A clogged kitchen sink can be dreadful.
Bits and pieces of leftover veggies and proteins on dirty water aren’t the most visually appealing scene, and having to work around all that mess is even more gut-wrenching.
It’s better not to think or even talk about the smell.
Unfortunately, if you have a sink then it’s bound to get clogged once in a while. Not to worry, clogged sinks can be unclogged very easily and quickly.
A. Reasons Why Your Sink is Clogged
There’s a saying that “prevention is better than cure”.
If you know what’s causing the problem then it’ll be better to prevent it or at least reduce the chances of your sink getting clogged again in the future.
Your drainage system isn’t a black hole. It’s obviously relieving to know that all those hard-to-remove grains of food will disappear down the sink along with the water.
But, unfortunately, this usually leads to a blocked drain.
Over time, the debris begins to build up within the pipes and garbage disposal until finally, water can no longer pass through.
A good indicator that it’s time to clean out the pipes before it’s too late is when the water in your sink takes longer to drain.
Turn off garbage disposal, get the necessary equipment and start cleaning!
B. Prevent Clogging
As I said, better safe than sorry! How you choose to use your sink and the methods you use for cleaning play a crucial role in preventing your sink from clogging.
- Regularly clean your sink to prevent the build-up of leftover food.
- Don’t depend heavily on the garbage disposal system. Of course, it’s there to clean, but even that has a certain limit. Before cleaning your dirty dishes, dispose of large chunks of food (a little bigger than a regular crumb) and then proceed to wash.
- Get a dishwasher to minimize the use of the sink to do dishes. Let’s face it, we’re all human and sometimes we just want to get things done fast. A dishwasher does just that, and it will also help keep your drainage pipes clean for a long time.
- It’s a bad idea to dump oil or anything greasy down the sink too often. Grease build-ups are often stubborn and are a pain to remove even with harsh chemicals.
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C. How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink
Now, let’s look at what to do if your sink is already crying for help.
1. Remove By Hand
Given that the clog isn’t as severe, you can always clean it the old-fashioned way – by using your hands. If there’s a smell and it bothers you, wear a mask.
First, using a strong flashlight, check inside your pipes to locate the source of the clog. Usually, this is easily visible.
Next, wear a pair of rubber gloves, and as I said before, make sure to turn off the garbage disposal system. Reach down and slowly remove the waste.
2. Use Hot Water
The next two methods are recommended when your sink isn’t full of water. Hot water will do the trick if you’re not particularly in the mood for deep cleaning.
Boil water and carefully pour it down the sink. Get the water running to check the drainage flow. Repeat the process as many times as necessary.
3. DIY Chemical Cleaners
If hot water isn’t working and you still want to avoid the hands-on approach, try whipping up some DIY drain cleaner!
Compared to normal cleaners, they are free of toxic chemicals and have been proven to work better.
Again, both the hot water and the chemical methods are quick fixes for relatively mild clogs.
To start, drop about one cup of baking soda down the sink. Follow this up with one cup of white vinegar and then let it do its magic for at least an hour.
Rinse with boiling water and test the sink by running the tap.
If the drainage still looks clogged, repeat the process until you’re happy. No significant changes usually point towards a blockage that is deeper down the drain.
A Plunger is a multifunctional tool that’s good for all kinds of clogs. Place the plunger on the blocked drain so that it forms a tight seal with the sink floor.
When using the plunger, fill up your sink just enough for the water to cover the plunger’s cup.
Thrust the plunger up and down a couple of times. Keep doing this and you’ll be able to fix the sink clog in no time!
5. Use a Plumbing Snake
The quickest way to mend clogs is to use a plumbing snake. Using one of these bad boys on your own is somewhat difficult, but if you do it right, your sink should be up and working in about thirty minutes or so.
First, you will need to place a bucket under your pipes to avoid any liquid from spilling out onto your kitchen floor.
Then carefully remove the pipes and try using a flashlight to take a peek inside.
If nothing is visible, then the blockage is further ahead. You will need a cable of about 12 inches in length.
All you need to do from here is turn the handle until you feel resistance while pushing the cable in.
6. Clean the Drain Trap
Disassemble the p-trap/u-trap, and start by giving it a thorough cleaning. The drain trap is usually right below the garbage disposal, where most clogs can be found.
Just to be safe, you should do this at least once a month – the sink is one of the most used appliances in the entire kitchen, so keeping it clean will ensure your safety and health.
7. Last Resort: Call a Pro
It’s good to know when to call a professional to come and do the job for you.
For instance, if you’re having trouble taking apart the pipes, or the plumbing snake is just too difficult to set up or you just end up flooding your house in the process, call in a plumber to help solve your problem.