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How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink

A clogged kitchen sink can be a frustrating problem that will halt your daily routine in its tracks. Whether it's due to food debris, grease buildup, or foreign objects, unclogging a kitchen sink doesn't always require calling a plumber. In this blog post, we'll explore some simple and effective methods to unclog your kitchen sink and get the water flowing smoothly again.

A pair of hands washing in a stainless steel kitchen sink

Use Boiling Water: One of the easiest and initial steps to try is pouring boiling water down the drain. Boiling water can help break down grease and food particles, allowing them to move through the pipes more easily. Carefully pour boiling water down the drain in two to three stages, allowing it to work for a few seconds between each pour. Be cautious with this method if you have PVC pipes, as boiling water might damage them.

Baking Soda and Vinegar: A combination of baking soda and vinegar can create a powerful natural reaction to break up clogs. Start by pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes, allowing it to fizz and dissolve the clog. Finally, flush the drain with hot water. Repeat the process if necessary.

Plunger: A plunger can be a handy tool for unclogging sinks. Ensure there is enough water in the sink to cover the rubber cup of the plunger. Place the plunger over the drain, ensuring a tight seal, and vigorously plunge up and down for about 20-30 seconds. The suction and pressure created can dislodge the clog. Repeat the process a few times if needed.

Plumbing Snake: If the clog persists, a plumbing snake, also known as a drain auger, can be useful. Insert the snake into the drain, rotating it clockwise as you push it forward. Keep pushing until you encounter resistance, which indicates the presence of the clog. Rotate and wiggle the snake to break up the blockage. Once done, pull the snake out, and run hot water to flush away any remaining debris.

Two hands holding a hand tool to loosen a sink's p trap
Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey

Remove and Clean the P-trap: The P-trap is a curved pipe located beneath the sink that often collects debris. Place a bucket or container beneath the P-trap to catch any water or debris that may spill out. Use a wrench to loosen the slip nuts on both ends of the P-trap and carefully remove it. Clean out any gunk or debris using a brush or by running water through it. Once cleaned, reassemble the P-trap and check if the sink drains properly.

Chemical Drain Cleaners (as a last resort): If all else fails, you can try using a chemical drain cleaner. However, be cautious as these cleaners can be harsh and may damage your pipes. Follow the instructions carefully, and use them sparingly. Consider this option only when other methods have been unsuccessful.

Dealing with a clogged kitchen sink can be bothersome, but with the right techniques, you can often resolve the issue yourself. Start with the gentle methods like boiling water, baking soda and vinegar, and plunging. If the clog persists, move on to more intensive methods like using a plumbing snake or cleaning the P-trap. Remember to exercise caution and, if necessary, seek professional help like EAMS Plumbing if the clog persists or if you're unsure about handling it yourself.

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