How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink Drain: A Comprehensive Guide

In this blog post, you’ll read:The kitchen sink is a staple of everyday use, making it essential for it to function optimally. At the heart of its functionality lies the kitchen sink strainer, a mesh-like apparatus designed to trap unwanted debris and prevent it from going down the drain and causing blockages. It’s a simple tool, but it plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth flow of water and preventing unwanted backups. However, even with the best sink strainers, clogs can still occur. Here’s a detailed guide to help you tackle those pesky blockages.

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The kitchen sink is a staple of everyday use, making it essential to function optimally. At the heart of its functionality lies the kitchen sink strainer, a mesh-like apparatus designed to trap unwanted debris and prevent it from going down the drain and causing blockages. It’s a simple tool, but it plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth flow of water and preventing unwanted backups. However, even with the best sink strainers, clogs can still occur. Here’s a detailed guide to help you tackle those pesky blockages.

Dirty In Sink Strainer
Dirty In Sink Strainer

Introduction to the Kitchen Sink Strainer

Role and Importance

The kitchen sink strainer is your first line of defense against clogs. Positioned over the drain, its primary role is to filter out large debris, such as food particles, that might cause blockages further down the line. Regular cleaning of the strainer can prevent many clogging issues, saving you time and money in the long run.

Types of Strainers

There are various types of strainers available:

  • Drop-in strainers are placed in the sink’s drain and can be easily lifted out for cleaning.
  • Screw-in strainers have a threaded base that screws into the sink drain, ensuring they remain in place.
  • Basket strainers come with a more bottomless basket, catching more debris, and are particularly suitable for sinks without garbage disposals.
basket strainer parts
basket strainer parts

Maintenance Tips

  • Regularly check and empty the strainer of trapped debris.
  • Once a week, clean it with warm soapy water and a brush to remove any trapped grease or soap scum.
  • For stainless steel strainers, avoid using abrasive scrubbers to prevent scratches.

Common Causes of Kitchen Sink Clogs

Grease Buildup

One of the primary culprits is the accumulation of grease. Oils and fats, when washed down the sink, tend to solidify over time, sticking to pipe walls and trapping other debris.

Food Particles

Even with a strainer, tiny food particles, especially starchy foods like rice and pasta, can slip through and create blockages.

Foreign Objects

Sometimes, non-food items, such as small utensils, bottle caps, or children’s toys, can accidentally fall into the drain, leading to clogs.

Soap Scum

Over time, soap combined with minerals in water can leave deposits on pipe walls, narrowing the passage and making clogs more likely.

We will not feel good when we wash the dishes; the water is no longer draining. Unclogging a kitchen sink drain is more straightforward than most people think. The standing water means kitchen sink pipes are clogged with different food materials. We need a small effort to fix the problem with tools and methods in some normal conditions. Yet, we must follow all the steps in severe conditions until we call the plumber. Once we unblock the sink, it’s vital to prevent the blocking of the sink in the future. Here are the essential points to follow to unblock the sink drain. In most of my experience, unclogging a kitchen sink drains a mixture of more than one of these techniques.

The entire process could take ten minutes to over an hour to clear and stop the channel. Contingent upon the idea of the blockage. The work can be messy, and the mind should use it. I am considering the synthetic substances involved. Although, sprinkles can consume skin or are more grievous.

A stopped-up kitchen sink channel requires ominous activity. An assortment of things can bring about blockages. In any case, including food sources, for example, coffee grinds. It may also be fat from meats like bacon and faded food varieties like rice and pasta.

Standard Size of Kitchen Sink Drain with a Hole Size

The standard size of the kitchen sink drain is 3 ½ inches in diameter. Its size is more significant than bathroom drains. The typical bathroom sink drain size is 1 ¼ inch in diameter. The kitchen sink drains are the same as the standard shower drains. The size of the hole drains is 1 ¼ in diameter. We can also find a diameter of 1 ½ inches or more.

Sink strainer diagram
Sink strainer diagram

How to Unclog the Kitchen Sink Drain?

We might have to follow these methods and rehash them several times to unclog the sink. Also, if the kitchen sink has a waste disposal, run it before we crush any food that could sit there. Here are the most effective ways to unclog the sink and send the stagnant, stinky water away.

