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How To Unclog A Double Kitchen Sink With Standing Water

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

A clogged sink is everyone’s worst nightmare – especially when it’s in your kitchen. 

Sometimes, a clogged kitchen sink drain can lead to your kitchen sink filling with standing water, with bits of food and dirt swimming around without going down the drain.

This can be a lot to handle, and what’s worse is that trying to find a solution that can still unblock your kitchen drain despite all that standing water feels like a nearly impossible task! 

So, if you have found yourself with a double kitchen sink clogged up and filled with standing water or if you just want to be prepared (good for you!) then this is the place to be.

We are going to look at clogged drains and sinks in detail so we can find out what are the best solutions when dealing with a clogged sink filled with standing water. 

This way, you will know what to do in the future and how to tackle the inevitable clogged kitchen sink! 

What Causes Clogged Drains 

Before we even start to look at solutions and methods we can use to unclog a clogged double kitchen sink (see also ‘How To Unclog Your Kitchen Sink‘), it’s important to first understand how and why they occur in the first place! 

So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you are (or probably will in the future) experience a clogged kitchen sink drain (see also ‘ What Is Code For Kitchen Sink Drain Size? ‘). 

Grease and Oils

Cooking with meats and oils often means that your pots, pans and trays are often left with some residue including grease and fats.

Instead of throwing these greases into  the trash in a container, some people try to wash them away down the drain of their sink – which leads to blockages in your sink’s drain and forces a build up of water in your sink. 

When clumps of oil, fat and grease build up in your sink’s drain, they can be a pain to get rid of because of how thick and rich they are.

If you wash your pans straight in the sink without trashing the oils left behind from cooking, then it’s very likely that this is what is causing your sink to block or slow down how quickly the water drains. 

Food Waste

Another common reason why sink drains become clogged is due to food waste being washed down the drain and building up in the pipes.

Because the pipes of your sink’s drain are only supposed to carry water, other things that end down there will build up and cause blockages. 

This goes for food waste. Not everyone scrapes their plates clear of any leftover food before dumping them in the sink.

This means that small clumps of food will build up in the pipes as they should be disposed of in a food waste bin beforehand.

If not, then they will build up in the pipes of your sink because food particles do not dissolve. 

This is why food waste is another huge cause of clogged kitchen sink drains.

Even though you may think that one blob of food won’t cause much harm when washed down the sink, this will build up over time until your sink’s drain is completely clogged with food waste.


This cause for a clogged drain only happens in places where hard water is used in houses, thus making it a pretty difficult cause to identify and solve. 

Hard water contains a lot more minerals than soft water but this can cause problems with all kinds of drains.

The minerals cause a build up of calcium in pipes, which hardens into a chalk-like material that clings to the inside of your pipes.

This builds and builds into a blockage that does not dissolve easily, causing your drain to become clogged as it disrupts the flow of water through your pipes. 

Of course, this issue only affects homes that use hard water.

Small Foreign Objects

And finally, we have small foreign objects. 

Sometimes, things can fall down your sink’s drain that was not supposed to.

A lot of people accidentally lose jewellry down their drain such as earrings or rings, but other small objects can easily fall down and cause a blockage in your sink’s drain. 

Ways To Unclog Your Double Kitchen Sink

How To Unclog A Double Kitchen Sink With Standing Water

Now that you know some of the reasons for a clogged kitchen sink drain, we can now start to look at the solutions on offer.

Obviously, some methods will work better for some clogged drain causes than others so check out the options you have available to you below to see which one works best for your situation. 

The Plunger Method

This method works great when your kitchen sink has become clogged up due to blockages from grease, food or objects.

It does also mean getting down and dirty to fix your clogged sink but it works effectively for sinks with standing water – which makes it a great method to try out if you have a plunger at hand! 

However, for double kitchen sinks, it’s not as easy as just sticking a plunger over one hole and going to town trying to pump the blockage along.

You will need to first plug one side of your sink’s drain because using the plunger on the other to see if it does the job.

If this doesn’t work and the water in your sink doesn’t start going down, then you can try swapping the drains by plugging the other and using the plunger on the previously plugged drain. 

The plunger method works by building up pressure to push the water in your drain downward, forcing the blockage on until it has left the system.

This method works best when standing water is involved, just remember to block the other drain of your double kitchen sink (see gurgling) otherwise the forced water will exit through that drain instead of forcing the blockage through your drain’s system. 

Check The Trap

A very quick and easy way to unblock any sink (including your double kitchen sink) is to remove the trap and unblock it by hand.

However, this is not an ideal solution because it often means getting up close and personal with the blockage in your sink but if it is foreign objects that are blocking your sink’s drain, then this method will let you easily remove the object and return it to the owner. 

To check the trap, you will first need to clear out the cabinet underneath your double kitchen sink and place a large bucket underneath the pipes.

This bucket will catch the standing  water from your sink as you use a wrench to loosen the pipe and ease off the trap. 

Once the trap pipe is off, you can inspect it and find the blockage. Remove it either by hand or by pushing it out using a long object.

While there, you can clear any other build ups of debris or food particles to help prevent future blockages. 

