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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
February 19, 2012
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!
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.
November 17, 2015
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!
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
February 20, 2013
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
November 1, 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.
How can I save money on a sink water clot?
By Julia from NJ
February 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.
By A Life 1
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)
July 22, 2010
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.
How do I unclog a double kitchen sink with garbage disposal on one side?
September 30, 2014
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: https://www.google.com/webhp?source ... ie=UTF-8#q=unclogging%20a%20disposal
Is Dawn dish detergent safe for kitchen drains?
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. But it clogged the drain shut.
In a panic, I tried hot water, a wooden skewer, a chop stick, all to no avail. I couldn't find a plunger. But I did remember that I have long goose/hawk feathers which we found in our yard. I put it down into the clog, and it was flexible enough to take out the clog straightaway. Like magic! Needless to say, I dried out the feather and kept it for future use.
So my kitchen sink is acting up. We started to plunge and the water started to turn black. I'm totally freaking out!
December 30, 2013
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.
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 Gerry 1
How do you unplug a plugged up sink?
By Gerry from Waterford, CT
How do I use Dawn dish washing liquid to unclog a tub?
Karen from Newark, DE
Dawn dish washing liquid isn't going to cut it. Best and most thorough way to clean a tub drain is to lift out the drain plug, reach in with long needle nose pliers, and pull the gunk out and replace the drain plug. (09/23/2008)
Try some of the other things mentioned on this site to the right of the question. If I can't do it with those, my husband does it with the snake he has bought.
My bathtub drain gets plugged quite often but it is because of my long hair. I use a crochet hook or a dentist's pick to pick the hair clumps out of the drain and pull them up. I grab onto the slippery mess with a piece of toilet paper or kleenex and put it in the waste basket. Voila! It drains as good as new. Every day my shower ends with a quick swipe of paper to pick up any of my long hairs in the tub. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (09/24/2008)
A large pan of boiling water with a good size shot of Dawn in it, and then pour it down the drain. (09/25/2008)
Thanks to mulberry204 who posted on Sept. 25, I did just that (a pan of boiling water with dawn in it and pour it down the drain) and it worked. But then, I knew there was no hair in the drain, just 40 years worth of "mung" or "gunk" or something. Dawn probably wouldn't be able to "cut through" hair! (10/10/2008)
Would someone share the recipe for dawn liquid soap drain cleaner?
Melvin from Fate, Texas
I found a tool at the hardware store that does a great job. I think it's called a "Zip-It". It's white plastic about 18" long and maybe .5" wide with teeth on either side. You push it down into the drain and pull it back out, and all the hair and gunk gets caught in the teeth. It's only a few dollars for a two pack, it works wonderfully, and there's no chemicals! (10/24/2008)
I read about this tip (and website) in Readers Digest. We had some shower backup and tried the Dawn/boiling water. It worked for us! (11/06/2008)
How do you unclog a drain with Dawn dish washing liquid?
Linde from Hanover, NH
What always works like a charm is baking soda and then pour white vinegar on it.
Dawn worked on a clog at least 10 feet down the pipes.
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
Pour some Greased Lighting down drain and let it sit for a few minutes. Put some hot water in the sink and use a plunger. If you have a double sink, someone needs to help you by holding the drain stopper down so air can't pass through while you are plunging. (11/15/2008)
Use Arm & Hammer baking soda and vinegar. Pour soda down drain and then put in the vinegar. I used a small box of soda and a small bottle of vinegar. Let sit for an hour and then rinse with hot water. Hope it works for you, it did for me. (11/15/2008)
Pour boiling water in the sink when all else fails. (11/25/2008)
How do I unclog drains using Dawn dish soap?
By chuckday from Orlando, FL
According to the instructions at ehow, you boil 3 or 4 tablespoons of Dawn in a pan of water, pour it slowly down the drain, let it sit 20-30 minutes, flush with hot water. The link also has 4 other ways to unclog a drain without using drain cleaner. (05/14/2009)
I read a different recipe. It said put Dawn in drain (a sizable amount, I guess), add a kettle of boiling water and leave alone overnight. You would want the "good" Dawn, not the early version. (05/22/2009)
Dawn has ammonia in it; that is why it will work for this, when other dishwashing liquids do not. Baking soda may also work, followed by hot water.
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
It maybe the disposal is causing the clog. You should have an Allen wrench that fits into the bottom of the disposal. Insert and turn counter clockwise. That should free up the disposal. If you don't have an Allen wrench go to a hardware or big box store and tell them what you need so you will get the right size.
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)
Ours sometimes clogs with big pieces of cantaloupe rind which does require taking apart, but if there's smaller stuff in there, I'm pretty sure you can use Draino Foam Snake. Those 2-in-1 liquids are the best! Do not use regular declogger as it does not have the right mix of chemicals to really break down.
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)
Look at the posts on this website re. unclogging a garbage disposal. I used the hint of using baking soda and vinegar. I put it in both the garbage disposal and the sink drain; waited about 20 minutes, and poured in boiling water on both sides. The water went down a little. I used the plunger on the sink side. I then stopped up the sink drain and used the plunger on the disposal side. I needed to repeat the baking soda and vinegar and VOILA! all of a sudden the clogs released. I ran the disposal using hot water and ran hot water down the sink drain. To be safe, I repeated the baking soda, vinegar, boiling water steps. What a relief--the sweet sound of water running freely. All total, took me about 45 minutes. Hope this works for you all. (09/09/2009)
I was a custodian for many years and this works. If you have a clogged toilet, this is the fastest fix. I have used this over the years and always recommend it.
