How To Unclog A Kitchen Sink
Every homeowner should fix A clogged kitchen sink as soon as they discover it. Otherwise, you risk having a bad odor in your kitchen, attracting flies, or disease-causing bacteria.
To unclog a blocked kitchen sink, you can use natural materials such as baking soda or specialized tools and materials, depending on how severe the blockage is. In this post, I shall guide you through 9 ways you can use to unclog your kitchen sink easily by yourself.
The level of toughness of a block in a sink determines which ways will be used to unblock it. When the block is not serious, a plunger or a wet-dry vacuum will dislodge it easily.
The most effective way to unclog a kitchen sink with a tough block fast is by using Drano, as we will illustrate in detail. We will also show you the effects of using Drano on the sink drain.
Due to the side effects of using Drano, natural ways to unclog a kitchen sink are preferred. Although it may take longer, it has zero side effects.
Combine multiple methods to unclog stubborn kitchen sink clogs. For instance, you can dissolve debris before clearing it using a wet-dry vacuum or plunger. After unclogging, you should avoid any future clogs by installing a sink drain filter.
Tools & Materials You Need
You shall need some or all of the below tools and materials to unclog your kitchen sink, depending on the method you choose among the ones I cover in this post.
- Baking Soda
- Caustic soda
- Bicarbonate soda
- Protective gloves
- Protective goggles
- Insulated spoon
- Wet/dry vacuum cleaner
Time needed: 1hr
Please note that each method shall require a different time to complete. The above time is, therefore, just an average.
How To Unclog A Kitchen Sink With Water In It
The easiest way to unclog a kitchen sink with water is by using a plunger or a wet-dry vacuum, as I guide you below.
1. Use a wet-dry vacuum to dislodge your sink.
A wet-dry vacuum is a versatile tool that most homeowners have. Apart from cleaning wet and dry areas in a house, it works better than a plunger to unclog sinks. Follow the steps below to dislodge your kitchen sink drain using a wet-dry vacuum.
- Clear any debris in your sink.
- Set the vacuum to wet as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Switch to the suck option.
- Hold the vacuum hose tightly fixed to your kitchen sink top opening and let the vacuum suck all the water and debris. If the clog was light, this should unclog it.
- If the clog persists, boil 3 liters of water and pour it into the sink. If your drain is made of plastic pipes, let the water cool slightly to avoid melting the pipes.
- Wait for 10 minutes. The hot water shall loosen the debris for easier dislodging.
- Now use the vacuum to suck up the water and debris as we did earlier. This should unclog your sink.
- Check under the sink and locate the p-trap if your drain remains clogged.
- Place a bucket under the p-trap of your sink.
- Unscrew the p-trap and remove it. Check and remove any debris inside the P-trap.
- Switch the vacuum to positive air pressure and fix it to the sink top opening.
- Let the vacuum blow out any debris remaining in the tail-pipe
- Fix the tailpipe and try the drain again. The sink drain should be unclogged now; if not, try other methods in this post.
2. Use a plunger to push out blocking debris
A plunger unblocks a kitchen sink easily when the block is not serious. A plunger is the best way to unblock a kitchen sink because it is easy to use, especially when unclogging it with water. Below is a list of the steps you should follow when using a plunger to unblock a kitchen sink:
- Empty all water in the sink; If the sink has water when it is blocked, use a cup to draw the water as you empty it into another container, e.g., a bucket. Although a plunger can work well with water in the sink, we advise emptying the sink before plunging. This will prevent making a mess from water splashes, and you will easily locate the kitchen sink drain.
- Clean up all the food particles; Use a rug or your bare hand to clean up food particles covering the kitchen sink drain. When you use a plunger with food particles on the drain, they go into the pipes and may cause another blockage.
- Place the head of the plunger directly on top of the kitchen sink drain; Ensure that the drain is covered by the plunger completely. A plunger is very effective when there is no air penetrating through.
- Hold the plunger handle with both hands; Place your right hand on the top and your left in the center to get a good grip. Pump for 10-15 times. Do this 3-5 times on average.
- Run the tap for 1 minute to test whether the block has been dislodged successfully; If it has been unblocked successfully, the water will flow down the kitchen sink drain.
- Repeat the above step once more when the water does not go down.
- The block is serious when the sink is not unblocked after 3 tries. You will have to use an alternative way of unblocking a kitchen sink.
Natural Ways To Unblock A Kitchen Sink
Readily available natural materials in most households, like baking soda, salt, vinegar, and caustic soda, among others, are used to unclog a sink without using a plunger. Below are natural ways to unclog your kitchen sink.
3. Combine baking soda and vinegar to dissolve clogs
Baking soda is a famous home cleaning agent known to be effective. It is also handy in unblocking drains because it can dissolve germs and dirt. Baking soda works with vinegar to effectively unblock a kitchen sink. Below are steps to unclog a kitchen sink using baking soda.
