How to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink: The Ultimate Guide
how to unclog your kitchen sink

Nobody likes a clogged kitchen sink. It makes dishwashing difficult, but it can also be a significant annoyance. If you’re dealing with a clogged sink, don’t despair. There are a few things you can do to unclog it.

This blog post will provide you with the ultimate guide to unclogging your kitchen sink! We will go over some of the most common causes of kitchen sink clogs and provide you with step-by-step instructions on clearing them. So, read on for all the information you need to get your kitchen sink flowing like new again!

What Causes Kitchen Sinks to Clog?

A few different things can cause a kitchen sink to clog. The most common culprit is grease. Over time, grease can build up in the drain and eventually form a clog.

Another common cause of kitchen sink clogs is food waste. If you don’t have a garbage disposal, food particles can easily get caught in the drain and cause a clog.

Finally, hair can also be a significant contributor to sink clogs. This is especially true if you have long hair. Hair can easily become tangled in the drain and cause a big clog.

How to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink With Standing Water?

There are a few different ways to unclog a sink with standing water. Some of the most common methods are listed below.

how to unclog your kitchen sink

Unclogging with a Plunger

Plungers are designed to create suction and can effectively clear clogs. You’re undoubtedly used to using a plunger to unclog your toilet, but it can also be used to unclog the waste in your kitchen sink drain.

Just make sure you use a plunger that is the right size for your sink and take the following steps with your plunger ready:

  • Fill the sink halfway with hot water to prevent the drain from clogging.
  • Place the plunger over the drain and repeatedly pump up and down.
  • Wait to check if the water drains after you remove the plunger.
  • Continue until the water runs freely.

Unclogging with Boiling water

When grease, hair, soap residue, and other material become clogged in your drain, sometimes boiling water may be all that is required to clear the obstruction. It’s the most straightforward solution, so try it first when attempting to unclog your sink. The steps are as follows:

  • Bring about half a gallon of water to a boil in a pot on the stove or kettle.
  • Boiling water should be poured immediately into the drain outlet.
  • Check to see if the water flows steadily by turning on the faucet. If the water is still standing motionless or draining slowly in the sink, repeat the method.

Try Using a Drain Snake

Clogs that fight back will necessitate the force of a drain snake to clear the blockage. A drain snake is a long, flexible piece of metal that can be used to break up clogs.

The tool has a spiral snake with a coiled-coil that stretches down the drain. You may turn the handle to break the debris and draw it out of the drain whenever the snake hits an obstruction. Electric snakes are even more powerful when it comes to clearing clogged drains.

If you don’t have a drain snake, a wire coat hanger might be used as a substitute. Unravel the hanger into a long wire strand with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Keep the hook end since it will be used to grab the debris. If required, use the pliers to easily tweak the hook’s angle to fit through the drain opening.

  • Keep feeding it down the drain a few feet, regardless of your tool. You can push the clog deeper down the pipe if you push too hard.
  • Hook it on and draw the debris up through the drain when you detect the tip of your tool touching a blockage.
  • Continue doing so until you’re sure the obstruction is gone. To see if it’s unclogged, run hot water down the drain.
how to unclog your kitchen sink

Using Baking Soda and Vinegar

  • If the drain is clogged, clear it out. The initial blockage might be caused by bathroom products, hairs, or other dirt. Remove and discard any waste clogging the drain with a pair of latex gloves. You don’t need to proceed with the chemical cleansing process if this resolves the problem.
  • Make sure there is no water left in the sink or tub. If there is still standing water in the drain, it won’t be possible to clean it chemically. Empty any remaining standing water in the sink with a bucket or cup.
  • You’ll need 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda for this process. To clear the drain, you could use chemicals from your kitchen instead of store-bought chemicals. Fill one cup with vinegar and one cup with baking soda. This method can be done with any vinegar. The vinegar’s acidity determines how effective it is.
  • Bring the chemicals to the drain that has to be unblocked. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain. Confirm that it covers the majority of the interior. Push the baking soda down the drain as far as possible with a long stick.
  • Pour half a cup of vinegar down the drain once the baking soda has coated the pipe’s interior. You should hear fizzing. This indicates that the intended chemical reaction is taking place. Cover the drain with a cloth after you hear the fizzing.
  • Pay attention to the fizzing. Remove the cloth and pour the remaining half a cup of baking soda down the drain when it stops. After that, add half a cup of vinegar. Repeat the process, covering the drain with a cloth each time.
  • Allow 30 minutes after using the last of the vinegar and baking soda. Then, bring a kettle of water to a boil. Pour the hot water down the drain slowly. This will eliminate the clog’s leftovers and any remaining chemicals in the drain.

