Clogged Kitchen Sink Home Remedy (6 Easy Methods)

5 home remedies for a clogged kitchen sink.

Have you noticed your kitchen sink giving off a foul odor or the water draining slowly? If so, you may have a clogged kitchen sink. Then, you may wonder, what would be the most effective home remedy for a clogged kitchen sink? Truth is, there are many. In this article, we listed 6 home remedies to unclog a kitchen sink that you can do it by yourself and with tools you already have at home. 

Read on to find out:

  • Common reasons for a clogged kitchen sink
  • 6 clogged kitchen sink home remedies (with video guides)
  • How to prevent your kitchen sink from clogging

Common reasons for a clogged kitchen sink

Food residue: Food scraps are the most common reason for a clogged kitchen sink. Whenever you wash food down your kitchen sink, they may cause a blockage in the pipes and either stop water flow either completely or partially. 

You’ll want to avoid washing down fruit skins, chicken bones, or flour into your kitchen sink. You should also never dispose of fibrous foods (fruits and vegetables) and starchy foods (pasta, potatoes, etc.) down the sink. These types of foods are difficult to break down and, as a result, will cause your kitchen drain to get clogged. 

Tree roots: Thin tree roots may penetrate the joints of the pipes. When it grows over the years, your home’s entire sewage system may be compromised. If you’re lucky, the tree roots will only affect your kitchen plumbing, but it’ll still cost a hefty fee as you’ll need to call a professional. 

Other solid matter: Long hair, crafting clay, paint, plastic, toothpicks, and other tiny everyday kitchen items may accidentally find their way into the sink drain. 

Avoid this mistake when cleaning clogged kitchen sinks

You’ll want to avoid pouring boiling water down your kitchen sink. Boiling water will melt all grease, oil, and grime build-ups. But, boiling water will also melt PVC pipes, pipe sealants, and crack porcelain sinks. So while pouring boiling water into your sink once in a while is fine, you’ll want to avoid doing it regularly — daily pasta water, leftover soup, etc. This will cause permanent damages to your pipes and lead to costly pipe replacements. 

For reference, here is a list of common water pipe materials and their heat resistance:

  • Iron – 2570° F
  • Copper – 1981° F
  • Galvanized Steel – 392° F
  • Pex – 200° F
  • CPVC – 200° F
  • PVC plastic – 140° F

As you can see, iron pipes (common in modern households) can withstand boiling water. However, the intense heat may weaken the sealants at the joints and cause water leakages. 

How to safely & effectively unclog a kitchen sink

There are six ways to clear a clogged kitchen sink by yourself. They involve:

  • Plunging
  • Baking soda and vinegar 
  • Plumber’s snake
  • Cleaning the p-trap
  • Cleaning the garbage disposal
  • Using over-the-counter cleaners

You should follow the above list accordingly when fixing your clogged kitchen sink. If the first method doesn’t work, try the second, third, and so on. Doing it this way is much more efficient and will save you time, effort, and money. 

Plunger

Unclogging a kitchen sink with a plunger.

Credit: The Spruce

If your kitchen uses a double basin sink, you should plug the other drain that you’re not plunging. This will prevent any water or air from coming up the other basin. 

You’ll need: a plunger, a sink plug

How to unclog a kitchen sink with a plumber:

  1. Cover the opening with your plunger
  2. Firmly plunge 10 times with your hands tightly gripped on the top of the handle
  3. Repeat 2-3 times until the sink is unclogged

Video guide

Baking soda and vinegar

Unclogging a kitchen sink with baking soda and vinegar.

Credit: The Spruce

Baking soda and vinegar (an acid) will cause a bubbly reaction that will break down fatty acids into smaller, washable fragments. However, this method will only work for smaller blockages. Persistent drain clogs will require stronger drain cleaner products or other methods such as the ones in this article. 

You’ll need: 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of vinegar, 1 kettle of hot water

How to unclog a kitchen sink with baking soda and vinegar

  1. Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda down the sink drain
  2. Let the baking soda sit for 5-10 minutes
  3. Pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain
  4. Allow the mixture to react for 5-10 minutes
  5. Gradually pour a kettle of hot water down the sink drain
  6. Run warm tap water for 5 minutes to ensure that all blockages are flushed away (if warm tap water is unavailable, regular tap water will do). 

Plumber’s snake

Clearing a clogged kitchen sink with a plumber's snake.

Credit: The Home Depot

A plumber’s snake is a thin and flexible metal auger that will dislodge any clogs in the pipes. It twists and bends through the pipes like a snake, hence its namesake. Not only that, but it is also affordable and highly effective. You can buy one online at around $30, and you can use it to clean every sink drain in your home. 

