• Clean and Unclog a Plugged Kitchen Sink Drain


    Clogged sink drains are a health hazard in the kitchen and can also cause odors. There are several proven ways to unclog a sink drain and clean it out, unblocking it and making it fresh again. It can be a DIY project in most cases, but when the sink drain is very stubborn, you might have to call a plumber to do the job.

    Sink Repair Cleaning and Unclogging Tips

    You’ll find tips here for getting that sink drain running again along with the tools and materials needed for the work. A breakdown of DIY drain clearing is included, and the cost of hiring a plumber is discussed too. Suggestions for saving money are given, and the post ends with a list of resources you’ll find helpful whether you do the project yourself or hire a pro.

    There are three basic methods for clearing a sink drain. They all begin with cleaning food and debris out of the kitchen sink basin. Here are your basic options for unclogging a sink drain.

    1. Use a Plunger: The technique is the same as when clearing a clogged or running toilet, though some homeowners keep a separate plunger for use in sinks.

    • If it’s a double sink, block the drain on one side with a wet rag to keep in the air pressure you’ll create directed to the clog
    • Fill the sink partially full of water
    • Fit the plunger cup over the drain
    • Move the plunger up and down “pushing and pulling” vigorously on the clog to attempt to loosen it
    • Pull the plunger completely off the drain after every 5 or 6 pushes

    2. Use a Drain Opener: A liquid/crystal drain cleaner can be an effective way of clearing clogged drains. There are specific products available for the purpose, just enquire at your local hardware store. If you don’t want to use harsh chemicals, consider making a solution of vinegar and baking soda.

    • Bail the standing water out of the sink into a bucket. (best to pour the contents into toilet and flush)
    • Pour one cup of baking soda into the drain
    • Add one cup of vinegar, place the drain stoppers in the drain, so that the expanding gas created puts pressure on the clog. A reaction goes on within the clog which loosens it
    • After five minutes, turn on the hot water, and let it run
    • If the clog does not clear, boil a quart of water and pour it down the drain. You may have to repeat the process several times

    3. Use a Drain Snake: This requires partially disassembling the sink drain.

    • Clear out the sink cabinet and place a towel and bucket under the sink
    • Carefully remove the portion of the drain containing the “S” trap as it will be full of foul water
    • Check the upper drain line from the sink for clogs by pouring a half-cup of water down the drain and into the bucket
    • If the clog is located, you should be able to work it out from either the top or bottom of the sink  with a long screwdriver or metal shirt hanger
    • This is as good a time as any to clean the “S” trap while you are at it
    • If the sink is still clogged, run a drain snake down the lower part of the drain, being careful to follow instructions carefully. A drain snake is a longish,flexible metal tool available at most hardware stores
    • If these three methods don’t work, it’s time to call a plumber!

    If they do work, you can clean the drain with the vinegar and baking soda recipe. Allow the mixture to remain in the drain for several minutes, and then flush the drain with warm water from the tap.

    Kitchen Sink Drain Clearing Costs

    When a DIY fix works, the cost is relatively small. Here are the tools and materials mentioned along with their costs.

    • Plunger: $3 to $10
    • Liquid drain opener: $7 to $12 per bottle
    • Baking soda: $2 to $5 per box
    • Vinegar: $6 to $10 per gallon
    • Drain snake/auger: $14 to $27

    Professional drain clearing costs $80 to $175 depending on whether or not the plumber has a minimum service fee and how complex the job becomes.

    To save money on this repair, borrow a snake from a friend. When hiring a professional, make a few calls to find the lowest prices in your area.

    DIY Resources for Unclogging a Kitchen Sink Drain

    These helpful pages provide more insight into taking care of this common home maintenance project.

    Horizon Services Inc – This plumbing contractor provides a good overview of unclogging drains in your home.

    Tammys Recipes – If you have a garbage disposer, these tips will help you unclog it easily.

    Knowworthy – This blog offers tips for overcoming several types of clogged drain situations.

    Lobeliarama – The value of a drain snake or auger is highlighted in this blog post.

    Lewis Plumbing – The three methods we’ve listed are further discussed on this plumber’s page.


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