Unclog Kitchen Sink: 11 Tips, Tricks & Home Hacks to Clear Clogs

Your kitchen sink is one of your home’s most important plumbing fixtures. So, it can be inconvenient for your daily life when it gets clogged. The kitchen sink clogs and smells bad because food is stuck in it. Either way, it’s important to unclog kitchen sink drains as soon as possible. 

Kitchen sink clogs are common, so many products are available to fix the problem. You can choose between natural or chemical drain cleaners to fix a clogged sink. You can also use other tools like a drain snake.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re in a pesky clog and need remedies fast. You probably have a product to unclog your sinks at home. But keep reading to find different options and instructions on how to use them.

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What Causes Kitchen Sink Clogs? 

Clogs can occur in your kitchen sink for many different reasons. However, they all have to do with putting things, purposefully or accidentally, into your sink that doesn’t belong there. It’s important to find that the source of the clog could alter which method will work best to fix the problem.  

1. Foreign Objects 

One of the first and most common reasons for a clogged kitchen drain is because there’s a foreign object in the drain. Foreign objects can mean anything from a spoon, fork, or eating utensil to a toy your child stuck down the drain without you seeing. Removing these items rather than turning to harsh chemicals manually is best. 

2. Food Particles 

Food particles or products usually cause stubborn clogs in your kitchen sink. They’re as common in your kitchen as hair clogs are in your bathroom. If you have a garbage disposal, you must only put food particles down your drain. Even then, there are restrictions. 

3. Putting Things Down Your Garbage Disposal That You Shouldn’t 

Your garbage disposal isn’t a catch-all for everything you want to get rid of. To avoid damage to your disposal and septic system’s pipes, never put oil, fat, grease, fruit pits, coffee grounds, or fruit skins down the disposal. Grease clogs are prevalent. Many people don’t know grease can ruin their disposal.  

4. Soap Scum 

Clogs in your kitchen drain PVC pipes because soap scum isn’t as common as other clogs but is still possible. 

5. Tree Roots 

Depending on where your house is on your property, a tree root may have grown into your septic tank or drain pipes. This will cause a clog in your sink and all your drain pipes upstream from the tree root. 

No product will effectively remove tree roots from your plumbing system. If tree roots have clogged your main drain from the house to the street of a septic system, you need to call a plumber.

Kitchen Sink Clogged

A kitchen sink clogged is a common plumbing issue that can lead to inconvenience and potential water damage. It occurs when food debris, grease, or other substances block the drain pipe. To unclog a kitchen sink, use a plunger, pour hot water down the drain, or use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. If the problem persists, it may require professional assistance.

What are the Best Products to Unclog a Kitchen Sink Drain? 

Now that you know some possible causes for your clog, let’s dig into the remedies! These remedies include household cleaning products, baking items, tools, and chemical cleaners. 

1. Hot Tap Water 

To get started, it’s always best to opt for the path of least resistance, which is hot water or boiling water. If you only have a slow drain, your clog is likely caused by stubborn food particles stuck in your drain. There’s a good chance that a gallon or so of boiling water dumped straight into the drain could wash your problems away. If this doesn’t work, you should continue down this list to the next option. 

2. Toilet Plunger 

Although it may seem nasty or counter-intuitive, a toilet plunger will work on your kitchen sink the same way on a toilet. Plungers are especially useful if you have standing water in your sink and can’t pour chemical drain openers or cleaners into it. 

A flat-bottomed plunger is best to form a good seal around the sink drain opening. With the plunger firmly in place, move it up and down to create suction within the drain and hopefully jar the blockage loose. A plunger will work on blockages, aside from sticky grease clogs or hair caught in the drain. 

3. Baking Soda 

Many of the options on this list consist of things you probably already have in your home. Baking soda is a dynamic, natural product you can use for various things outside of baking. One of them happens to be unclogging your kitchen sink. 

To use baking soda, you should start by ensuring that you don’t have a complete clog, indicated by standing water in your kitchen sink. While baking soda is powerful, it won’t be able to fight its way through standing or stagnant water. 

Mix one cup of baking soda with a cup of warm water. Next, pour the concoction directly into the sink drain, giving it roughly 15 to 20 minutes to sizzle and do its work.

You can optionally cover the top of the drain to keep fresh air out, but this is optional. You can try this method several times because it could take more than once for stubborn clogs. 

4. A Cup of Vinegar 

Another excellent home remedy is pouring a cup of white vinegar down your clogged drain. Vinegar has the same effect as baking soda in that it slowly eats away at tough clogs without causing damage to your drain lines or plumbing system.

Mix a cup of white vinegar with ½ cup of baking soda. Pour the mixture into your drain to make the best natural drain cleaner.  

5. Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide isn’t quite as effective as vinegar or baking soda, but it’s a good household alternative if you don’t have access to the other two. It’s always good to try natural drain cleaners before opting for harsher options. 

6. Drano Max Gel Clog Remover 

If natural products aren’t fixing your clogged sink drain, it’s time to move on to chemical and commercial drain cleaners. 

One of the best chemical cleaners you can use on your sink is Drano Max Gel Clog Remover. Homeowners and professional plumbers like Drano because it is safe and gentle on plastic pipes. It’s effective on PVC, stainless steel, and metal pipes, but it doesn’t damage plastic is a definite plus. 

Drano products take around 20 to 30 minutes to work their magic, and they do so by melting, eating, and breaking down anything that’s clogging your drain. You can even use Drano Max Gel in bathtub drains clogged with long hair! 

