Have you noticed slow drainage or standing water in your sink? Is there a funky smell around the kitchen sink? Well, it looks likes you have a clogged sink on your hands. It happens to every homeowner at one point; the question is how to go about unclogging the drain? In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive answer.

Before you run to the store to buy a cleaning product filled with who knows what, why not try natural remedies? You might be tempted to call in a plumber to handle the situation, but this can be solved by simple techniques. We will guide you with easy measures for unclogging the kitchen sink, or any sink for that matter. The materials are already in your pantry; all you need to do is put in the effort needed to clear the pipes.

Before You Begin

If you are looking to unclog a sink with a garbage disposal feature, you should start by giving it a whir. The clog might be caused by food scraps stuck in the disposal system. In this case, running the garbage disposal is a good start. If it does not turn on or you hear strange noises, there may be some trouble with the mechanism.

  • The motor may be overworked and overheated. Rebooting the system using the reset switch should turn it on.
  • If you hear a humming sound from your disposal, this could indicate jammed disposal. In this case, plug off your garbage disposal system and fix it.

However, if you find that the garbage disposal is working and unclogged, you can skip ahead to learn how to unclog a kitchen sink.

Unclog your sink

A clogged sink is the last thing you need when you’re doing the dishes. But, the solution isn’t all that complicated. Read ahead to find out the best methods for clearing a clogged sink drain.

Take the Plunge

It’s time to bring out your trusty plunger. This should not be the same one you use for toilet clogs. A cup plunger with a flat rim will work just fine for small clogs.

  • In case of standing water in the sink, use a cup to siphon out excess.
  • Position the cup of the plunger over the kitchen sink’s drain and place it down firmly.
  • With this suction effect, move the plunger up and down in quick movements. Don’t break the seal.
  • Continue plunging until the remaining water begins to drain.
  • Allow tap water to run to clear the drain.

Tip: If you are looking to unclog a double sink, start plunging the other side first. This will prevent water from gushing out from the other sink.

Boiling Water

If plunging doesn’t help, the next best thing is boiling water. It works effectively against grease buildups in the drains by loosening them.

  • Boil half a gallon of water at high heat.
  • Remove standing water from the sink.
  • Carefully pour the boiling water directly into the kitchen sink’s drain.
  • Check if tap water is draining properly now.
  • If not, then let the sink cool and repeat the process.

Tip: Avoid this method if the kitchen sink drains into PVC plumbing.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

A tried and tested remedy for unclogging sinks involves basic pantry ingredients. It’s time to bring out the baking soda and vinegar. If you don’t have PVC plumbing, then it is best to start this technique by pouring boiling water down the drain. If you do have PVC pipes attaches, then it is best to avoid using boiling water.

  • Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  • Chase it with a cup of white vinegar.
  • Let the two ingredients react for 15-20 minutes.
  • Run hot tap water to clear the drain.

Check the P-trap

The P-trap is the U-shaped bend at the end of the sink’s drainpipe. This is usually hidden behind the kitchen cabinetry. If the above-mentioned tricks don’t work, then it is best to check the plumbing for blocks.

  • Place a container under the P-trap to catch debris and water.
  • Detach the connections holding the vertical pipe with the P-trap.
  • Remove the P-trap.
  • Clear the pipe of any food chunks, grease, and grime.
  • Re-attach the trap.
  • Run hot water down the drain to clean the pipes

Watch this video for more help on cleaning the P-trap of your sink.

Use a Plumber’s Snake

The plumber’s snake, called an auger, is a coiled snake-like tool that is extended down the drain to dislodge the blockage. When the snake hits against something in the drain, that is your cue to use the crank handle to detach the clog and pull it out of the drain. If you don’t have this tool, you can fashion one from a wire hanger.

  • Using pliers, unwind the wire hanger into one long piece of wire.
  • Don’t unwind the hanger’s hook. You can adjust its shape to fit the drain.
  • Extend the makeshift snake down the drain until you feel it connect with debris.
  • Use the hook to pull up the obstruction.
  • Run hot water down the drain.

If you don’t find any obstruction and the sink remains clogged, it might be lodged further down the pipe. In this case, remove the P-trap and use the snake tool from the opposite end of the pipe in the same manner.

How to Prevent a Sink From Clogging

To avoid the hassle of dealing with a clogged sink at the most inconvenient times, there are some measures you can take.

  1. Don’t overburden the herbage disposal. Only let 1 cup of waste down the drain.
  2. Allow hot water to run down the drain after each use of the kitchen sink.
  3. There are some waste foods you’re not supposed to throw down the drain. (e.g., coffee grounds, pasta, potatoes, cooking fat, and more.)
  4. Add a mixture of half and half water and vinegar into ice trays. Drop one or two of the resulting ice cubes in the drain occasionally. This will give the sink a fresh scent and the vinegar will keep the piping clean.


A clogged sink drain is not that uncommon of an occurrence. While it may be an inconvenience, unclogging the kitchen sink is a fairly simple process. Follow the methods listed here to get rid of the blockage in your drains. You may have to try more than one of the tips mentioned here before you get an unclogged kitchen sink.

Let us know what worked for you in the comments below.