A clogged sink drain is a common plumbing problem. Before you call a plumber, try cleaning it yourself. There are several things to consider before trying to clear the clog. This is a guide about clearing a clogged kitchen sink drain.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
I know there are several schools of thought on this one, so feel free to disagree. I've been married for 55 years and I have always done this. I dump my used coffee grounds in the sink drain and follow with water. It's almost like sand blasting the pipes. I have never had drains plugged up because of it. Everyone in my family who has his or her own kitchen does it with no ill effect.
Another drain hint. A friend whose daughter was a nurse told her this one. The nurse had flu for several days. She didn't want to have dirty tissue sitting in waste cans because of the bacteria so she flushed them down the toilet. When she recovered she had to have several hundred dollars worth of plumbing work done from her house down to the street. The plumber told her to never put Kleenex or other facial tissue down the toilet. He suggested she blow her nose and blot her lipstick on toilet paper.
By MartyD from Houston, TX
Editor's Note: Do you have any advice for keeping drains clear. Post your tips in the feedback.
We all have had clogged drains and like many I go to my faithful baking soda and vinegar. Which I did 2 times. I must tell you that usually this always works, even if you notice a drain that is slow to drain. This time no such luck. I used 2 boxes of baking soda and a full jar of vinegar result; nothing.
I called my daughter 2000 miles away and she was trying to help me. We both do the same things and always swap tips; usually its her asking me. This time I needed her. She ask if I had done the usual (good girl) than said use dish soap and boiling water. I put 1/2 of the dish soap in each side and boiled 2 full pots of water. The water slowly went down to where I could clean the residue up which was left in the sink. It is full of bacteria and germs. I knew I didn't want to breath or have near me.
Afterward I ran water to clean out the sink, and once again it started backing up! My daughter had sent me a link. I went to look if there was anything I could do without having to call my landlord.
I had already done everything I always do, plus broke my plunger on top of it. There in front of me I saw something I had never heard of; use the left over juice from any pickled products you may have. In my case I had dill pickle juice, jalapeno juice, and a jar which only had a few long pickles in it (which I enjoyed).
So I dumped all of these together and brought to a boil. Smelling this brought back many memories from my childhood which was filled with long summers of putting up pickles, every kind of pickles in fact it was years before I ate pickles after leaving home. These memories now were happy ones, funny how that works.
I was glad I learned so many things growing up in the country. What I had read said "be very careful do not let the mixture touch your skin or breath too deeply". I'm not sure why but I thought I should share it.
I poured the hot, boiling pickling juices into each sink, and went off to bed. Next morning the clog was gone. The pickling juices had taken away the last of a very tough built up in the pipes. Thank goodness I am thrifty, and had saved all of those jars of juice; not only for eating now I found another use.
I did have a hairline crack which I wouldn't have even known about if my landlord didn't believe what I had done worked. John (plumber) came out and found the crack, but told my landlord I did the right thing. Draino or other chemicals get into the water system, and are bad for the pipes if used too often or incorrectly. John said in his own house, he does 1/3 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar every other week as maintenance, to help with no build up or odors of any kind. How nice to see others being ECO friendly.
Things worked out as they were suppose to. I didn't have to pay, a leak which could have lead to mold was found and I got a little bit of joy by my using the things I already had without chemicals. I found that little bit of joy a much needed help while cleaning up the mess afterwards. Using of course baking soda, vinegar and lemon.
I am now out of all my saved up juices. I'm wondering of I can freeze them when I have more than I need for emergencies, hum?
No waste not the pickles (jalapenos) juices or the glass which I always recycle!
Source: My grandmother and my daughter; I do not know which article was sent, but it was from a book when plumbing was first being used.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
If your kitchen sink is clogged with grease, the best thing I've ever found is Dawn Dishwashing Liquid. I plug the drain and put a huge squirt, maybe 1/2 cup, in the sink. Then I fill the sink with boiling water. Once it's full I pull the plug (use tongs or something, that water is HOT). Let it run down the drain and bingo, clean as a whistle. If it's really bad, you might have to do it twice, but I've never had to do it more than that. I had someone put bacon grease down and it was completely blocked with a wad of grease. It only took two applications to clear and it was one of this dinky trailer sinks.
Source: From my great friend and sister, Tracy!
