You need your kitchen sink to work properly—especially as it’s one of the most used drains in your home. From cooking meals for your family to washing up, the kitchen sink could get used upwards of six times a day. That’s 2,190 times a year!
So, when your kitchen sink is clogged, it’s a huge headache for you and your loved ones. Not to mention, a mess we’re sure you’d rather not have to deal with.
To help you combat a clogged sink quickly and effectively—and to give you a few tips on how to prevent future clogs—the expert team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary put together this guide. Not only will you learn some useful DIY strategies for unclogging your kitchen drain, but you will also learn how the pro plumbing team at Mr. Rooter can help.
What Causes a Clogged Kitchen Sink?
Before diving into how to clear up your clogged kitchen sink and/or garbage disposal, it’s helpful to understand how your drain may have become blocked in the first place.
Food and Debris Stuck in the Drain
Since your kitchen is where you and your family are most likely to consume and throw away food, a lot of that waste gets trapped in the kitchen sink. Whether from rinsing dishes, preparing food over the sink or putting too much waste in your garburator, your kitchen sink will get clogged over time. There are actually certain foods that should not be put down the kitchen sink. These include:
Grease Build Up
Because grease becomes solid at room temperature and is not soluble in water, over time grease will accumulate on the inside of your drain and cause a blockage. Additionally, grease is very sticky and other kinds of food and debris could get trapped in it—once again causing you to have a clogged kitchen sink.
It’s much safer to dispose of grease by throwing it in the garbage. The best way to do this is by putting extra cooking grease and oil in a mason jar. Once the jar is full and the grease has solidified, it can be thrown out with the rest of your trash.
Toys and Other Objects
If you have little kids, you may not be surprised to know that toys can become stuck in your kitchen drain or garbage disposal. Perhaps your little one was playing around, or maybe you used the kitchen sink as a baby bath and some toys got stuck. Toys and other objects are not meant to go down a kitchen sink. These objects will block your pipes and get stuck in your P-trap.
How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink
If you are not comfortable trying to unclog the kitchen sink on your own—or if you have tried and you still can’t get the drain to work—be sure to contact the pros at Mr. Rooter Calgary. We can be reached at 403-640-7789 or via our online contact form.
But if you are ready to learn a few simple DIY solutions for a clogged drain, read on to learn what you can do to unblock your clogged kitchen sink.
Remove All Standing Water
Before you tackle the clogged drain itself, it’s important to remove all the standing water in your sink. Standing water is the water stuck in your sink because the sink was still used after a clog had occurred. To bail out the excess water, follow these steps:
1. Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from chemicals or sharp objects—such as kitchen knives—in the sink.
2. Use a jug, cup or bowl to remove water from the drain. Flush this water down the toilet or use a different sink in your home to dispose of it. If there are food items in the dirty water, use a basket catch to prevent the food from clogging up another sink or your toilet.
3. Remove any visible food debris from the drain. If the drain is attached to a garburator, do not put your hand or fingers near the drain.
Check the Garburator
Even though it is your kitchen garbage disposal’s job to get rid of food waste, it can still become blocked from time to time. Often this is from homeowners putting too much waste down a garburator at once, or putting in food items that are not meant to go in the garbage disposal. Foods that shouldn’t be put down the garbage disposal include bones, eggshells and coffee grounds.
To unblock a clogged garburator, follow these steps:
1. Firstly, and most importantly, you must turn off your garbage disposal. Do not ever put your hand down the garbage disposal until it has been switched off.
2. Use a flashlight to look down the drain to see what is causing the blockage.
3. Depending on what you find, determine the best tactic for unclogging the kitchen sink.
4. If the block is due to food, then you can either use pliers to remove excess food or manually turn the garburator blades. You can turn the garburator blades using an Allen key. This is located at the bottom of the garburator.
5. If your kitchen sink is clogged because there is jewellery trapped in the garburator, you should call our expert plumbers at 403-640-7789 immediately.
6. If you can’t remove or break down the food clogging your garbage disposal, try using a plunger. Be sure to clamp the dishwasher drain line before you use a plunger. This prevents dirty water from flowing back into the dishwasher.
7. Flush the garburator with hot water to help remove any residual debris.
8. Do not pour chemicals down your garburator as this could damage it.
9. If after plunging your garburator the sink is still clogged, contact us for professional help.
Start with Boiling Water
Using boiling water to flush away excess food is one of the easiest techniques to try and unclog a blocked kitchen sink. By repeatedly flushing boiling water down your sink, you may be able to loosen any debris. It’s important to use hot water because if there is any grease trapped in your sink, the hot water will warm it up and help it move through the pipes.
