How To Unclog Your Kitchen Sink: 7 Simple Ways To Clear A Drain Fast

How To Unclog Your Kitchen Sink: 7 Simple Ways To Clear A Drain Fast

Anthony Barnes

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How often does your sink clog? If you don’t have a plunger handy, you’ll want to know these seven quick fixes to get rid of clogs without calling a plumber.

Often when we get a clogged sink, especially in the kitchen, we can be left questioning why.

Sinks can become clogged with food particles, hair, soap scum, or even rust from old pipes. All of these possible causes can cause water to back up into the sink, causing damage to appliances and fixtures.

Most Common Causes Of A Clogged Drain

Here are some common causes of clogging drains (see also ‘Drain Clogged With Hair: 5 Simple Tips to Dissolve it‘) and how to fix them.

1. Food Clogs

If you’re like most people, you probably find yourself reaching for the garbage disposal more than once every week.

Unfortunately, this also means that your kitchen sink is likely to be full of leftover food debris at least twice each month. You should try to empty your disposal often to prevent any issues or smells.

If you notice any discoloration in your drain line, it may indicate that something is blocking it.

You should clear out your sink regularly so that you won’t need to call a professional plumber as soon as the problem arises.

2. Hair Clogs

Hair can build up over time in your sink drain if you aren’t cleaning it properly.

To prevent this, make sure to clean your sink thoroughly after washing dishes. Use a brush to remove all loose dirt and hair before running cold water through the drain.

3. Soap Scum

Soap scum builds up on sinks because it tends to stick to surfaces. The best way to keep soap scum, which can be caused by hand soap and dish detergents, from building up in your sink is to use hot water when washing dishes.

Hot water will help loosen soap scum and rinse away any residue left behind by dish detergent.

4. Rust

Rust buildup in the sink can occur if there isn’t enough oxygen in the air.

Make sure to turn off your faucet while rinsing dishes and avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach when cleaning your sink.

5. Grease

Grease can clog your sink drain if not removed quickly. Try pouring boiling water down the drain to dissolve grease.

Then, run cold water through the drain until the water runs clear again.

6. Hard Water Buildup

Hard water can build up in your sink over time. It occurs when minerals remain in the water after it passes through pipes.

These minerals can create limescale deposits inside your sink, which can eventually block your drain.

To prevent hard-water buildup, add one cup of baking soda to your regular water supply.

Let the mixture sit overnight, then flush the drain with warm water. Repeat this process weekly until no more limescale remains in the drain.

7. Tree Sap

Tree sap and other plant matter can build up in your drain line if you leave your sink uncovered for long periods.

Remove tree sap from your sink by pouring vinegar down the drain. Rinse with cold water, then pour boiling water down the drain.

You can also try adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to your sink. Let it sit overnight, then run cold water through the sink. Repeat this process weekly to prevent future clogs.

How To Unclog Your Kitchen Sink

How To Unclog Your Kitchen Sink

If you aren’t sure which of the above causes may be the reason why your kitchen drain is clogged then try these seven simple ways to clear a drain fast, no matter what the cause is these seven simple hacks are sure to make a difference and fast.

1. Check Your Garbage Disposal

The easiest way to unclog your sink is to check your garbage disposal.

This tool can easily get stuck or jammed if food particles are caught in the blades. Clean the blades with a toothbrush and some white vinegar.

2. Run Cold Water Through Your Sink

If you have a slow drain, you can speed things up by turning on the cold water tap.

Pour a small amount of liquid dish soap into your sink, then run cold water over it. This will break up any soap that may be blocking your drain.

3. Add Baking Soda To Your Sink

If your sink still doesn’t drain well, try pouring a few cups of baking soda down the drain.

Leave it in place for about 30 minutes, and then run cold water through your sink to flush out the baking soda.

4. Pour Boiling Water Down Your Sink

Pour boiling hot water down your sink to dissolve grease and soap scum. Pour a bit of liquid dish soap into the bottom of your sink, then fill the rest of the sink with boiling water.

When the water cools down, run it through your sink to remove any remaining soap scum.

5. Use Vinegar To Unclog Your Sink

Vinegar works great at dissolving soap scum and grease. Just pour a small amount of vinegar down the drain, let it sit for a couple of hours, and rinse away the residue.

6. Use A Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake is an inexpensive tool used to clear clogged sinks and toilets. To use a plumbing snake, attach the end of the snake to a garden hose.

Turn on the faucet while running the water, and slowly insert the snake into the drain. Pull the snake back and forth to loosen debris, and then pull it out.

7. Try Using A Wet Vacuum

To avoid damaging your pipes when cleaning your sink, try using a wet vacuum instead.

A wet vacuum uses suction power to suck up gunk from your drain. It’s perfect for removing hair, soap scum, and other debris from your sink.

8. Use A Plunger

To use a plunger to unclog a drain, you’ll need to remove most of the standing water in the sink.

Leave about 1″ of water, because this will help with suctions. Use a plunger with a single flat rim. Move the plunger up and then down quickly. 

You may have to do this several times to unclog the drain. Cover the drain on the opposite side of the sink if you have a two-sink basin to prevent the water from leaving one basin and beginning to fill the opposite basin.

If All Else Fails – Call A Professional Plumber

Plumbers can help you solve most problems related to your kitchen sink (see also ‘What Are The Best Kitchen Sinks? Buyer’s Guide & Reviews‘).

If you notice that your sink is draining slower than usual, call a professional plumber immediately. They can fix the problem without causing further damage.

How To Prevent A Clogged Kitchen Sink

How To Prevent A Clogged Kitchen Sink

Here are some useful tips that will help to prevent your kitchen sink and drain from becoming clogged. 

1. Keep Your Sinks Clean

To keep your sink free of dirt and grime, wash them after every use. Make sure to wipe off your countertops as well.

You can also add a drop of dishwashing detergent to your sink to make it easier to clean.

As part of cleaning your sink, you should also clean your faucets regularly. Dirty faucets can attract mold and bacteria, which can cause serious health problems.

After each wash, check your sink for leaks and cracks. These could lead to bigger problems if they aren’t fixed right away.

2. Avoid Putting Too Much Debris Into The Sink

When washing dishes, don’t put too much grease or soap scum into your sink. Grease and soap scum can build up over time and cause blockages.

Instead, pour the excess grease and soap scum into a container, and dispose of it properly.

3. Don’t Overfill Your Sink

When filling your sink, only fill it halfway full. That way, there won’t be enough room for anything to overflow.

4. Keep Up To Date With Maintenance

Household expenses can rack up quickly but by budgeting to maintain your home monthly you will be able to prevent any expensive emergencies from occurring, for the most part.

As part of your kitsch maintenance, we recommend that you have your sink drained annually. This helps prevent major issues like pipe bursts and flooding.

You should also change your sink filter regularly. Doing so will ensure that your sink drains smoothly and efficiently.

If your sink leaks, turn off the water supply before fixing it. Otherwise, you may create more problems by trying to repair these larger issues by yourself.

Seek professional help when needed as often the damage done by uneducated DIY can be more expensive than getting professional help.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide gives you all the information you need to solve and prevent a clogged kitchen sink (see also ‘What Are The Best Kitchen Sinks? Buyer’s Guide & Reviews’) in your home.

By taking our prevention tips on board you should be able to prevent having a clogged sink in the near future. 

If the issues you are having continue to occur and you have been solving them yourself on each occurrence we recommend having a professional take a look as they would be able to assess if the issue is larger and also possibly fix it.

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By 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