Any slow draining sink is a nuisance. But different sinks tend to have different clogs. For instance, shower drains tend to collect hair. Kitchen drains, on the other hand, tend to have more problems with grease and food particles. The team at Herrmann Services put together these tips specifically for how to unclog kitchen sinks and garbage disposals.
1. Don’t Get Boiling Mad, Just Get Boiling
When grease, or greasy liquids, get poured down your kitchen sink, they go down the drain in a liquid state, but as they move through your pipes, the fat cools. As the fat becomes solid, it coats the inside of the pipes.
This coating will get thicker and thicker as more grease builds up until you get a slow draining sink or a completely clogged sink.
To unclog a slow draining kitchen sink, before you go out and buy drain cleaner, try this first. Boil a pan full of water on the stove. A tea kettle will do nicely as well. Pour a half cup of baking soda down your drain followed by a half cup of white vinegar. Let it fizz and bubble for five to ten minutes or so.
Then, carefully pour the pot or kettle full of boiling water down the drain. Turn the faucet on and see if it’s draining faster. Because the clog usually contains a lot of grease, the boiling water melts the grease, thus removing the clog.
2. Take the Plunge
If hot water doesn’t improve the problem, the culprit may be something other than grease buildup. It’s time to pull out the plunger. If there is standing water in the sink, remove it until there is only an inch or two so you can see what’s going on.
Place the cup of the plunger over the drain opening and pump up and down rapidly several times. Quickly pull the plunger off the drain opening. If this did not dislodge the clog, it may be trapped in the P-trap. Don’t forget to plunge both sides of the sink.
3. Remove the P-Trap
Large food particles like vegetable peels that become trapped in the curved pipe beneath the sink (known as the P-trap) are another common cause of kitchen drain clogs. Removing the P-trap sounds difficult, but is really not that involved.
You will need a channel-type pliers. Have a bucket handy, because water will spill from the drain when you remove this piece. Dump out any debris you find and rinse the pipe thoroughly before replacing it.
4. Use a Drain Snake to Unclog Your Sink
If the P-trap doesn’t appear to be the problem, the clog may be located further down the pipe. If that’s the case, you can use a drain snake to try to remove it. Most homeowners don’t have these on hand, and they are not cheap to rent or buy. At this point, it may be best to call a qualified plumber.
5. Keep Pipes Clean with Enzymes
Natural enzymes eat organic matter and were originally used to reduce the amount of organic waste buildup in septic tanks. Enzymes are now available for all types of plumbing needs, and if properly maintained, enzymes will help keep the pipes free and clear of buildup when used on a regular basis.
Enzymes are not as effective at removing an existing clog immediately, but regular use will keep your pipes clear of any organic buildup which helps you avoid clogs in the first place. Plus, natural enzymes are very easy on your pipes, unlike chemical drain cleaners.
9 Things You Should Never Put Down Your Kitchen Sink or Garbage Disposal
- Grease – it will coat your pipes
- Bones – they’ll just keep spinning around and around with the blades
- Celery – the fibrous strings get tangled around the disposal’s blades
- Coffee grounds – the oil in coffee grounds becomes a sticky sludge
- Egg shells – ground egg shells become sand-like particles that stick to grease
- Corn husks – the fibers get caught in the blades
- Artichokes – again, too fibrous
- Fruit pits – pits are very hard and can jam the disposal blades
- Potato peels – starchy vegetables and even pasta can cause a sticky mess