Kitchen Dilemma Clogged Sink Pipes and Drains

A hand displaying a clogged drain filled with food scrapsThere is never a good time for a kitchen dilemma, but the busy holiday season may be one of the more stressful times to discover your kitchen sink has suddenly decided not to drain anymore. How do you know if a simple kitchen hack will solve the problem or if you need to call in a plumber? Here are a few things you can try to solve that drain dilemma to see if it is serious enough for professional help.

Check the garbage disposal
If the clog is happening on the side of the sink with the garbage disposal, it may be a disposal problem. If the water will slowly drain given some time, allow it to do so. If the water eventually drains, you can inspect the disposal. First, look under the sink and disconnect power to the disposal for safety. Next, use a small flashlight or penlight to look inside the drain for any obstructions or objects stuck in the blades. If all looks clear and unobstructed, plug the disposal back in and locate the reset button. If the disposal provides an instruction sticker for resetting, follow those steps. If the problem appears to be the disposal, professional help is your best. And never ever stick your hands or other objects into the disposal while it is plugged in!

Baking soda and vinegar
It might sound like advice your grandma would give you but the chemical reaction created by mixing vinegar and baking soda is a surprisingly effective clog-buster. Start by carefully pouring 1/3 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by 1/3 cup of vinegar. For extra oomph, use the sink stopper to plug the sink and fill it with water. The extra weight combined with gravity can give an extra boost to this simple remedy.

Boiling Water
Clogs often contain greasy residue or even soap that has hardened mixed in with the clog. A good douse with boiling water can melt the soap or grease and help the rest of the material of the clog break up and drain away. Boil a large kettle of water or a large pot, if a kettle isn’t available. Once you have a strong rolling boil, remove from the stove and pour down the drain about 1/3 of the water at a time while giving several seconds between pours to let the heat melt the greasy or soapy gunk.

Salt and baking soda
Mix together 1/2 cup of ordinary table salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda in a bowl. Pour the salt and soda mixture down into the drain. Set your timer for 20 minutes and boil a kettle of water for the next step while you give the mixture time to start working on the clog. After the 20 minutes is up, pour the boiling water into the drain. The combination of the three ingredients will work to dissolve the blockage.

Plungers aren’t just for toilets! A plunger can also help you fix a clogged sink drain. You’ll want to be careful when using this method as using too much force when plunging a sink drain can damage fixtures, valves, or the pipes themselves. If you have a double sink, plug the opening of the non-clogged side with a wet rag or sink stopper. Fill the clogged side partially with water and then firmly plunge several times before pulling the plunger away and releasing the suction.

If you’ve tried the various clog-busting options above and find that your clogged sink still needs a solution, then it’s likely time to call in a plumbing professional for help.