How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink?

Knowing how to unclog a kitchen sink is not limited to the plumber or DIY expert. As we will show here, there are actually a lot of methods that you can try out, and no technical expertise is required for any.


The Plunger Method

If the sink is clogged, fill it halfway up with hot water. Place the plunger over the drain. If you’ve got a double sink, place a washcloth over the sink that isn’t clogged to maintain the plunger’s pressure.

The Plunger Method

Work down the plunger and pull it up quickly. See if that causes the water to drain. Repeat several times. Depending on the clog level, this might take several tries.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Don a pair of rubber gloves. Put a bowl beside the clogged kitchen sink and use a cup to remove all the water in the clogged sink. When you’ve emptied the sink of standing water, pour a cup of baking soda into the drain.

If you are having trouble getting the baking soda to go down, use a spatula. Pour a cupful of vinegar in the sink, suing a stopper if necessary. Let the vinegar and baking soda settle for 5 minutes.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Pour warm water into the sink and see if the clog has dissipated. If the clogging persists, pour four cups hot water in the sink. Make sure the water is boiled and if it doesn’t work, pour more vinegar and baking soda, repeating the process.

Clean the Trap

Open the cabinet under your sink and remove any items you put there. Position a bucket below the pipes to catch falling water. Next, remove the trap, the pipe that is under vertical and horizontal pipes.

Use an s screwdriver to remove the PVC. If you’re having trouble unscrewing the pipes, use a channel lock or pipe wrench to detach the connections. Empty the bucket once it gets filled by the water from the trap.

Clean the Trap

Examine the trap for signs of clogging and clean it up. Look for what’s causing the clog in the trap and remove it, then put the clog back on. Turn the water on and check if the water runs. If the clogging persists you’ll need to use a cable auger as described in the next method.

Cable Auger

Take out the horizontal pipe that links the wall stub pipe and the pipe. Drive the cable auger’s end in the stub pipe until you reach a resistance. Draw 18 inches of cable off the pipe and screw it tightly.

Set the handle in a counterclockwise manner and move the cable auger into the pipe. If it catches, turn it counterclockwise before pulling back. If the auger encounters resistance, keep pulling the plug and cranking. Keep doing this until the cable gets the clog.

Cable Auger

Retract the cable and reconnect the trap and horizontal pipe. Don’t tighten the plastic components too hard because they may snap. Turn the water on and check if it drains. If the water slowly runs, fill the sink and use a plunger to remove whatever small clogs remain.

Clogged Garbage Disposer and Kitchen Sinks

If you’re studying how to unclog kitchen sink, you’ll learn that a clogged garbage disposer is a common cause. If the area of the sink where the disposer is located does not drain, use a plunger to remove the clog.

Try turning the disposer on and if there’s a humming sound it is jammed. Turn the disposer off and unplug it. Just manually turn the blades by putting an Allen wrench in the opening at the disposer’s bottom.

Turn on the disposer. If it does not make a sound, a breaker motor probably got tripped. Let the disposer cool for a couple of minutes then press reset. More often that not, the plunger is the first tool that you’ll use if the drain is clogged.

Kitchen Sinks

It is usually effective but only if handled right. Make sure that you’re plunging the hard to get rid of the clog. You should plunge the drain if there’s nothing wrong with the disposer. If you have a dishwasher remember that the drain hose needs to be clamped first.

A plunger is also more effective if there is 4 inches of water in the sink. If there’s standing water in the sink, remove some until there’s 4 inches left, or pour enough water in the sink until it reaches that level.

The key to using a plunger successfully is to vigorously pump. Roll the plunger’s head so the water is forcibly set in the drain.

Apply enough pressure and on your final upstroke, pop out the plunger’s mouth off the drain for additional pressure. The water should now swirl the drain, but if it does not just keep plunging.

Tips and Warnings

  • Remove any items near the sink so water doesn’t get splashed on them.
  • Don’t wait for the kitchen sink to get clogged. Buy the plunger, cable auger and other tools now and learn how to use them.
  • You can use any type of vinegar to unclog the sink.
  • Make sure your garbage disposer and dishwasher are in working condition as it could lead to drain clogging.
  • Plunging can take a few seconds or several minutes depending on the clog. Spread several towels around the sink to catch the spills.
  • Do not use a snake or plunger if you put drain cleaning chemicals in the drain. Plunging might cause the chemicals to spill out, burning your arms.
  • Drain cleaners should only be used if there’s a slow drain and it’s not 100% clogged.


Learning how to unclog a kitchen sink is not as complicated as it seems. Taking the time to figure out how to do this will save time and money so you don’t have to call a plumber.

And there’s also that feeling of satisfaction that you were able to do this on your own. Did you find this article useful? If so, please share this on social media.

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