7. Alkaline Chemicals 

Alkaline chemicals can come in the form of household products or store-bought ones. You can unclog your kitchen drain using household items like sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide. 

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8. Green Gobbler 

Another excellent option that receives almost all positive reviews is Green Gobbler. Green Gobbler is a cleaner that uses enzymes to break down clogs into smaller pieces. This process takes longer than other options, but it’s safer for your pipes. 

Green Gobbler is the way to go if you don’t want to use harsh chemicals to unclog a sink or any other drain in your home. The product comes in a large container, or you can opt for individual packs to know you’re putting the right amount into the drain.

9. Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria 

If you have an older septic system and want a cleaner that won’t hurt it, consider using Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria. This option is slightly pricier than most other options, but it’s also the best for protecting your septic tank. It’s a concoction that doesn’t target inorganic or nonorganic materials, meaning your pipes are safe. 

It only goes after hair, soap scum, food particles, and other organic materials. This product comes in powder form and may take several treatments over several days to completely fix your clogged sink. 

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10. Earthworm Family-Safe Drain Cleaner 

Earthworm Family-Safe Drain Cleaner is a natural cleaner that clears current drains and prevents clogs. It’s safe for all piping materials, septic systems, drains, and garbage disposals. Earthworm, despite its name, is a great-smelling drain cleaner.

It helps with clogs caused by food waste, starchy foods, and other factors. This prevents inches of smelly water in your sink. Using Earthworm’s safe and effective solution, remove dangerous chemicals and sewer gases.

11. Drain Snake 

While natural and chemical drain cleaners are effective, they won’t be able to fix all your problems. If, for example, you have a massive and stubborn clog or an object lodged further along in your drain lines, chemicals may not be enough. 

When necessary, you may have to turn to a drain snake to work out your problems like a pro. Here’s how you use a drain snake. 

  1. Start by inserting the head of the snake into the clogged drain. 
  2. Because of how the snake is shaped, it won’t snag clogs or items as it passes by them through the drain. 
  3. Work the snake through the drain. Be careful not to damage your drain trap or pipes. You’ll likely have to wiggle and jiggle the snake to move it around the trap and any bends in the drain. 
  4. Move slow and steady, and don’t be afraid to pull the snake back slightly if you think it gets caught. 
  5. However, try to maneuver the snake around 15 to 20 feet into the drain before pulling it back out completely. 
  6. As you pull the snake out of the drain, it will snag onto any objects or items clogging it. 
  7. You may have to work the snake in and out of the drain several times to ensure you got everything. 

Bonus Tip: Be Preventative 

As with most things, the best way to protect your kitchen drain is to keep clogs from happening in the first place. To do this, make sure you only put things at your disposal that it can handle. You should also keep your drain covered with a wet rag or a drain cover to ensure that nothing accidentally falls in. 

Finally, you should invest in having your plumbing system inspected by a professional plumber once a year. They will be able to notice clogs developing and get rid of them before they have a chance to set in fully. A plumbing professional can also give tips on preventing future clogs and what to do when one happens. 

How To Unclog Kitchen Sink

To unclog a kitchen sink, pour boiling water down the drain. If it’s still clogged, use a plunger to create suction and dislodge the blockage. If that doesn’t work, you can try a mixture of baking soda and vinegar or a commercial drain cleaner.

Unclog Kitchen Sink FAQs

Does vinegar and baking soda unclog my kitchen sink?

Vinegar and baking soda can be used to unclog a kitchen sink. Combining baking soda and vinegar creates a chemical reaction that produces bubbles, which can help dissolve clogs and loosen debris in the pipes.

What can I pour down my sink to unblock it?

To unclog a sink, try boiling water, vinegar, baking soda, or commercial drain cleaners with caution. Avoid caustic soda unless used carefully. Plungers, snakes, and biological drain cleaners are options. Dish soap and a wet vacuum can help with specific clogs.

Why is my kitchen sink backing up?

A kitchen sink can back up due to various issues, such as clogs from food debris, grease, or foreign objects. Backups can happen if there are issues with garbage disposals, vent pipes, pipes, or sewer lines. Design flaws, malfunctions, sink problems, or drainage issues during heavy rain can contribute.

What’s the best natural drain cleaner for a clogged sink? 

You should start with a gallon of boiling water straight into the drain opening to go the natural route. Mixing baking soda and vinegar is your best option if that doesn’t work.

What’s the best chemical drain cleaner for a clogged sink? 

According to online reviews and personal and professional experience, Drano and Green Goblin are two of the best chemical drain cleaners on the market. They work at different speeds and ways, but they’re reliable.

How do drain cleaners work to unclog sinks? 

Regardless of the drain cleaner you use, they all work similarly. They will eat away, dissolve, or loosen clogs. They create a chemical reaction with the clog in question to destroy, loosen, or dissolve it. 

Final Thoughts 

There are many great products and tools to unclog a kitchen sink. They can also be used for bathroom or toilet drains. These methods are effective and least harmful to your plumbing system.

You can use different DIY techniques to clear clogs in sinks and drain holes. Some options include a sink plunger, a wire coat hanger, vinegar, or hot water. These methods work for clogs caused by food scraps in double sinks. Choose the appropriate method, and your sink should be working again.

Do You Need a Licensed Plumber?

Get FREE quotes from licensed Plumbers in your area today. Whether you need a new water heater, a sink repair, or a toilet fixed, We Can Help! All Plumbers are screened, licensed, and insured.

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Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.