Important note: If your drain is connected to PVC pipes, don’t use this procedure because the boiling water may melt or destroy the plastic.

Inspect the Garbage Disposal and Ensure It’s Working

If you have a garbage disposal in your sink, it could be the source of your drainage problems. Turning on the disposal will clear it if the clog is in the garbage disposal. Overheated or malfunctioning disposals may not turn on, but you may quickly reboot them by pressing the reset button on the bottom or side of the device. Try turning the disposal on again after resetting it to clear the clog.

The disposal could be stuck or faulty if you turn it on and hear a low humming noise. Remember to turn off the power to your disposal before attempting to repair it, and never put your hand in the disposal.

You can then manually turn the blades in the disposal to attempt to break up the jam. Insert an Allen wrench into the opening on the bottom of the garbage disposal and twist until you feel reduced resistance, which indicates that the blockage is breaking apart. 

Turn the disposal back on and test it once it’s been unclogged. If everything appears to be in order, turn on the tap to see if the sink drainage has returned to normal. If your garbage disposal check reveals no obstructions or problems, you can move on to a different unclogging approach.

Clean the P-trap

There could be a clog in the P-trap, often known as the elbow-shaped pipe underneath the sink if the water is not flowing properly. Food, grease, and other waste may become lodged in the pipe, causing the sink to flow slowly or not at all due to a snag in the water’s path down.

The solution is to disassemble the pipe and clean away the debris clogging it up. Warning: This work can get quite messy, so make sure you have gloves, goggles, and towels on hand. When you’re ready, clean the P-trap by following these steps:

  • Underneath the pipe, place a bucket. When you open the P-trap, this will capture any backed-up waste or water that may come out.
  • Remove the connectors that hold the curved portion to the horizontal and vertical drain pipes from the trap. On each end of the P-trap, there will be a slip nut.
  • Detach the P-trap and clean all pipe debris, grime, and residue.
  • Reattach the trap.
  • Run water down the drain by turning on the faucet.

If the drainage is still a problem, the clog could be further up the pipe. You should return to the sink to locate the cause of the clog. Here’s what you should do when you find it:

  • Remove the P-trap by repeating the instructions.
  • The horizontal pipe that links the system to the wall should be removed.
  • Insert a plumber’s snake, auger, or coat hanger in the wall pipe. When you sense a blockage in the pipe, use the tool to remove the blockage.
  • Continue the procedure until all debris has been removed.
  • Reconnect the pipes and P-trap, hand-tightening the connectors. (Avoid over tightening the connectors because this can cause them to crack.)
  • Flush the drain with hot water.

While the water is running, look under the sink to ensure the pipes aren’t leaking. If you discover any leaks, double-check that all connectors are securely fastened. Once the drips have stopped, dry any water spilled on the floor or under the sink, and you’re ready to go.

how to unclog your kitchen sink

Tips for Preventing Clogs

The best way to unclog your kitchen sink is to prevent the clog from happening in the first place. Here are some tips for preventing a clog:

  • Don’t pour grease down the drain. Grease will solidify in your pipes and eventually lead to a clog. Instead, pour it into a can or jar and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Don’t put coffee grounds, eggshells, or other food scraps down the drain. These will also lead to a clog. Instead, compost them or throw them in the trash.
  • Run hot water down the drain after each use. This will help keep your pipes clear and prevent clogs from forming.
  • Install a mesh strainer over your drain to catch food scraps and other debris. This will help keep your pipes clear and prevent clogs from forming.

What Is the Best Way to Unclog a Kitchen Sink Drain?

There are a lot of ways to unclog a kitchen sink. However, the best way is the vinegar and baking soda method, which requires you to:

  • Pour one cup of baking soda, followed by one cup of white vinegar, down the drain. 
  • Cover the drain opening with a rubber stopper or another sink hole cover.
  • Allow 15 minutes for the baking soda and vinegar to unclog your drain before removing the drain cover and clearing the clog with hot tap water.

How Do You Naturally Unclog a Sink?

There are a few ways to unclog a sink naturally. Some of these methods include using:

Hot Water and Dish Soap

The dish soap aids the procedure by dissolving the fat molecules in the water while the hot water melts the built-up grease in the pipe. This method allows you to remove a significant amount of fat from the drainage system, narrowing the pipe’s diameter and obstructing water flow.

This natural cleaner is particularly efficient against clogs that are primarily made up of grease or greasy things. Therefore, use it on your clogged kitchen sinks for the most outstanding results.

