13 Best Products to Unclog a Kitchen Sink 

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Hubert Miles

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Your kitchen sink is one of your home’s most important plumbing fixtures. So, when it gets clogged, it can be extremely inconvenient to your daily life. Kitchen sink clogs also tend to stink because there’s usually food in the sink that’s either the cause of the clog or getting held up by the clog. Either way, it’s important to fix the clogged drain as soon as possible. 

Because of how common kitchen sink clogs are, many products are available to help remedy the problem. You can choose between natural and chemical drain cleaners and many other concoctions and tools to fix your clogged sink.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re in the middle of a pesky clog and need remedies fast. There’s a good chance that at least one of the products you can use to unclog your kitchen or bathroom sinks is already in your home. However, keep reading this article for multiple 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.  

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. 

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. 

Putting Things Down Your Garbage Disposal That You Shouldn’t 

Like I just said, your garbage disposal isn’t a catch-all for everything you want to get rid of. You should never put oil, fat, grease, fruit pits, coffee grounds, fruit skins, and many other things through your disposal because it could damage the disposal and your septic system’s pipes. Grease clogs, in particular, are extremely common because many people don’t realize that grease can ruin your disposal. 

Soap Scum 

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

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 of 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.

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. 

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. However, if this doesn’t work, you should continue down this list to the next option. 

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. 

Using a flat-bottomed plunger to form a good seal around the sink drain opening is best. 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. 

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 that you can use for various things outside of baking. One of them just happens to be unclogging your kitchen sink. 

To use baking soda, you should start by ensuring that you don’t have a complete clog, which gets 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. 

Start by mixing one cup of baking soda with a cup of warm water. Next, pour the concoction directly into the sink drain and give 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. 

A Cup of Vinegar 

Another excellent home remedy is to take a cup of white vinegar and pour it 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. To turn vinegar into the best drain cleaner in terms of natural products, mix a cup of white vinegar with a ½ cup of baking soda and pour the mixture into your drain. 

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 different drain cleaners that are natural before opting for harsher options. 

Drano Max Gel Clog Remover 

However, 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. Drano products have been a favorite for homeowners and professional plumbers alike and are one of the safest and gentlest options for drains with plastic pipes. It’s just as 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. While it’s not too harsh to damage plastic, you should always wear rubber gloves anytime you use chemicals to clean your drain. You can even use Drano Max Gel in bathtub drains clogged with long hair! 

Alkaline Chemicals 

Alkaline chemicals can come in the form of household products or store-bought ones. For example, sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide are household items that are also alkaline chemicals that you can use to unclog your kitchen drain. 

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09/20/2023 11:04 pm GMT

Green Gobbler 

Another excellent option that receives almost all positive reviews is Green Gobbler. Green Gobbler is an enzymatic cleaner that works by creating a chemical reaction where the cleaning product breaks down clogs into manageable bits. This process takes longer than other options on this list, but it’s also 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. This product comes in a large container, or you can opt for individual packs to know you’re putting the right amount into the drain. 

Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria 

If you have an older septic system and want a cleaner that won’t hurt it, you should consider using Bio-Clean Drain Septic Bacteria. This option is slightly pricier than most other options on this list, but it’s also the best for protecting your septic tank. It’s a concoction that doesn’t target inorganic or nonorganic materials, meaning that 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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09/21/2023 04:03 am GMT

Earthworm Family-Safe Drain Cleaner 

Earthworm Family-Safe Drain Cleaner is a natural, enzyme-based drain cleaner that’s great at fixing current issues and preventing future clogs from happening. It’s also a good all-around option because it’s safe with all piping materials, septic systems, drains, and garbage disposals. Despite its name, Earthworm is also one of the best-smelling drain cleaners you can have. 

Drain Snake 

While natural and manmade 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 that’s gotten 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. 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 that are clogging the drain. 
  7. You may have to work the snake in and out of the drain several times to ensure you got everything. 

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 down at your disposal that it’s capable of handling. 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. 

Related Questions 

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. However, if that doesn’t work, mixing baking soda and vinegar is your best option. 

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 either eat away at, meltdown, dissolve, or loosen clogs. They create a chemical reaction with the clog in question to destroy, loosen, or dissolve it. 

Final Thoughts 

As you can see, there are many excellent products and tools to unclog a kitchen sink. Most of these products can also get used on bathroom or toilet drains and will cause the least harm to your plumbing system while having the most effect. If you use the right product for your specific clog, one of these DIY methods should have your sink working again in no time. 

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.

Get a FREE Quote Today
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Photo of author

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting professional home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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