Clearing a Clogged Kitchen Sink Drain

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.

Sink drain with water running into sink.
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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

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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

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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

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I was helping my friend clean a bathroom that had a clogged basin drain. After the two of us polished off half a two-liter bottle of diet pop, I filled it with water, matched the opening of the bottle to the drain opening and mashed the bottle firmly.

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My question is similar to some others with one exception: it's not my garbage disposal unit that's clogged, but the pipes underneath it. I'm reluctant to start dismantling the plumbing (I'm no handyman!), so I'm wondering if the solutions offered here for unclogging disposals (vinegar+baking soda, etc.) will still work if the clog is actually below the disposal in the pipes, themselves.

Thanks much.

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Wellll, I hate to break it to you, but, I had the same problem, tried all the solutions in my home remedy arsenal, then a drain chemical; the ultimate solution was to call a plumber. He had to cut part of the pipe and snake to the street. Still no idea what did it, but it was pricey enough that from now on I will only use the disposal after I wash dishes, to process the little food scraps from the plates and pans! everything else can go right in the trash!

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

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    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.

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    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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!

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

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    How do I unclog a double kitchen sink with garbage disposal on one side?

    By Yvette

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    A plunger handle inside the disposal side, working it around sometimes helps. You also need to make double sure the power is off to the disposal and get out whatever is clogging it up. Sometimes you have to go under the sing and undo the trap, physically getting out whatever is in there.

    Recently, I had to help someone who had been putting rice down the non-disposal side for so long it was like cement. A pressure washer was required it was so bad.

    Once you "blow the pipes" so to speak, you should be ok. There is a reset button on the back of the disposal and once that is pushed, hopefully it will all be clear.

    Once it's done, preventing it from happening again is very important. Rice, potato peels, celery, and egg shells should be bagged and thrown out. They are either stringy or starchy and just don't grind up well enough to go through. I hope this helps. PBP

    This is a good place to start: ... ie=UTF-8#q=unclogging%20a%20disposal

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Is Dawn dish detergent safe for kitchen drains?

    By Doris

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Of course it is. People all over North America are using Dawn for just about everything.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

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    So my kitchen sink is acting up. We started to plunge and the water started to turn black. I'm totally freaking out!

    By Mimi

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    How can I save money on a sink water clot?

    By Julia from NJ

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    Blessings, Robyn

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    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 smith21

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I live in the country, and have a septic system, and a "gray water" system, into which our kitchen sink drains. We have to be very careful about not clogging it with food or other particles. One day, I decided to try a bit of Rid-X in the sink as I was used to putting it into the septic system...

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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)

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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.

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    Is it possible to use Dawn dishwashing liquid to unclog a drain?

    By Connie from Nashville, TN

    Dawn Detergent To Unclog Drain

    Dawn is really a miracle product. I would definitely try it and mix with boiling water and pour into drain and let it sit overnight. I use it to clean my jewelry. It is amazing. I read that they use it to clean oil off animals in oil spills. Not sure what is in it that makes it so good, but it really works. (02/28/2010)

    By Amy3e

    Dawn Detergent To Unclog Drain

    Dump dish washing powdered detergent into clogged drain and then the boiling from the stove water into it. Make sure you have about a gallon of water, minimum going down. (03/02/2010)

    By TandT Grandma

    Dawn Detergent To Unclog Drain

    Dawn detergent also good for cleaning up charcoal fluid which we spill in our basement floor! (03/08/2010)

    By Aldancer

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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. I did laundry about 1/2 an hour before, but while we were doing this I went into the garage and it was flooded.

    I don't have the money to call a plumber, so I'm trying to find a cheap way to fix this. I'm supposed to have a slumber party for an 8 year old on Saturday. Please help.

    By Monica from Los Banos, CA

    Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

    There is some really good advice in the ThriftyFun archives below. I hope you're able to have the problem remedied by Saturday! (03/05/2010)

    By Deeli

    Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

    Whatever you end up doing, please wear gloves when working with plumbing or sewage. A man near us was trying to repair his own plumbing, got sewage on a cut on his hand and died several days later from the infection. Be safe! (03/05/2010)

    By Cathy S

    Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

    I had this happen. I ran the disposal first to make sure anything in there was dissolved. Then I turned the dishwasher on and when it began to drain I used a plunger and pushed back and forth, hard. The pressure from the plunger and the water pushing up from the dishwasher unclogged the the line. I never found out what was clogging it. (03/06/2010)

    By Amy3e

    Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

    I's always a good idea to boil a gallon of vinegar and pour it down all at once. Be careful not to burn yourself. I always do this first. This has even brought hair clogs to the surface so that I can pull them out. If there is any mold or mildew it will kill that also which will help a great deal. If this doesn't work, it's time to call the plumber. (03/08/2010)

    By Stngray

    Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

    Amy's answer saved us. it worked! We cleaned out the drains, nothing. Then filled the garbage disposal with water, started the dishwasher with the other drains plugged, and it worked. Thanks for the help. (06/06/2010)

    By portbayblanch

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    How do I unplug a backed up sink?

    By dddimensions from UT

    Unclogging a Sink

    My drain was clogged for just about a year and unfortunately the clog was just past the air vent so plunging would not work. Spread out over the year I went through 3 bottles of drain opener and a 4th one was the kind where two chemicals mix from Drain-O, numerous applications of vinegar and baking soda even trying hair conditioner that someone recommended here on Thrifty Fun. What finely worked was for a week I poured in straight chlorine bleach until I could see it just to the top of the drain opening, I wasn't consistent it could be every day then skip a day or 2 whenever I could think of it, when I poured bleach in it the amounts would very each time.

    I used almost a gallon, then 1 day when I was pouring the bleach in it never came to the top of the drain opening, so I turned on the hot water and let it run for good 5 minutes. My drain is finally opened. Good luck with yours.


    Unclogging a Sink

    Depending on what is clogging the drain, there are different approaches. I once moved into an apartment that had straws and all kinds of junk down the drain that simply needed to be removed.

    1. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow with one cup of vinegar. 10-30 minutes later follow with a whole pot of boiling water.

    2. If the first idea didn't work, pour one cup of washing soda down the drain. (washing soda is more alkaline 11.0) than baking soda. Follow with one cup of vinegar. 10-30 minutes later pour a large pot of boiling water down the drain. Continue with 2-3 pots of boiling water if you think it is beginning to clear.

    3. If it still won't budge, get a bucket and start disconnecting the plumbing directly underneath the sink and see if you can't remove what may be clogging the drain, i.e., solid items that chemicals will not remove.

    4. If all else fails, call a plumber.

    By Carly34

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    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?

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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