Once done, you can fit the trap back in and run a tap to check that there are no leaks or any blockages remaining.

If your water is running down the drain perfectly, then you can remove and empty the bucket. If not, then check out the plumber’s snake method down below!

The Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution

For sinks that are blocked by mineral build ups in your drain pipes, then use this method as it will help dissolve the minerals, allowing the blockage to be chipped away so the water can travel through the system freely. It can also help with blockages caused by food and oil build up. 

Before you start making the solution, you will need to empty the standing water in your sink.

This will be a tricky job as you will need to empty it out using jugs, bowls, cups – anything you can use to capture the water and transport it to another working drain around your home.

Once that is done, you should be left with access to pour a solution down the drain.  

To make the vinegar and baking soda solution, you will need ⅓ cup of baking soda and place it in a clean jug.

Then, pour in ⅓ cup of vinegar. This will cause the solution to start to fizz as the chemical reaction begins.

Pour it down the drain immediately as this reaction works great at lifting grease, food and minerals up from the sides of your drain pipes. 

Leave the solution to work its magic for at least 15 minutes. The longer you leave it, the more effective it will be so if you can, it’s best to try and leave it overnight and then run your hot water tap to wash through the blockage. 

This homemade solution is a quick, easy fix but works best on smaller blockages. If it doesn’t work on the first try, you can give it another go.

After two or three tries, your double sink’s system should be running normally. If not, then the blockage could be a lot bigger and you will probably need a way stronger solution to shift it. 

The Plumber’s Snake

This method is best used if you have tried to unblock your sink’s drain by cleaning the trap, but couldn’t manage to find the clog.

This usually means that the clog is a lot further down the system and you cannot reach it yourself. 

The best tool to help break down the clog is the plumber’s snake (sometimes also called a drain snake).

This tool is available at all kinds of hardware stores and is much longer than a wire coat hanger (which is sometimes used to push the clog down).

It’s very effective when unblocking a clog made up of fats, oils, or food particles. 

To use your plumber’s snake, unwind it down the drain until you hit the clog, then turn the  handle to help push the clog along.

Once the clog is pushed out, the standing water in your sink should go down. Run your faucet to see if your system has returned to normal. 

Reset Your Garbage Disposal

If your double kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, then perhaps you need to reset it so it can effectively help get rid of a clog caused by food or grease.

Sometimes, good can block the blades and need resetting or loosening to clear away the blockage. 

Find the reset button of your garbage disposal on the device underneath your sink.

If pressing it a few times does not solve the problem, then you will need to grab an Allen wrench to crank the center clockwise until the blades loosen and the blockage moves. 

Use A Chemical Drain Unblocker

A lot of us may instantly jump to using a chemical drain unblocker but this is not always the best choice because some chemical drain unblockers can be harmful to your pipes.

However, some are made using non toxic ingredients and are safe to use. 

So, do your research to ensure that your chemical drain unblocker is safe to use and then, you will have to empty the standing water from your sink using jugs and bowls.

Then, you can pour the chemical drain unblocker down your drain as instructed to on the packaging.

You will only need to use one for a double kitchen sink but if it doesn’t work the first time, try again on the other drain. 

Leave the solution as instructed on the packaging and then wash it through using warm water from the faucet.

Your sink’s system should run through smoothly, indicating that the block is now gone. 

How Not To Unblock Your Drains

So, those are all the methods you can use to unclog your double kitchen sink (see also article on why your kitchen sink gurgles) – but sometimes, you may want to try out a method that causes more damage.

Check out the advice here to avoid making any massive mistakes when trying to unclog your drain. 

Do Not Use Boiling Water

Warm water is great for dissolving and breaking down blockages but this fact leads many to try pouring boiling water down their sinks to try and break it up even more quickly.

However, this is a bad idea – the heat from  the boiling water helps damage and distort your sink’s pipes, causing cracks and leaks. 

So, don’t use boiling water to clean your sink. Instead, use hot or warm water but never freshly boiled water. 

Do Not Use Very Strong Chemical Unblockers

Some cheap drain blockers contain highly toxic ingredients that are not only dangerous to humans and the environment, but they also cause massive damage to your pipes. 

This includes ingredients such as bleach, hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide.

Not only do these cause corrosion in the pipes (causing more blockages in the future) but they also cause a lot of head when they react.

This heat can cause distortion to your pipes, increasing the chances of the pipes splitting or cracking. 

Instead of using these very strong chemical unblockers, you can instead find a drain unblocker that uses non toxic chemicals.

Also, bio-enzymatic drain cleaners are a great safe alternative to clean your pipes from blockages.

Try out these alternatives instead of putting your pipes at risk by using a dangerously strong chemical unblocker. 


And those were all the methods you can use to unblock your double kitchen sink! 

Remember to try and block one drain when using a plunger on the other and to remove the standing water so you can try out different solutions down your drains. 

If none of these methods are working, then perhaps it’s time to call in a plumber.

Their expert opinion and access will help solve the issue and recommend a much more efficient solution that they can use their skills and tools to do. 

Good luck!  

author avatar
Anthony Barnes
Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age


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Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases. When it comes to dealing with clogged drains, many homeowners turn