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How to Clean a Clogged Kitchen Sink Drain


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Is there anything more frustrating than a clogged kitchen sink? Water backing up, dishes piling up, and that dreaded gurgling sound—it’s enough to drive anyone crazy. But fear not! With a few household tools and some handy remedies, you can tackle this common problem yourself. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to clear a clogged kitchen sink drain and share tips to prevent future clogs. Plus, I’ll help you identify when it’s time to call in a professional plumber.

Step-by-Step Guide to Unclogging Your Sink

1. Clear the Area

First, remove any dishes, food debris, or standing water from the sink. This will give you clear access to the drain and prevent any additional mess.

2. Boiling Water

Boiling water is one of the simplest and most effective ways to dissolve minor clogs.

  • Boil a kettle or pot of water.
  • Slowly pour the boiling water into the drain in two to three stages, allowing the hot water to work for a few seconds between each pour.

3. Check the Garbage Disposal

If your sink has a garbage disposal, it might be the source of the clog.

  • Make sure the disposal is off.
  • Shine a flashlight into the drain to see if there are any visible obstructions.
  • Use tongs or pliers to remove any blockages you can see. Never use your hands!

4. Use a Plunger

A plunger can be highly effective for dislodging clogs.

  • Fill the sink with enough water to cover the plunger’s cup.
  • Place the plunger over the drain and create a seal.
  • Push and pull the plunger vigorously for about 20 seconds.
  • Lift the plunger to see if the water drains. If not, repeat the process.

5. Baking Soda and Vinegar

This classic combination works wonders on clogs caused by grease and organic matter.

  • Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • Follow with 1 cup of vinegar.
  • Let the mixture fizz and sit for about 15 minutes.
  • Flush with hot water.

6. Snake the Drain

If the clog persists, you might need to use a drain snake (also known as a plumber’s auger).

  • Insert the snake into the drain and turn the handle clockwise.
  • Push the snake further into the drain until you feel resistance.
  • Rotate the snake to break up the clog and pull it out.

7. Clean the P-trap

The P-trap is the curved pipe under the sink that can collect debris.

  • Place a bucket under the P-trap to catch any water.
  • Use a wrench to loosen the slip nuts on the P-trap.
  • Remove the P-trap and clean out any debris.
  • Reassemble the P-trap and run water to check for leaks.

Preventing Future Clogs

Regular Maintenance

  • Run hot water down the drain after each use.
  • Use a drain strainer to catch food particles and debris.
  • Avoid pouring grease, coffee grounds, and large food particles down the drain.

Natural Cleaning Solutions

  • Once a week, flush the drain with a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar.
  • Alternatively, use a commercial drain cleaner designed for regular maintenance.

Be Mindful of What Goes Down the Drain

  • Dispose of cooking grease in a container rather than the sink.
  • Scrape food scraps into the trash before rinsing dishes.

When to Call a Professional

Despite your best efforts, some clogs require professional help.

  • If you’ve tried all these methods and the drain is still clogged, it might be time to call a plumber. Licensed plumbers are best in Michigan and in Florida.
  • Recurrent clogs could indicate a more significant issue with your plumbing that needs expert attention.
  • Unpleasant odors, slow drainage in multiple sinks, or backflow issues are signs that a professional assessment is necessary. A local handyman in the area is good too.


Unclogging a kitchen sink drain doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these simple steps and preventive measures, you can keep your sink flowing smoothly. Remember, regular maintenance is key to avoiding future clogs. However, don’t hesitate to call a professional if you’re dealing with a stubborn or complex blockage. These are some of the best tips we found for how to clean a clogged kitchen sink drain.

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