How To Unclog A Kitchen Sink

A clogged kitchen sink can be a frustrating and messy problem to deal with. Not only can it cause water to back up and create unpleasant odors, but it can also prevent you from using your sink for cooking, cleaning, and other everyday tasks. However, with a few simple tools and techniques, you can often unclog your kitchen sink quickly and easily without the need for a professional plumber.

The first step is to identify the cause of the clog. In many cases, the blockage is caused by a buildup of food scraps, grease, and other debris that has accumulated in the drain over time. Other possible causes include foreign objects like utensils or non-disposable wipes that have been accidentally dropped down the drain.

Once you’ve identified the cause of the clog, you can try a variety of methods to unclog your sink, including using a plunger, a plumbing snake, or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. By following these simple steps, you can quickly restore your kitchen sink to its normal functioning and avoid the hassle and expense of calling in a professional plumber.

6 Ways to Unclog Kitchen Sink

If you have a clogged kitchen sink, there are a few methods you can try to unclog it. Here are some proper ways to unclog a kitchen sink:

1. Boiling Water

Boiling water is a simple and effective method to try if you have a partially clogged kitchen sink. Here’s how to use boiling water to unclog your sink:

  1. Bring a kettle or pot of water to a rolling boil on your stovetop. Make sure you have enough water to pour in two to three stages.
  2. Remove any standing water from the sink using a cup or a small bucket.
  3. Carefully and slowly pour the boiling water directly into the drain. Start with a small amount and allow it to work for a few seconds.
  4. If the water drains away without any issues, repeat the process with more boiling water, gradually increasing the amount.
  5. Continue pouring boiling water in stages, allowing each stage to work for a few seconds. Be cautious not to overflow the sink or pour too quickly to avoid splashing.
  6. Once you’ve poured all the boiling water, wait for a few minutes and check if the water is draining freely. If the sink is still clogged, you may need to try other methods.

Important Note: Be cautious when handling boiling water to prevent burns. Make sure to use heat-resistant gloves and handle the boiling water with care. Also, avoid using boiling water if you have PVC pipes, as they may not withstand high temperatures.

2. Plunger

Using a plunger is another effective method to unclog a kitchen sink. Here’s how you can use a plunger properly:

  1. Ensure there is enough water in the sink to cover the plunger’s suction cup. If there isn’t enough water, add some to create a seal.
  2. Position the plunger over the drain, ensuring it completely covers the drain opening.
  3. Press the plunger down firmly to create a seal between the plunger and the sink.
  4. Start plunging vigorously up and down, using a consistent and forceful motion. Be careful not to break the seal between the plunger and the sink.
  5. Continue plunging for about 20-30 seconds, maintaining a strong rhythm and applying consistent pressure.
  6. After plunging, quickly pull the plunger up to break the seal and create suction. This action may help dislodge the clog.
  7. Repeat the plunging process a few times, if necessary, to attempt to clear the clog.
  8. Once you believe the clog has been dislodged, run hot water down the drain to flush away any remaining debris.
  9. If the sink is still not draining properly, you may need to try other methods or seek professional help.

Remember to use a plunger specifically designed for sinks. Plungers with a flat, flange-shaped rim around the suction cup work best for kitchen sinks. Avoid using a toilet plunger, as it may not create an effective seal.

3. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Using baking soda and vinegar is a natural and chemical-free method that can help unclog a kitchen sink. Here’s how to use this combination:

  1. Start by removing any standing water from the sink using a cup or a small bucket.
  2. Pour about half a cup of dry baking soda down the drain. Make sure to distribute it evenly around the drain.
  3. Follow the baking soda with half a cup of white vinegar. You may see some bubbling and fizzing, which is normal and indicates a reaction between the two substances.
  4. Immediately cover the drain with a plug or a cloth to prevent the mixture from bubbling back up. This will help direct the reaction downward to the clog.
  5. Allow the baking soda and vinegar mixture to sit and work for about 15 to 30 minutes. During this time, the chemical reaction can help break down the clog.
  6. After the waiting period, remove the cover and flush the drain with hot water. You can run hot tap water or boil water separately and carefully pour it down the drain.
  7. If the sink is still not draining properly, you can repeat the process or try other unclogging methods.

The combination of baking soda and vinegar creates a foaming action that can help break down organic materials and minor clogs. However, it may not be as effective for more stubborn or solid clogs.

4. Plumber’s Snake

Using a plumber’s snake, also known as an auger, can be an effective way to unclog a kitchen sink, especially for stubborn clogs that are deeper in the drainpipe. Here’s how to use a plumber’s snake properly:

  1. Purchase or rent a plumber’s snake from a hardware store or home improvement center. Ensure you have the appropriate length for your sink’s drainpipe.
  2. Put on gloves and protective eyewear to avoid any potential splashing or contact with debris.
  3. Start by removing any standing water from the sink using a cup or a small bucket.
  4. Feed the snake’s cable or coil into the drain slowly. Rotate the handle clockwise to guide the snake deeper into the pipe.
  5. Keep pushing the snake until you feel resistance. This indicates that the snake has reached the clog.
  6. Once you reach the clog, rotate the snake’s handle back and forth. This motion can help break up or snag the clog, allowing you to pull it out.
  7. If possible, retrieve the clog by gently pulling it back up using the snake. Be cautious not to force the snake or push the clog further into the pipe.
  8. If you can’t retrieve the clog or break it up entirely, slowly retract the snake from the drain.
  9. After using the snake, run hot water down the drain to flush away any remaining debris.
  10. Clean and sanitize the plumber’s snake before storing it to avoid any potential contamination.

