Kitchen sinks house some of the most disgusting clogs known to plumbers. Many a plumber has stories of year-old organic debris that has accumulated and then blocked a kitchen drain.
You can both prevent and fix a clogged kitchen sink on your own if you have the right tools and instructions and hopefully save yourself your own gag-inducing story.
Keep reading to learn the basic steps in how to fix a clogged sink.
Preventing Clogged Drains
You can best solve a clogged drain problem by never having one. Let your loved ones know that they should only allow water to go down your kitchen drain. Do not attempt to shove handfuls of organic debris like potato peels or strawberry hulls into your sink drain
Save the organic matter for your compost pile and run just water down your drain. Regularly run hot water into your sink drain to clean out any debris that might stick to the sides of the pipes.
How to Fix a Clogged Sink
When all preventative methods fail and your sink still clogs, you have several options for how to approach it before you call a plumber. Try these strategies to unclog your drain.
1. Clean the Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals often play a big role in clogged drains. Run hot water into your garbage disposal and turn on the disposal. If your disposal has overheated or malfunctions, it won’t even turn on.
In this case, activate your reset switch to reboot it. If the disposal does not turn but rather hums with a low sound, you have a jammed or broken unit. Do not attempt to remove or work on your disposal until you unplug it, and never stick your hand in the disposal with it plugged in.
Once you’ve unplugged the disposal, attempt to manually unclog it by reaching your hand in and clearing out the debris. If this does not work, call a plumber.
2. Plunge the Drain
Plungers work on more than toilets. Once you’ve cleared out the disposal and discover you still have a clog, use a clean plunger to attempt to dislodge the clog.
Start by filling your sink halfway full with hot water. Set your plunger over the drain and begin plunging the drain up and down several times. Pull out the plunger to see if the water drains.
Try this method several times. If it does not work, move on to a different method.
3. Go All Natural
If grease or soap residue has built up and clogged your drain, your pipes just need some boiling water to loosen the blockage. Bring a half-gallon of water to a boil and then slowly pour it into your drain opening. Turn on your faucet and see if the water will drain normally.
If the water does not drain steadily, try boiling more water and repeat the method. If this still does not work, try a different method.
You can also attempt to break up a clog with baking soda and vinegar. Follow these basic steps:
- Dip out the standing water from your sink using a ladle, bowl, or cup.
- Pour an entire cup of baking soda down your drain. Push the powder into the drain with a spoon or spatula.
- Pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain over the baking soda.
- Put a cover or stop over the drain to seal it.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and walk away.
- Take off the cover and run hot water down the drain.
If you’ve had some success, repeat the method and see if you make more headway. The chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar will eat away at your clog. If not the method does not work, either contact a plumber or try a different method.
4. Check Your P-Trap
You may have a blockage in the P-trap under your sink that the regular methods will not reach. Your P-trap is the elbow-shaped pipe that sits just under your sink. Often the P-trap will hold debris that slows down the regular drainage.
If you’re confident in your plumbing skills, you can disassemble the pipe with the blockage. This process is a messy process, so wear goggles and gloves, and have a drainage bucket and towels ready.
- Put a bucket under the P-trap to catch water and debris that comes from the pipe.
- Unscrew the trap’s connectors, and remove the P-trap.
- Clean the P-trap out by running water through it and scrubbing it with a brush
- Reconnect the P-trap.
- Run water through the pipe with your bucket underneath to make sure you reconnected the pipe securely.
If you still have a clog after doing all of these methods and removing your P-trap, it’s time to call the plumber.
When To Call a Plumber
A big mess of backed-up water means you have a clogged kitchen sink that the average person cannot handle. Your inner stubbornness might believe that you can still fix this yourself and do not need a plumber.
But truthfully, any time is a good time to call a professional, especially when you’re dealing with something as precarious as your plumbing. Here are a few of the more obvious signs that you need to give the professionals a call:
- More than one drain has backed up
- You can smell sewage
- A plunger won’t clear the drain
- You do not have the adequate tools, like a drain snake, to fix the problem
There’s no shame in calling local plumbers to fix your clogged kitchen sink. They have the training and experience that will fix your problems quickly.
Don’t Panic Over Clogged Sinks
Now that you know how to fix a clogged sink, you have no reason to worry or panic. Just follow the basic steps for fixing the clog. Check your garbage disposal, try some natural methods, and release your P-trap.
And if these steps don’t work, you can always call a professional plumber to help unclog your sink. Keep the end goal in mind, and you will find yourself with an unclogged sink in no time.
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