Try Baking Soda and Vinegar
Another way to unclog your sink without reaching for a plunger or drain snake is by using baking soda and vinegar. Not only will you avoid chemical cleaners, but the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar is particularly good at clearing lightly clogged pipes.
To unclog your kitchen sink with baking soda and vinegar, use the following steps:
1. Pour boiling water down the drain. This will begin the drain clearing process and make it easier for the baking soda and vinegar to finish the job.
2. Push one cup of baking soda down the sink. Use a wooden spoon or spatula if that feels safer.
3. Pour one cup of vinegar down the sink.
4. Put the stopper in the sink. This will prevent the vinegar from coming back up and force it to move towards the clog in your kitchen sink.
5. Flush with boiling water once the chemical reaction is finished.
Use a Plunger
If you attempted gentler methods in unblocking your clogged kitchen sink and they still have not worked, then you will have to try using a plunger. The best way to use a plunger to unclog your sink is:
1. Pick your plunger. There are three different kinds of plungers: flat-bottom sink plunger, toilet plunger and accordion plunger. Be sure you choose a flat-bottom sink plunger.
2. Add a little clean water to the sink. This will help the plunger suck onto the drain.
3. Plunge the drain a few times.
4. Run your garbage disposal (if you have one) to see if that clears the block.
5. Test the sink by running some water into it and seeing if it drains.
6. If the sink is still clogged, repeat the process three more times.
7. If your kitchen sink is still clogged, you should try cleaning the P-trap, using a drain snake or calling a professional plumber.
Clean the P-Trap
Your P-trap is the portion of pipe below your kitchen sink that looks like a “U” or the top portion of a “P.” It serves a variety of functions including trapping debris and preventing clogs, catching jewellery before your precious items are flushed out with the waste and stopping sewer gasses from infiltrating into your home.
However, since the P-trap does catch debris and food waste, it can become clogged from time to time. If you think your kitchen sink clog may be in the P-trap, the best thing to do is to take the P-trap apart and clean it out by hand.
The best way to clean out a P-trap is by:
1. Placing a bucket underneath the trap to catch any dirty water or debris that may fall out when you remove the trap.
2. Unscrew any connections holding the pipe to the wall.
3. Remove the P-trap and see if that is where the clog is located.
4. If the P-trap is blocked, clean out any debris or gunk and throw this waste away into your garbage.
5. If the P-trap is not blocked, then you will have to either use a drain snake or call a professional plumber to get rid of your clogged kitchen sink.
Use a Drain Snake
A drain snake looks like a coiled, metal rope with a crank on one side. The coil goes down into the drain. As the handle is cranked, it pulls up the coil and brings with it any debris that is clogging your kitchen sink. An alternative to a drain snake is a metal hanger that has been straightened out with one end bent like a hook.
To use a drain snake ore metal hanger to unclog your blocked pipe, follow these steps:
1. Prepare your tools, either by readying the drain snake or bending a metal hanger into shape.
2. Insert the drain snake or hanger into the drain. If you are using a hanger, ensure it is the bent-hook half that is going into the pipe.
3. If you feel anything at the end of the wire, pull it up and out of the drain. You may have to repeat this process a few times.
4. Once you have removed as much of the clog as possible, pour boiling water down the sink to get rid of any residual debris.
Call the Pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary
If you try more than one of these unclogging techniques and your sink is still blocked—or if you would prefer the professionals to unclog your kitchen sink, saving you time and hassle—then be sure to call our Calgary plumbers at 403-640-7789 or request a job estimate online.
How to Prevent Future Clogs
Once your kitchen sink has been unclogged, keep in mind the following tips to prevent a future clog so that you don’t have to deal with a blocked kitchen sink in the future:
Don’t put specific foods down the drain. It’s very important that tough foods, oily foods and fibrous foods do not go in the garburator. This could cause it to clog or to break.
Run water while the garburator is working. This will help flush away debris as the garburator breaks up food.
Don’t stuff the garburator. You should only put about half a cup of food scraps in the garbage disposal at one time.
Invest in regular maintenance. One of the best ways to ensure you will not have any future clogged kitchen sinks is to regularly upkeep your pipes. Every so often, flush your kitchen sink with boiling water or use the baking soda and vinegar technique to help prevent small blocks from turning into large clogs requiring professional help.
The Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary Difference
Do you need help with a clogged kitchen sink? Call the professional and skillful team at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary. Our team is looking forward to meeting you and making all your plumbing problems go away. We can be reached by phone at 403-640-7789 or request a job estimate online.