We've all experienced it at least once – that frustrating moment when you notice your kitchen sink is draining slower than usual or, worse, not draining at all. A foul odor might even be wafting up from the drain. Even if you're careful about keeping food scraps and grease out of your sink, tiny residues can still cling to the pipes and create a clog. Simply washing starchy foods like potatoes, rice, and pasta can contribute to this issue.
While these clogs may initially appear as minor inconveniences, they can quickly escalate into severe grime build-up. Over time, the water pressure in the pipes can become so intense that the pipe bursts. Addressing a clogged kitchen sink immediately is essential. But how exactly do you unclog it?
In this article, we'll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to effectively unclog your sink or when it might be necessary to call in the experts.
Let the pros at Red Cap Plumbing, Air & Electric take care of your drain clearing needs! We treat you like family, offering honest prices and the most courteous, knowledgeable technicians available. Call us or schedule an estimate online.
The first thing you need to do before taking any other steps is to assess the severity of the clog. Most people can clear up the issue of minor clogs without bringing in a plumber or using any caustic chemicals. The clog is probably not very severe if your water is still draining. You can easily approach the problem with some simple fixes.
However, if the sink is not draining at all, or if a foul odor emanates from the drain, you could have a much more serious problem. You can try some simple fixes we’ll review later in the article, but be ready to contact a plumber.
One of the best—and easiest—ways to clear up minor clogs is to flush the drain with hot water. Now, the exact temperature of the water needs to change depending on your pipes. If your drain and pipes are metal, bring some water to a rolling boil and pour it into the drain in a steady stream. However, boiling water may soften or damage the material if the drain attaches to a PVC pipe. In this case, you’ll either need to try another method or use hot top water.
Vinegar and baking soda are the go-to house cleaning items. From the abrasive nature of baking soda to the pure cleansing power of vinegar, there aren’t many messes you can’t address with these items. Start by pouring from a half-cup to a cup of fresh baking soda down the drain. Then, pour in an equal amount of white vinegar. The compounds will then react to a bubbling, fizzing, and debris-destroying solution. Place a rubber stopper or cover over the drain opening to ensure the fluid remains in the pipe. After about 15 minutes, remove the drain cover and run hot tap water down the drain to fully flush out the clog.
Do not use this method after using a chemical drain cleaner, as it may release dangerous fumes.
You have far fewer options when your sink has standing water and isn’t draining at all. One of the easiest and most reliable is plunging. If you have a double sink, you may need to block the unclogged side first.
Before you start, ensure there is enough water in the sink to fully submerge the head of the plunger. Small clogs typically only need a cup plunger, a common tool with a flat rim. Place the cup of the plunger over the drain opening and press down to form a seal. Quickly plunge up and down for about 30 seconds, keeping the plunger fully submerged at all times. Stop and remove the plunger to see if you’ve removed the clog. If not, try again for another 30 seconds. If the clog is still present after all of this, you’ll need to try another method or contact a professional.
Generally, there’s no wrong time to call in a professional. If you have what could be a minor clog, but you don’t want to make a mistake, that’s a perfect time to call a plumber. On the other hand, if you’ve attempted some of the various techniques we’ve talked about here but didn’t see an improvement, a plumber has the expertise and tools to solve your issue.
That being said, sometimes you should call a plumber immediately before attempting anything yourself. This would typically be necessary if there are other drain issues in your home, the pipes are making strange noises, or overpowering odors are coming from your drains. These issues could indicate a far more severe problem beyond your kitchen sink.
Just give Red Cap Plumbing, Air & Electric a call. Or you could just schedule online! Our expert technicians can resolve the issue no matter what is wrong with your drain. We know how important it is to get these jobs done quickly, so we even offer a guarantee that we’ll be there on time—or we’ll credit you $100 toward current or future service.