If you’re uncomfortable using a plumber’s snake or if the clog persists, it’s advisable to contact a professional plumber for assistance.

5. Remove and clean the P-trap

Removing and cleaning the P-trap is another method to unclog a kitchen sink. The P-trap is a U-shaped pipe located beneath the sink that often collects debris and can contribute to clogs. Here’s how to remove and clean the P-trap properly:

  1. Before you begin, place a bucket or basin beneath the P-trap to catch any water or debris that may spill out.
  2. Turn off the water supply to the sink by closing the shut-off valves located under the sink. If there are no shut-off valves, you may need to shut off the main water supply to the house.
  3. Using a wrench or pliers, loosen the slip nuts located on both ends of the P-trap. The slip nuts are the circular nuts that connect the P-trap to the vertical and horizontal pipes. Turn them counterclockwise to loosen them.
  4. Once the slip nuts are loose, carefully remove the P-trap by pulling it down and away from the pipes. Allow any remaining water or debris in the P-trap to drain into the bucket.
  5. Take the P-trap to a well-ventilated area and inspect it for any blockages. Use a brush or a small bottle brush to clean the inside of the trap, removing any gunk, hair, or debris. You can also rinse the P-trap with warm water to help flush out any remaining residue.
  6. Check the vertical and horizontal pipes connected to the P-trap for any clogs or debris. Clean them if necessary using the same brush or bottle brush.
  7. Once the P-trap and pipes are clean, reattach the P-trap by aligning it with the pipes and tightening the slip nuts. Use your wrench or pliers to turn the slip nuts clockwise, ensuring they are snug but not over-tightened.
  8. Turn on the water supply to the sink and run water to check for any leaks. If you notice any leaks, tighten the slip nuts a bit more.
  9. Test the sink by allowing water to flow freely. The cleaning of the P-trap should have helped remove any clogs that were present.

Cleaning the P-trap can be a messy task, so it’s important to have a bucket or basin ready to catch any water or debris. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with this process, it’s recommended to contact a professional plumber for assistance.

6. Chemical Drain Cleaner

Using a chemical drain cleaner is an option to consider when other methods have failed to unclog your kitchen sink. However, it’s important to exercise caution and follow the instructions carefully, as these products can be hazardous if mishandled. Here’s how to use a chemical drain cleaner properly:

  1. Choose a chemical drain cleaner suitable for kitchen sinks. Read the label and ensure it is compatible with the type of sink and pipes you have. Avoid using drain cleaners if you have a septic system, as they can harm the beneficial bacteria in the tank.
  2. Put on gloves and protective eyewear to prevent any contact with the chemical cleaner.
  3. Remove any standing water from the sink using a cup or a small bucket.
  4. Carefully follow the instructions provided with the drain cleaner. Typically, you will be instructed to measure a specific amount of the product.
  5. Slowly pour the recommended amount of the chemical drain cleaner into the drain. Be cautious not to spill or splash the product onto yourself or surrounding surfaces.
  6. Allow the drain cleaner to work according to the instructions. It typically takes around 15-30 minutes, but the duration can vary depending on the specific product.
  7. After the recommended waiting time, run hot water down the drain to flush away the residue and debris that the drain cleaner has helped dissolve.
  8. If the sink is still not draining properly, you may need to repeat the process or try alternative methods.

Important Safety Tips:

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the drain cleaner product.
  • Keep children and pets away from the area while using chemical drain cleaners.
  • Do not mix different types of drain cleaners or use them in combination with other chemicals, as it can result in hazardous reactions.
  • Use the drain cleaner in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • If you experience any adverse reactions or have concerns, contact a poison control center or seek medical attention immediately.

It’s worth noting that while chemical drain cleaners can be effective for certain types of clogs, they may not work for severe or solid obstructions. If you’re uncertain or uncomfortable using chemical drain cleaners, it’s advisable to contact a professional plumber for assistance.


In summary, there are several proper methods to unclog a kitchen sink. One effective approach is to pour boiling water down the drain, which can dissolve lighter grease or organic blockages. If that doesn’t work, using a sink plunger can create suction and pressure to dislodge the clog. Another natural remedy involves using a combination of baking soda and vinegar, which creates a foaming reaction to break down minor clogs. For more stubborn clogs deeper in the drainpipe, a plumber’s snake or auger can be used to break up or retrieve the obstruction. In cases where the clog may be related to debris in the P-trap, removing and cleaning the P-trap can help clear the blockage. Finally, chemical drain cleaners can be used as a last resort, but it’s crucial to follow the instructions carefully and exercise caution due to the potential hazards associated with these products. Overall, it’s important to prioritize safety and seek professional assistance if unsure or uncomfortable with any method or if the clog persists.