.

Freshen with a mixture of Baking Soda and White Vinegar

Step 1: Baking Soda

Pour a cupful of baking soda down the drain to loosen build-up and food debris. Let the baking soda sit in the drain while you prepare for the next step.

Baking soda helps loosen debris and eliminate odors and is a great way to clean a smelly drain.

Step 2: Boil White Vinegar

Pour four cups of vinegar into a boiling pot and bring to a boil. Again, be careful while handling the hot liquid to avoid burning your hands or any other kitchen accidents. Be sure to use tongs or kitchen gloves to protect your hands.

White distilled vinegar is a great way to re-freshen the kitchen drain and can be combined with baking soda for the best results.

Step 3: Pour the Hot Vinegar down the Drain

Once the white distilled vinegar is boiled, transfer it to a portable container. Allow it to combine with baking soda by pouring it down the drain. Be careful while running it to avoid spilling it on yourself. It is entirely normal for the mixture to foam, fizzle or rise while combining in your sink.

The vinegar and baking soda mixture effectively fight odor and remove debris from your drain.

Step 4: Let The Mixture Work

Allow the mixture to sit on the drain for an hour so that the products can break down the debris, soak stains, and unclog and absorb the unpleasant smells. Set your timer, then prepare for the next step.

Step 5: Hot Water

Boil about three or four cups of water to the right temperature for flushing your specific drain. Once the mixture has sat for an hour and your hot water is ready, pour the boiling water down the drain. This step removes any other soap scum and debris and rinses loose debris from the drain.

You can incorporate this method into your weekly cleaning routine for a deep clean.

Professional Drain Cleaner

Plumber using drain snake to unclog kitchen sink

The last method how to clean kitchen sink drain is using a professional drain cleaner. You can either use an appliance or hire a professional cleaning service to help out.

Cleaning Appliance

If you decide to buy a cleaning appliance, make sure you use a bio-friendly drain cleaner that doesn’t use toxic chemicals. Instead, the bio-friendly cleaner has natural enzymes that significantly remove grease and scum. They are also safer for your kitchen pipes and are widely available on the market.

However, drain cleaners may not remove mineral stains on the drain. They also take at least 24 hours to clean the drain.

Professional cleaning service

Suppose you prefer to clean your drain traditionally but need more expertise and commitment to clean the kitchen sink thoroughly. In that case, you can always use a professional cleaner to do the heavy lifting. Hiring a professional will give you time to work on chores or errands outside the house.

If you are worried that you or the cleaner can damage the drain or kitchen pipes during the thorough cleaning, you can hire a plumber to be safe. The plumber is your best choice for effective and safe cleaning. The plumber can also find and correct other issues while cleaning to keep your kitchen more efficient.

Furthermore, a professional plumber is the best option for a clogged drain or an overdue cleaning. You can always find a plumber online or locally.


The last step is maintaining a clean kitchen drain and fresh kitchen. You can clean using your preferred method once a week to keep your drain clean and clear. You could also combine or swap between the three methods depending on your preference and your kitchen sink drain needs.


Dispose of any food remnants and particles before washing your dishes, pots, and other kitchen utensils to avoid sweeping debris into the drain in the first place. Ensure you have a waste basket in the kitchen all the time.

Don’t use overly hot water if your kitchen pipes are made of plastic to avoid damaging them. If you are unsure about the material used, contact your plumber for help.

For a clean and fresh-smelling kitchen, clean your kitchen drain at least once a week. Also, you can always flush the drain with hot water after every sink use.

Avoid using strong chemicals to clean the drain because they can discolor the surface around the drain and the sink and damage pipes. Always opt for bio-friendly cleaners instead of chemical drain cleaners.

Combine more than one cleaning method for better results. For instance, you can soak the drain with a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar and then flush with hot water afterward for deep cleaning.


Now that you have helpful tips and different methods on how to clean kitchen sink drain, pick your favorite and run with it. Kitchens are meant to smell fresh and stay clean all the time.

You can click here for more helpful kitchen hacks and tips!

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