Essential Ways to Unclog a Kitchen Sink Drain

  • Remove all standing water
  • Check the garbage disposal
  • Use the plunger to unlock the clog.
  • Clean the P trap
  • Use a Plumber snake
  • Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

1) Remove all the Standing Water from the Clog Kitchen Sink

Standing water occurs when water runs into the sink after the clog. Put the rubber gloves on and bail out the extra water with a cup, jag, or vessel. It will help us to clear standing water from the drain. With the aid of a hand, remove the waste in and around the sink. If garbage is in the sink drain, do not put your hand or finger near the blades. At times, it is clearing the waste by hand. It takes a while to fix the problem, but it takes a further step.

kitchen strainer
kitchen strainer

2) Put a Boiling Water

Boiling water, may all pipes need to loosen the clog? Apply boiling water when grease, hair, and soap residue are stuck in the drain. It implies the first step toward unclogging the kitchen sink drain. Following are the critical steps to open the blockage with boiling water.

  • On the stove, boil the half-gallon of water in the kettle.
  • Put the boiling water into the channel opening.
  • Turn on the faucet to explore whether the water is running steady.
  • If drainage or standing still in the sink, repeat the process more.

Important note: Never try this method if the channel attaches to PVC pipe. Boiling water causes damage to the PVC pipe.

In severe conditions, boiling water fails to unlock the blockage. So, in this case, if boiling water fails to open the clog, try another method.

3) Check the Garbage Disposal

If the sink is a garbage disposal, you must examine it for blocks. With some foods, blockage occurs. To know the cause of the clog, close the removal first. You must switch off the power if you stick anything down the channel. Use the flashlight to see down the drain. Try to determine the kind of clogs. Where the blockage occurs, and what is the reason for the stoppage? It will assess the tools and methods. Most of the food was stuck in the blades.

If something other than jewelry sticks in the garbage, call a plumber. Try breaking up the waste and turning on the disposer blades if it is the food. The manual operator is at the disposal base and works with the Allen key. Mention the disposal manual for complete guidelines.

Apply pliers to remove any loose food waste. If the disposer still clogs, we need to apply a plunger. It may be workable to end the disposer for checking. Make sure to pinch any connections to the dishwasher first. Never use any chemical cleaners with the disposer. These chemicals cause damage. If the issue is not the disposer, we must try another method.

Attention: Never stick your hand in the garbage disposer. It has sharp blades which cause serious injury.

SS Sink Strainer
SS Sink Strainer

4) Apply a Plunger

There are three kinds of plumbers;

  • The accordion plunger
  • The toilet plunger
  • The classic flat bottom sink plunger

For this purpose, we apply the flat bottom plunger.

How to Unclog the Kitchen Sink Drain Using a Plunger

Use the plunger to drain the standing water in the sink. Always use a neat and clean plunger. It is good to keep the plunger below the sink for this purpose. If we have a double side sink, plug the other side before starting. It would help to keep the seal intact. And stop any water from splashing out the other side. Put the flat bottom sink plunger over the drain in the sink.

Create the suctioning effect and firmly pump down until the water clears. All the standing water will drain out from the sink. To make sure it is clear, run fresh water down the drain. If the sink is unclear, I need to apply the plunger again.

Caution: Be careful pumping the drain to bring more water and food to the kitchen sink. The aim is to send the food by the channel. So, avoid pumping up fast unless you want a mess.

The video from jeffostroff

5) Clean a P trap

There may be a blockage in the P trap if the water is still not draining. Aka, the elbow-shaped pipe below the sink. Grease, food, and other waste stick in the tube. These blockage materials cause the sink to drain or not at all. It is due to the water hitting a snag on its path down. The hit is stripping the pipe to clean out the gunk, which causes the sink blockage. 

Bottle Waste P-trap
Bottle Waste P-trap

Warning: This task brings a little confusion. So it would assist if we prepared with towels, goggles, and gloves. Start these steps to clean the P trap when we design.

  • Put the pail below the pipe. It will catch the backwater or debris while opening the P trap. 
  • Remove the connectors on the trap. It keeps the curve part horizontal and vertical channel pipe. The lip nut on the end of the P trap. 
  • Remove the P trap and clean all debris, residue, and grime pipe. 
  • Reattach the trap.
  • Turn on the spigot to run water in the channel. 

The block may be beyond the pipe if the drainage condition is still not better. Back below the sink, we find the cause of the blockage. Here is what to do when we attain here:

  • Repeat the steps to end the p-trap
  • Remove the horizontal pipe that joints the system to the wall. Fee a plumber’s snake auger into the wall pipe. 
  • When we feel a barrier, apply the tool to remove the blockage from the tube. 
  • Repeat all the procedures till you remove the debris.
  • Reattach the P trap and pipes. Close the connectors by hand. 