You’ll need: A plumber’s snake, a pair of gloves (optional) 

How to unclog a kitchen sink with a plumber’s snake:

  1. Wear a pair of gloves to avoid getting your hands dirty (optional)
  2. Take out the sink drain cover
  3. Feed the auger into the sink drain
  4. Reverse the auger to pull it out of the pipe

Video guide

If the water still isn’t going down, it means that the clog is further down at the p-trap or wall pipe. If so, move on to the next method. 

Cleaning the p-trap

Sometimes, the clog could be in the p-trap or further down in the wall pipes. This method is the most tedious but effective way to clear a clogged kitchen sink. 

You’ll need: A large bucket, some rags/towels, a plumber’s snake, a pair of gloves (optional)

How to unclog a kitchen sink by cleaning the p-trap

  1. Wear a pair of gloves to avoid getting your hands dirty (optional)
  2. Place the bucket and towels under the pipes to collect any water coming out
  3. Slowly turn the pipe fittings counter-clockwise to loosen them
  4. Let the water slowly drain out and into the bucket
  5. Remove the p-trap once the water has completely drained
  6. Clean out the blockages in the p-trap 

Sometimes, the clog may not be in the p-trap but the adjacent pipes. You’ll need to clear them out with an auger pipe.

  1. Place an empty bucket and towels under the p-trap
  2. Slowly loosen the p-trap and let the water drain out
  3. Repeat step 2 for the adjacent pipes
  4. Clear the blockages in the adjacent pipes with a plumber’s snake
  5. Reinstall the pipes 
  6. Test the water flow by plugging the sink, filling it with water, and then remove the plug

Note: You may have to replace the pipe caps and sealants if they are rusted. Some damages may occur when removing older pipes, and it is completely normal.

Video guide

Cleaning the garbage disposal

Credit: Plumbline Services

Sometimes, the blockage may not be located in the pipes but the garbage disposal. Common culprits include uncut bones, fruit skins, or accessories. Firstly, you’ll have to turn off the garbage disposal and try to remove the blockages with long pliers/chopsticks. Then, if the clog is still there, you’ll have to clean the disposal with some ice and dishwashing soap. 

Clearing the garbage disposal with ice and dishwashing soap

You’ll need: Many ice cubes, some dishwashing soap, a ½ cup of bleach, a sponge

  1. Plug the sink with a stopper
  2. Fill the sink with water and a generous amount of ice cubes
  3. Pour some dishwashing soap 
  4. Start the disposal and remove the stopper
  5. Turn off the disposal and the tap once everything has cleared through
  6. Pour half a cup of bleach into the drain and let sit for 2 minutes
  7. Turn on the water and the garbage disposal for another 2 minutes
  8. Turn off everything and clean the drain opening with a sponge and dishwashing soap
  9. Test the water flow by letting the tap water run

Video guide

Over-the-counter products

We usually do not recommend over-the-counter drain cleaners due to their chemical properties. If the above methods don’t work, you can use some Drano or other cleaners to remove the clogs. You should follow the instructions labeled on the packaging of the drain cleaner. Usually, it involves the following steps:

  1. Pour the product into the drain
  2. Let sit for 15 minutes
  3. Flush the drain with hot water

How to prevent your kitchen sink from clogging

The best home remedy for a clogged kitchen sink is prevention. There are many ways you can prevent sink clogs. Mainly, you’ll want to dispose of leftover food and cooking residues properly. In addition, you should avoid pouring the following things down the sink drain:

  • Grease, oil, and fat
  • Coffee grounds
  • Rice
  • Fruit skins
  • Starchy foods (pasta, rice, potatoes)
  • Fibrous vegetables
  • Flour

In other words, you should pour only clear liquids down the drain. Everything else should be disposed of accordingly.

Key takeaways

If you’ve tried everything, but your kitchen sink is still clogged, it means that there is a serious underlying issue. For example, tree roots that have penetrated the sewage system. Trying to fix these issues yourself is risky and could complicate things further. So, if all else fails, there’s no harm in calling in a professional. 

Home remedies for a clogged kitchen sink:

  • Plunging
  • Baking soda & vinegar
  • Using a plumber’s snake
  • Cleaning the p-trap
  • Clearing the garbage disposal

Written by Jason Beischel

Jason Beischel is a Remodeler by profession and is always ready for the challenge and surprise that the next remodeling job throws at him. And given his extensive knowledge in real estate, contracting, and interior design, he provides actionable DIY tips online and has consolidated extensive excerpts with details on how to go about the various home repair activities. Enthusiasts will also access information on the best products that they can use in the process. Jason leads a team of renovators, he loves traveling and does not shy away from challenging opportunities that present away from familiar ground. According to Jason, every human deserves a comfortable home from where they can build their future.

July 19, 2021

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