  • In a pot of boiling water, add three spoonfuls of liquid dishwashing soap and stir well.
  • Slowly pour it down the clogged drain and flush it out with hot tap water.
  • If the clog persists, repeat the procedure, pouring the dish soap into the drain first and allowing it to sit for 20-30 minutes. Then rinse the drain with water that is nearly boiling.

Salt and Vinegar

The salt and vinegar mixture loosens the built-up dirt and breaks it into smaller pieces, whereas the hot water removes the clog’s leftovers.

Because both components have antibacterial characteristics, you can achieve two things with one process: this combination will clear the blockage and eliminate unwanted odors. The acidic vinegar complements the salt perfectly. Most forms of blockages in the drainage system will be removed by their synergistic impact.

  • In a bowl, combine the salt and vinegar.
  • Pour the solution down the drain and wait for 25-30 minutes.
  • Pour nearly boiling water down the drain. If required, repeat the procedure.

Baking Soda and Salt

Baking soda and salt loosen and soften the blockage, which can be removed by rinsing the drain with hot water. This approach is efficient, not just against obstructions but also against foul drain odors. Baking soda and salt are two natural compounds that can work wonderfully in various situations.

  • In a bowl, combine the salt and baking soda.
  • Allow at least two hours for the mixture to rest in the clogged drain (after removing any standing water). If you detect a significant clog, double the amount and leave it in the pipe for longer before cleaning it.
  • Using hot water, flush the sink.

Ready to Use Enzyme Drain Cleaner

Instead of hazardous chemicals, enzyme drain cleaners use enzyme-producing bacteria, other types of enzymes, and occasionally plant extracts. The enzymes that break down organic material like food particles and mold into smaller bits in the pipe do most of the work.

Enzyme drain cleaners have several benefits over most home cures. They are usually in a gel form, heavier than water, and can rapidly flow through standing water.

Green Gobbler, ECOS Earth Enzymes Drain Cleaner, and Biokleen are some of the most prevalent enzyme drain cleaner brands.

Salt, Baking Soda, and Cream of Tartar

Tartaric acid is a by-product of winemaking and a common baking ingredient with some strong cleaning abilities. When combined with baking soda and salt, it can loosen and eliminate build-ups and foul odors in drain pipes.

  • In a plastic container, thoroughly combine the cream of tartar, salt, and baking soda. Shake vigorously.
  • Pour the contents of the container down the drain.
  • Allow 15 minutes after flushing with nearly boiling water.

How to Unclog a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

If your kitchen has a garbage disposal, you presumably dispose of many items every day. Small amounts of food scraps typically make it through without issue. However, if you send a more significant part through, you’ll undoubtedly have a problem.

When clogs happen, the instinct is to go to a big box store and buy a chemical cleaning solution to clear the obstruction. On the other hand, chemical drain cleaners can corrode and harm your pipes. Furthermore, the chemicals can cause irreversible damage to the unit’s metal blades and plastic components.

Here are more details on how to unclog a garbage disposal safely.

  • Begin by turning off the garbage disposal. Never touch a drain that has power to the garbage disposal.
  • Make a natural cleaner with 14 cups of baking soda and 12 cups of vinegar. Allow it to bubble for a few minutes down the drain before rinsing it out with very hot water from the tap.
  • Allow just a few minutes of running water to dislodge the problem.
  • Repeat the process as many times as needed.
  • If the obstruction persists after several attempts at this process, use a flashlight to peep into the drain. A foreign object, such as a bone or utensil, might be blocking the drain. Tongs or needle-nose pliers can also be used to access the item.
  • Reconnect the garbage disposal, turn it on, and run water through it.
  • If the clog persists, try using a plunger to break it up.
  • Position the plunger firmly over the sink drain, covering the drain entirely. Fill the sink with water until the plunger’s tip is submerged. After that, plunge the drain for a while.
  • Test for water flow by lifting the plunger. If the clog persists, repeat the technique a few more times to determine if the clog can be removed. If the clog disappears, run hot water for a few minutes to remove any remaining residue.

How to Unclog a Drain With Salt

You can also use salt to unclog a drain due to its abrasive and antibacterial characteristics. To use salt to unclog a drain:

  • Mix a 50/50 solution of salt and water
  • Heat to almost boiling, then pour the combination down the kitchen drain. 
  • Continue this process several times, then flush the drain with cold water. 

Salt can be used as a non-toxic and natural drain unblocker and for many other purposes in the kitchen.


Now that you know how to unclog your kitchen sink, you can keep your kitchen running smoothly. If you have any questions or need help troubleshooting, contact a professional. With a bit of preventative maintenance and quick action when problems arise, you can keep your kitchen sink flowing freely for years to come.

Related Posts

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get notified about new articles