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 you don't have Dawn, any detergent brand name will work. The grease relief in the products do the trick. This saves you money. Also when your clog is removed, swish with your brush any of the left over detergent and your bowl is also clean.
By pmo3ws from Southern IL
Unclogged double kitchen sink with garbage disposal? Easy!
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.
What you will need: rubber gloves, old rag, and disposal rubber stopper.
With rubber gloves on, place the disposal rubber stopper in the sink drain. Turn on your disposal while holding the stopper firm in the sink side (it will have a tendency to "pop out").
Turn on the disposal for a short period (no need to run water; you have enough).
As the water level gets lower, use the rag to cover the disposal drain, it's going to start spitting out water and "junk." The disposal will start filling up with water again, repeat the process until all water is gone.
You may need to do this several times depending on the water level. Be sure your disposal side has the standing water in it before you turn it on or you will burn out the motor.
When all standing water is gone, run the disposal as usual. Done!
No need for a plumber, plunger, snake, or bail out the water with a bucket. Yuck!
Warning! Do not do this if you have used any product such as Drano!
By mare1909 from The Badger State, WI
I had a clogged sink due to potato peelings and carrot peelings. This suggestion never would have worked. The plumbing was really hosed up. What I had to do was open up the plumbing under the sink and then pull all those peelings out. I never use the garbage disposal anymore because of that. My male neighbor helped me get the plumbing under the sink open and he also helped me close it up, but I had to spend quite a bit of time pulling all the junk out of the pipe. (10/26/2009)
How do I unstop my kitchen sink?
Sharmel from St. Louis, MO
It depends on how bad the clog is. I recently had this problem. I tried putting vinegar and baking soda down the drain which is the same as using commercial liquid drain cleaner (but safer and much cheaper). That didn't work because somehow a toothbrush and some drinking straws became lodged in the pipe. I also tried using the plunger while the dishwasher was draining water through the pipes which worked for me on other occasions, but alas not this one.
I discovered the hidden treasures by buying a plumbing snake (plastic drum auger) at the Home Depot. I bought the cheapest one possible which was about $12. Go under the sink and take the pipes apart. Make sure you have a bucket or large bowl underneath to catch any water from the sink if there is any. If the clog is under the sink you'll be able to take care of it without the snake. Otherwise take the snake and unwind it until you feel some pressure. Turn it several times and pull. It's pretty simple. I did it without too much difficulty. I had to pull very hard though.
I thought I was going to break something because I had to stand up to get some leverage. The hidden objects came out and now I put a mesh strainer over the sink drain so no other objects go down the sink. The toothbrush was flushed down the toilet by a 2 year old. Fortunately it was only a baby size toothbrush. Hopefully that will fix your problem.
The unpleasant part for me was cleaning the snake. Hose it off in the driveway and then spray it with WD40. I actually didn't have any WD40 that particular day, so I just used cooking oil, and that worked pretty well too. It's not rusty and I was able to use it again, but I would recommend spraying with WD40. I guess cooking spray might also work if that's all you had. If you put baking soda and vinegar down the drain regularly, it will keep the pipes running smoothly. (10/09/2008)
<img src="/images/feedback_image.lasso?id=89352623" width="90" height="90" alt="RE: Unclogging Kitchen Sink">
Baking soda and vinegar is not an effective substitute for Drano or products like that. Nor will they keep your pipes clean. When you combine them, they bubble nicely, but all that is happening is that the vinegar is combining with the baking soda, and carbon dioxide, water, and salt are being produced. Baking soda by itself will deodorize a drain, and may help to unclog grease clogs if accompanied by boiling water. Vinegar by itself may also be marginally helpful, as it is a slight acid. Boiling water is likely just as effective on its own, to keep a drain clear.
To unstop a clog, your first step is to try the plunger. If you have a double sink, you have to close off the second sink to get anywhere with your plunging. If that doesn't work, then you get a commercial drain cleaner like Drano or the stronger kind that you "shoot" into the drain. If that doesn't work, then it is time to try the snake. Of course, if the clog is caused by something in the drain, like silverware or toothbrushes, then you might just as well go straight for the snake. There is no way something like that is going to dissolve. Most clogs in the bathroom are caused by hair and sometimes you can just pick that out. Clogs in the kitchen are most commonly caused by solidified grease or chunky bits of food stuck in the drain, usually a combo of these. (10/14/2008)
If you can get to the pipes, put a large bucket under the elbow piece. Slowly unscrew it on both ends letting the water drain. Remove the piece completely and more than likely you will find your culprit; in my case a huge clump of grease. (03/01/2009)
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. Buy it in the box, so you don't run out too fast. It kills the little roots that sneak into the drains in the spring time. It really works.
By Ardis Ilene Barnes
What I use is baking soda and vinegar - works wonders! (05/24/2005)
I guess that's ok on sewer lines but if you have a septic tank, it will hurt your drainfield. look at: http://www.septicdrain.com. They have info on what will help your drains. (07/30/2005)