- Clean the sink. If water is in the sink, use a cup to empty the water. Use a wet-dry vacuum to empty water further down the sink drain.
- Use a rug to wipe away food residue in the sink.
- Boil 3 liters of water.
- Pour the hot water into the kitchen sink while it is still sweltering.
- Add a cup of baking soda and wait an average of 10-15 minutes.
- Add a cup of vinegar and wait for 30 minutes on average for it to spread and take effect.
- Let the tap run for a minute to wash down the baking soda and vinegar.
- Your kitchen sink should get unclogged now.
If baking soda fails, use it with salt, as I guide you below.
4. Using Baking Soda And Salt to clear your sink drain
As shown in the steps below, baking soda and salt can easily unclog a kitchen sink.
- First, clean the sink. Empty all the water in the sink and wipe away the remains of the food.
- Mix 1 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of salt.
- Empty this mixture into the sink drain. Do it carefully such that all of the contents go into the drain.
- Let the mixture take effect for 6 hours or overnight, depending on how strict the block in your sink is. The toughest block takes a very long to be dissolved.
- After 6-12 hours on average, boil 2-3 liters of water.
- While the water is still steaming hot, pour it into the kitchen sink drain. Empty the water into a jug so you can aim it into the drain of your kitchen sink.
5. Use caustic soda
Caustic soda is powerful and can dissolve food particles and dirt accumulated in the kitchen sink drain. Be extremely CAUTIOUS when handling caustic soda. Make sure you have protective gear before you do, e.g., gloves and goggles. Follow the steps below to unclog a kitchen sink using caustic soda.
- Boil 3 liters of water: This will be used later once it’s hot. As the water boils, move to the next step.
- Add 4 cups of caustic soda into a metallic container. Caustic soda produces a lot of heat which plastic containers cannot withstand.
- Slowly and carefully pour 4 liters of cold water into the caustic soda. Use a wooden stick or any insulated spoon apart from plastic spoons to stir the mixture.
- Pour the solution into your kitchen sink drain slowly and cautiously. If the solution gets in contact with your skin, you will get burnt.
- Wait for 20-30 minutes on average. During this time, caustic soda will dissolve the blockage in your kitchen sink.
- Finally, pour the hot boiled water into the kitchen sink drain. This serves two purposes. It cleans up the kitchen sink and drains by washing down caustic soda. Hot water also finalizes the process by washing down the remains of the dissolved blockage.
6. Clear the garbage pipe
A kitchen sink garbage pipe can be unblocked by using baking soda and vinegar to dissolve the contents causing the blockage. We have prepared a step-by-step guideline below on successfully unblocking a kitchen sink garbage pipe.
- Measure a cup of baking soda. Pour the baking soda into the kitchen sink garbage drain. Wait for 10 minutes for the baking soda to settle and dissolve the contents blocking the kitchen sink garbage pipe.
- The next step is adding vinegar. Add a cup of white vinegar to the kitchen sink drain. Vinegar has stronger dissolution properties. It will dissolve the remnants of the blockage that were too notorious for being dissolved by baking soda.
- After adding the baking soda, wait 45 minutes-1 hour on average for the blockage to dissolve. Compared to unblocking a kitchen sink pipe, a kitchen sink garbage pipe takes longer to dissolve blockages. This is where food remnants are deposited. As a result, it has tougher blockages that require more time to be dealt with.
- On average, boil 3-5 liters of water while waiting for the vinegar to dissolve the dirt in the kitchen sink garbage pipe.
- After the 45 minutes-1 hour ends, pour the boiled water into the kitchen sink garbage drain. Remember to handle hot water with care to avoid being burnt. Hot water washes down the kitchen sink garbage pipe. The remains from the dissolved blockage are thoroughly washed down, leaving the pipe completely clear.
7. Unblocking an outside kitchen drain
If you clean it often, the kitchen drain outside can be unblocked using a plunger. If not, you will need something stronger in addition to using a plunger. To help you understand better, we have detailed guidelines on unblocking a kitchen drain outside.
- The first step is to remove the top cover of the outside kitchen drain. This will expose the drain so that you can clean it more efficiently.
- Sweep the debris on top of the drain. Make sure that the drain is in clear sight.
- Fix the head of a plunger on the kitchen drain until it is covered completely. Pumb for 10-15 times on average. Repeat this five times. If the drain is not unblocked, move to the next step.
- Add 3-5 cups of caustic soda into a metallic container. The kitchen drain outside is bigger and has very notorious blockages. This is why we use more caustic soda compared to indoor kitchen drains. Wear protective gear before handling caustic soda, especially gloves, goggles, and something that covers your arms entirely.
