Clogged kitchen sinks are the worst. Just watching that dirty water sitting there is enough to throw up your hands and avoid the kitchen, hoping the problem will fix itself (it won’t).
There are a few simple, lost-cost methods for unclogging a kitchen sink, including using a plunger, snake/auger, or baking soda/vinegar mixture with hot water. If you have a garbage disposal, you should also check the appliance for a blockage.
Four easy ways to unclog your kitchen sink
1. Flat-rim plunger
Using a flat-rim plunger is perhaps the simplest approach to unclogging your kitchen sink. To plunge your sink, remove most of the standing water from your sink and leave enough water in the sink to help with suction. Keep a water-tight seal around the drain hole. Move the plunger up and down rapidly. Do this several times or until the water starts to recede.
Please note: If you happen to have a two-basin sink, plug the drain of the side you are not actively plunging.
2. Plumbing snake or wire coat hanger
A snake (also known as an auger) is a time-testing plumber’s tool. The thin cable is inserted in the drain and extended through the pipe to break up the clog. You can find handheld snakes at your local home improvement store. You can also try the plumbing snake’s homemade cousin – a wire coat hanger that’s unraveled and straightened so it can fit through the drain.
Just be careful not to apply too much pressure, or you could damage the pipe.
3. Hot water (plus baking soda and vinegar)
Did you know that hot water can help with minor clogs? To use this method, remove standing water from the kitchen sink and pour hot (but not boiling) water into the drain. In most cases, the water drains instantaneously. If the water doesn’t drain quickly, wait about 30 minutes and try again. Feel free to repeat the process several more times before trying something else.
To add some more “oomph,” you can add a mixture of equal parts baking soda and vinegar to the drain. The fizzy combo will hopefully dislodge the blockage. After a few minutes, follow up with the hot water.
4. Check your garbage disposal
Sometimes, the problem lies with your garbage disposal. Start with an inspection of your garbage disposal check to see if any clingy food is stuck inside. You can also run your garbage disposal to loosen any clogs that exist in the drain pipe.
When to call a plumber to unclog a kitchen sink
If none of these methods work, you have a stubborn clog on your hands. Instead of adding to your frustration and potentially inflicting more harm on your plumbing, bring in a licensed plumber for professional drain cleaning service.