By JodiT from Aurora, CO
Okay, this is going to sound a little wonky but trust me. To keep your drains clear and your septic system working a little better, pour the very finest white or gray wood ashes from your fireplace or heater down the kitchen drain, the bathtub and sink drains, and even rinse some down the toilet from time to time. Make sure the ashes are dry, have never been wet, and are powdery, not clumps.
The reason this works is because wood ashes contain potash, and when wet, that creates lye. Lye was mixed with grease and lard in olden days to make soap, and is even used today in lots of cleaners.
So when you rinse them down the drains, they mix with any oily residue in the pipes and floating in the septic tank. Just like the old homemade soap, the lye mixing with the fats and oils in the drains and becomes a healthy drain cleaner without adding dangerous chemicals. Plus the drains will smell better.
By Dollyslaffn from Darien, GA
Coffee grains are great for compost, but they're also great for clearing drains. So don't throw them away, but flush them down your sink. It's really worked for me. I haven't had a problem with blocked pipes since a friend recommended this tip.
By lucy from Oxford UK
I read through several tips to see if this one had been submitted. I was helping my friend clean a bathroom that had a clogged basin drain. It probably had kitty litter, aquarium gravel, hair and who-knows-what-all down it.
After the two of us polished off half a two-liter bottle of diet pop (on purpose to empty it!), I filled it with water, matched the opening of the bottle to the drain opening and mashed the bottle firmly.
It worked! I re-did it several times until the bottle was all caved in. I then put the stopper in the sink and filled it with soapy water several times, then pulled the plug out and let it run out as fast as it could. This didn't cost anything and the bottle is recyclable. Hope this helps,
By Aunt Sharon from Tom Bean, TX
Share Your Feedback: Once you try any of the above solutions, be sure to come back and give a "thumbs up" to the one that worked the best for you. Do you have a better solution? Click "Share a Solution" above!
Here are questions related to Clearing a Clogged Kitchen Sink Drain.
I would like to know how to fix a clogged kitchen sink? I've poured a large amount of baking soda, vinegar, hot water, liquid dish soap, and salt. I don't know whether I've made the right mixture, since I didn't find a precise measure for the mixture. Is there anyway I can fix it without having to use a dangerous chemical thing nor calling a plumber? Many thanks and warm regards.
By A Life from INA (Indonesia)
Moving into a new house,one of the shower drains took forever to go down. While at the dollar store I saw a bottle of drain cleaner and thought just how good could it be for a dollar,but I'll try anything once. Did what the directions said, left it for a day, and boy was I surprised. The water went down just as nice as you please. Now I will stock up on this for any future use. You never know unless you try, and for a dollar what can you lose.
My kitchen sink is clogged on the garbage disposal side. I have tried baking soda, vinegar, hot water, and a plunger, but it's still clogged. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
By Alice J
Pour about 1/4 cup of Dawn dishing washing liquid in sink and follow with A kettle of boiling water. This trick even works on commode stop ups! Good luck and God bless!
How do you unplug a plugged up sink?
By Gerry from Waterford, CT
How can I save money on a sink water clot?
By Julia from NJ
By Robyn Fed02/19/2012
I would use a plunger on the sink. I always use it in our bathtub. When you plunge it, push it and pull it way up, and the force will dislodge any toy or solid thing in the drain.
Also you can make a wire out of a paperclip, or a hanger and "snake" it out.
Also baking soda poured into the sink a little and then vinegar and hot water work sometimes. Here is a video showing how to use the baking soda and white vinegar, and hot water.
Taking the u shaped part of the pipe out and see if it is clogged. This is where most things that are solid get lost, like earrings.
Hopefully that would help. You can always get draino and pour it in there.
The water will not drain out of my kitchen sink, but the disposal is working. I did the vinegar and baking soda, but that didn't do it. What to do?
By Connie from Kirkland, WA
When my disposal sink will not drain, it's usually because of vegetable peelings stuck in the u-bend under the sink. I find that a plunger works best ( baking soda and vinegar will not remove peelings). If you have a double sink, close the drain on the non-disposer side, then plunge on the disposal side. After a few plunges, turn on the disposal and see if the water drains. Give it a few tries. If all else fails, you will have to remove the u-bend section from under the sink and clean it out. I have used disposals for many years and never had a problem with vegetable peelings, but either the new plumbing or the disposers are not what they used to be because I frequently have to resort to the plunger to get my sink to drain. Good luck.