- Add 5 liters of cold water on average into the metallic container. Do this slowly and carefully so you do not burn yourself from caustic soda spillages.
- Stir the mixture with an insulated spoon,, so the heat is not conducted and burns your hands.
- Slowly pour the mixture into the drain. Wait an hour for the caustic soda to dissolve the waste accumulation in the drain.
- On average, boil 5 liters of water as you wait for the one hour to end.
- After an hour on average, carefully pour the hot water into the drain. With the blockage contents dissolved, hot water dries down the remnants.
8. Unclog a kitchen sink with a garbage disposal
A kitchen sink garbage disposal can be unclogged by using a plunger. There are two sides to this type of sink: The sink and the garbage disposal. When unclogging, you will have to unclog both sides. Below are easy steps for unclogging a kitchen sink with garbage disposal.
- Empty all the contents in the sink and the garbage disposal. This is to create ample room for plunging.
- Pour liquid soap into the kitchen sink drain and the garbage disposal drain. Dawn liquid soap is the best option for unclogging a kitchen sink with garbage disposal.
- Turn on the garbage disposal. When on, it has a sucking effect that increases the effectiveness of a plunger.
- As soon as you turn on the garbage disposal, start pumping the plunger for 10 times on average on the kitchen sink drain. When you reach the 10th count, move to the kitchen sink drain and pump 10 times. Repeat this 5 times on average for both sides.
- Let the water run for 3 minutes on average on both the kitchen sink and garbage disposal sides. This washes down the soap and the remnants of the dislodged clog.
9. Use Drano to clear those persistent kitchen sink drain clogs
Drano unclogs a kitchen sink by breaking down the contents of a clog. Its chemical contents make it very strong. Drano is effective because it contains highly reactive chemicals like sodium hydroxide.
This is also its biggest disadvantage because the fumes produced from its high chemical concentration cause adverse health complications.
Before you follow the steps below on how to unclog a kitchen sink with Drano, make sure you wear protective gear. The most important protective gears are face masks and goggles because it is known for causing respiratory and eye complications.
- The first step is emptying the kitchen sink. This is so that utensils are not contaminated with Drano.
- Pour half a bottle of Drano into the kitchen sink drain. Afterward, remember to return the cap of the Drano bottle so that the fumes do not spread in the room.
- Wait for 15-30 minutes on average for Drano to react, thus decomposing the contents of the block. When this happens, step outside to get a little fresh air.
- Finally, let hot water run for 5-10 minutes on average. This will wash down the remnants of the blockage. The running time is extended as a precautionary measure. This ensures that all the traces of Drano are washed down due to its effects on health.
- Finally, open the windows and do not use the kitchen for an hour on average.
Baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. You first pour a cup of baking soda, and then you add a cup of vinegar after 10-15 minutes on average. Finally, after 30 minutes, you will pour in hot water so that it can wash down the remnants of the blockage.
Yes, but only when the clog is not serious. In serious clogs, baking soda is first added to dissolve a blockage. Vinegar is then added afterward.
Yes. Unlike Drano, baking soda and vinegar do not affect the drain pipes. The seriousness of a clog is what determines how long the vinegar and baking soda stay in the drain. The most serious clogs require a long time to be dissolved by vinegar and baking soda.
Yes, but you have to empty the kitchen sink as a precautionary measure. The kitchen must also be well-ventilated so that the fumes produced from Drano do not remain in the room. Drano is feared because its high chemical concentration produces fumes that cause respiratory complications and eye problems.
Caustic soda can unblock a severely blocked sink. You first mix 3 cups of caustic soda with 3 liters of cold water on average. You will then pour this mixture into the sink drain. The mixture takes 30 minutes on average to unclog. After that, pour hot steaming water to wash down the remnants of the clog. Protective wear is necessary when handling caustic soda to avoid burns.
Yes. A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water unclogs a toilet successfully when poured into the toilet. Add 1.5 liters of water on average to a cup of hydrogen peroxide. Pour it into your toilet bowl. Wait for 30 minutes so that it takes effect. The final step is flushing down. Observe caution when handling hydrogen peroxide by wearing protective gear.
In Summary, the best way to unclog a kitchen sink with water in it is by using a plunger. A plunger is water-resistant and long, so you can plunge away even when the water has filled the kitchen sink. Plungers, however, are not effective when the clog is notorious.
The best alternative to a plunger is a wet-dry vacuum which is recommended. Use combined methods for persistent clogs; for instance, you can dissolve blocking debris using hot water, baking soda, or Drano, and then force them out using a plunger or a wet-dry vacuum. Only use Drano when all the other methods have failed.
That is how to unclog a blocked kitchen sink by yourself at home, I hope this helped you out. Remember, you can install a sink drain filter to prevent your sink from blocking again.