Do not over-tight because it causes the crack of the connectors. After this, apply the hot water to the channel. Check the sink while the water is running to ensure no leakage from the pipes. If we do not find any leakage, ensure all connectors are tight.

Once we are free from drips, dry any spillage below the sink. Our sink has a significant issue if these sink drains are still not working. It’s time to organize a meeting with an experienced plumber to unclog this.

The video BrabantWonen

6) Apply Plumbing Snake

A plumbing snake is one more convenient device to help separate hard-to-reach obstructions. Plumbing snakes are compliant and can be tracked with the piping angle. It would do without causing plumbing damage.

We’ll need to use a plumbing snake to detach the p-trap under the sink. Place a little bucket under to support water; it doesn’t make a wreck in a cabinet. Explore the line and check whether we can see the hindrance. That implies it’s far away when you can’t, further down the pipe. It is the perfect time to use the plumbing snake.

Push the pipes snake into line until we feel obstruction from the stop. Ensure that the plumbing snake goes down at the interface of the T-fitting and not the alternate way.

When we feel to reach the clog, we can fix the screw toward the front of the snake. Then, at that point, we’ll turn the wrench clockwise while pushing the link forward. This should break the obstruction and solve clogged drain woes.

7) Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

This method keeps away the use of synthetic cleaners. All we want is one cup of vinegar and baking soda. Baking soda and vinegar are the most effective ways to unclog the kitchen sink drain.

  • To begin with, mess bubbling water. Then, when driving the baking soft drink down the sink channel. Use a spatula if essential. Allow it to settle for 5-10 minutes.
  • Then, sans vinegar into the channel. Put the plug into the sink, driving the vinegar toward the clog and blocking the mixture from returning up.
  • Finally, flush the channel with bubbling water once more.
  • This strategy doesn’t work, yet it deserves trying.

Baking soda and vinegar in the mix can, in some cases, work about unblocking obstructions. The baking soft drink is added first, followed by the vinegar. The stopper should then push in to contain the after-comeback.

The Major Signs of a Clogged Sink Drain

The primary issue that we will see is slow seepage. The water will slow down the channel when we turn on the spigot—later, a period when this does not fix. The water will start to back up, and seepage may stop. In this way, the better the moment we can unclog a sink.

Standing water is unclean and makes things messy. It can make it harder to determine the idea of the blockage.

kitchen waste plumber system
Kitchen waste plumber system

What Causes a Kitchen Sink Drain Clog?

If our kitchen sink has a waste disposer, food buildup from washing dishes may cause a clog. Albeit most food types are, in principle, fit for driving obstructs. A few food varieties are a lot more regrettable guilty parties than others. As objected to putting them down in the trash disposes of. It’s an improved method to compost them and discard them.

Food varieties that can cause stops include:

  • Meat or oil (for example, bacon fat) can solidify and get different food sources afterward.
  • Coffee grinds can shape into hard, compacted knots while not depleted.
  • Bland food varieties, like rice, potatoes, and pasta.
  • High-fiber food sources include certain greens, corn husks, and celery.
  • Bones from meat and poultry.
  • Banana strips and pits from natural products like mangos, plums, peaches, and apricots.

Besides the food, many things could cause the kitchen sink to be obstructed. For example, napkins, paper towels, medicines, food covers, bottle tops, hair, or jewels.

Instructions to Prevent a Kitchen Sink Drain from Clogging

Avoidance is often better than fixing. So it would help if we did not manhandle the channel. Be sure not to let the food types recorded above go down the drain.

Still, the issue can and does occur. So, we may wish to put resources into a decent sink sifter. It prevents the sink channel from getting stopped up with food pieces.

double sink strainer
double sink strainer

Tools for this Work

  • Before solving this issue, we must have essential tools for this work. It will save them time and frustration.
  • Nipper
  • Rags
  • Pliers
  • Safety glasses (rubber gloves)
  • Screwdriver
  • Slip joint pliers
  • A Plunger (A chime less, level cup-style by and prominent).

Final Words

We must understand the nature of the clog of the sink drain. It would help to save time. The above-explained necessary and straightforward steps are adopted to solve this issue. It would be fine if we had all the essential tools for the project. Try to do it individually if the condition is not severe. But in case of a technical issue with the kitchen sink drain.

We must call an experienced and professional plumber to unclog the sink. In the future, we need to clean the kitchen drain. Avoid the food material and other debris that cause clog of the sink drain. It would save the time and the cost spent to call the plumber. Always safely perform this action.

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