I put potato peels down the garbage disposal and while it clogged, the clog was pushed thru the pipes underneath the sink and into the wall in between the kitchen and bathroom. I tried snaking it and that didn't work. The garbage disposal was replaced because it was thought to be broken as well. So how on earth do I get that clog unclogged without tearing apart a wall and piping or spending $200 on a plumber?
By Susie C
By Elaine S.11/01/2012
If my sons were here who are plumbers, I could tell you what to do. Sorry, but I can just tell anyone. These were orders from my sons, NEVER put potato peels down a garbage disposal.
I clogged my plumbing once at a family Thanksgiving meal and my sons spent considerable time unclogging it. I lived two hours from them so they had no tools with them and couldn't rent any on this day because it was a holiday. I think they ended up using some neighbor's tools. They had to take the soil pipe apart to do it. Needless to say, it ruined everyone's Thanksgiving.
What should I do if my kitchen pipes are chocked with grease and oil products? Is there any product which can keep my kitchen pipes grease and oil free so that it does not chocked?
By Linda Jones07/02/2013
There is a product called Glug that my plumber (who is a good friend) told me to buy. It works great.
I also have been told pour some Dawn down the drain and follow with a lot of hot water.
So my kitchen sink is acting up. We started to plunge and the water started to turn black. I'm totally freaking out!
The black color is grease. Your pipes are clogged with grease or... You may have a grease trap at the end of your plumbing drainage system that ends to be emptied.
Wear a pair of latex gloves to save a lot of scrubbing of your hands. Hope this helps.
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
How do I use Dawn dish washing liquid to unclog a tub?
Karen from Newark, DE
Would someone share the recipe for dawn liquid soap drain cleaner?
Melvin from Fate, Texas
How do you unclog a drain with Dawn dish washing liquid?
Linde from Hanover, NH
Details: I have 4 females in this house, and this one bathroom sink drain had been a constant problem. I became an expert with a metal snake to pull out hair clogs in the pipes. Well the snake went all the way in this time, and did not find the clog. Actually it somehow made the problem worse, from a slow drain to a complete plug. I have tried the various chemicals in the past, and they would often work after 4-5 doses. So my wife suggested rd.com (and a past reader's digest article) through which I found this site.
Exactly what I did: This was a bathroom sink drain, totally stopped, and about half full of water already. I took a four quart pot, boiled water, and added lots of Dawn to the boiling water while my wife stirred. I dumped it into the clogged sink. We watched a movie and when it was over the drain was clear. I will note also that the Dawn we have is very old and sludgy, but it still worked. (12/24/2008)
How can I unclog a sink?
Mary from Illinois
How do I unclog drains using Dawn dish soap?
By chuckday from Orlando, FL
Drain cleaner is just a strong base; baking soda is a mild one. Ammonia, full strength is a medium strong base.
Adding vinegar or any acid such as CLR to any of these will produce bubbling (the stronger the base or the acid, the more violent the bubbling; which could be dangerous if both are strong.), but will ultimately neutralize the base (you will have salt water).
The bases combine with the grease (which is what drains are usually clogged with) and make soap, which is then flushed away with the hot water. (05/22/2009)
How do you unclog a sink that has an attached garbage disposal unit?
win11 from Tucson, AZ
If you want to remove the disposal,disconnect the drain trap.Have a bucket ready because most of the water in the sink will run out through the hose. Also disconnect from a dishwasher if you have one jointed to the disposal. While supporting the disposal place the Allen wrench into the mounting lug and turn. The disposal will fall free. If this sounds confusing go to a big box store and they can show you how to remove the disposal. (11/19/2008)
In the future, keep blades sharp by "chopping" ice cubes in disposal and fresh by pouring in lemon juice and/or lemon rind. (11/23/2008)
Instead of harsh chemicals or a plunger, try 1/2 cup of Dawn dishwashing detergent. Just pour it right in the clog and let it sit. After 30 minutes, try and flush.
If your kitchen sink has standing water in it and the pipes underneath are clear, the clog is probably in the main drain pipe. Try this BEFORE you call a plumber.
Every spring I used to have problems with my kitchen drain going slower and slower. Solution, put a cup of salt down the drains about once a week.
I have black, greasy, rusty particles coming up from the kitchen drain pipe. The sink is clogged and I cannot get it unclogged. What is the problem?
My kitchen sink is backed up. Both the drain and garbage disposal are getting full. We plugged the drain and ran the garbage disposal and vice versa.