How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink

A Clogged Sink is a Draining Experience.

Clogs may be a fashion item when you’re talking about shoe wear, but a clogged kitchen sink is just an entirely different wearing experience. Sooner or later, your kitchen sink is going to clog. How much sooner depends on how well you treat your kitchen drains. 

Remember, only you can prevent kitchen sink clogs. However, if prevention fails, you can try to unclog your kitchen sink before you call a plumber. Let’s take a look at:

    • How to avoid kitchen sink clogs
    • What not to do to unclog a kitchen sink
    • Recommended techniques to unclog a kitchen sink
    • When to call a plumber to unclog your kitchen sink drain

How to Avoid Kitchen Sink Clogs

Follow these tips on how to avoid kitchen sink clogs and you may never have to unclog your kitchen sink. Or, at least make it very unlikely. If notice sink water from draining into your dishwasher, we have some tips for you.

    1. Don’t ever pour grease down your garbage disposal. Ever means ever. Fatty substances contained in grease are “public enemy number one.” Cooking fats such as oil, grease and butter on pots and pans often end up in the kitchen sink. You might think that with a little bit of dishwashing liquid and water they all go right down the drain. The problem is that leftover cooking grease and fats are only liquid because they are still somewhat hot. But when the hot liquid fat goes down the drain and cools, it solidifies and coats the inside of the drain pipe. If you continue to pour grease down your kitchen sink, over time this grease coating gets thicker and thicker, leading to slow drainage until it eventually completely clogs the drain. So, seriously, do everything you can to avoid letting grease get down into your pipes. Pour used cooking grease into cans and dispose of in the garbage. To minimize the possibility of grease getting down your kitchen sink drain even further,  wipe pans with paper towels before washing and dispose of towels in the trash.
    2. Go easy on your garbage disposal. Don’t use it as a trash can. Scrape plates into the garbage before rinsing or washing.
    3. Never put starchy or fibrous items in the garbage disposal. Avoid potato peels, pasta, rice, banana peels, coffee and egg shells. Even grinded into small bits, over time these starchy and fibrous items can all collect into a sludgy, messy clog.
    4. Clean your pipes with baking soda and vinegar regularly to prevent buildup. Do not use a liquid drain cleaner, as these products can cause more harm than good. Instead, pour a 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain. Use a spatula to force it into the drain if necessary. Pour 1 cup of vinegar down the drain and quickly cover the drain to force the vinegar and baking down the drain. Hold the drain cover in place until the fizzing stops. Uncover and flush the drain with boiling water.
    5. Follow this asic rule of thumb: If you think something may clog or damage your drain, don’t put it down your kitchen sink drain. Just, don’t.

Follow these best practices, keep the wrong items out of your kitchen sink and perform regular cleaning maintenance and odds are you’ll probably never need to deal with a clogged drain. However, even good odds are not necessarily perfect odds. Stuff does happen. So if even despite your best efforts, your kitchen sink drains, read on.

What Not to Do to Unclog a Kitchen Sink

Despite your best efforts, there may come a time when the drain to your kitchen sink clogs. Before we get into what you can do to fix it, first here’s what you don’t do. Don’t use a liquid drain cleaner. While the corrosive chemicals they contain do work to eat away at the clog and unblock your drain, those same corrosive ingredients can also eat away at your drain pipes. In addition, these chemicals are not environmentally-friendly. At some point, they end up in the water table.

What to Do to Unclog a Kitchen Sink

Here are professional tips on how to unclog a kitchen sink

    1. Grab the plunger. Fill the sink partially with hot water. If you have a double sink, stuff a rag in the other drain. Start plunging, slowly at first, then harder for about half a minute. Lift the plunger up and see if water begins to drain normally. If not, repeat the process
    2. Use Bio Ben. Bail any standing water out of the sink with a cup and place in a bucket. Then pour BioBen into the drain. Follow directions on the container. BioBen contains microorganisms and natural ingredients that can help you maintain your drains and keep them clog-free. The microorganisms eat away at buildup inside your pipes immediately after being poured down the drain. By unleashing natural bacteria to feed on oil, grease and other materials, BioBen keeps your system clean and flowing freely.
    3. Don’t have Bio Ben? Try the baking soda/vinegar method. Use a cup and bucket to bail any existing water out of your sink. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain. Use a spatula to force it in there if you need to. Pour 1 cup vinegar down the drain and quickly cover the drain to force the vinegar and baking towards the clog in the drain. Hold the cover it in place until the fizzing stops. Uncover and flush the drain with boiling water.
    4. Wire hanger time. Take a wire hanger and unbend it. Use it like a snake to pull clogs out or push through the clog. If you are successful or partially successful, try to plunge the drain and/or add BioBen or the baking soda/vinegar methods to unclog a kitchen sink.

What’s Good for the Kitchen Sink is Good for Your Other Drains

By the way, most everything we’ve talked about to maintain your kitchen sink to avoid clogs, as well as how to unclog clogs if the do happen, applies to the other drains in your home. Here’s a couple of extra tips regarding how to best treat bathroom and other sink drains.

    • Never pour paint products or nail polish remover down drains. The chemicals they contain can damage pipes. In addition, you don’t want these chemicals entering the water table. Also for environmental reasons, don’t put these products in the trash. Let them dry in the can and dispose of them in accordance with local and state requirements. 
    • Install a screen to catch hair and other debris in all bathroom and shower drains. Hair accumulation combined with soap scum is the number one cause of bathroom drain clogs.
    • To minimize soap scum buildup, use liquid soap instead of bar soap. If you have hard water, invest in a water softener. Clean shower and tub areas and keep them dry.

When to call a Plumber

If your kitchen sink drain is still clogged even after all your efforts to unclog it, call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Bay Area at 800.471.080 to dispatch one of our experienced plumbers ASAP!

Sometimes, a clogged kitchen sink isn’t simply a matter of a clogged kitchen sink, but a symptom of a larger issue in your plumbing. Environmental factors and general wear and tear play a role in the functionality of your sewer and draining systems. It could be that you need to clean out your entire plumbing system. This is not a DIY project, 

If you are in need of drain cleaning services, Benjamin Franklin plumbing experts are here to help!  During the sewer and drain cleaning process, we locate the cleanout plug in the sewer system and flush out any waste.  Next, we’ll relieve the pressure inside.  After your system is relieved of residue and clogs, will test the drainage and repeat the process until your plumbing system runs smoothly again.