10 Fast and Cheap Ways to Unclog a Kitchen Sink Drain
A clog in the kitchen is one of the most common — and annoying — problems you can have in your household. It happens every now and then, seriously interfering with your daily chores. Fortunately, there are much cheaper and easier ways to solve the problem than calling a plumber.
Bright Side has collected 10 simple and safe ways to unclog a kitchen sink at home. Read and save them for emergencies.
1. Remove a greasy clog with baking soda, salt, and vinegar.
Let’s start with a strong solution, for those who don’t start fixing something until it becomes too serious for lighter measures. First of all, the magic starts with pouring hot water down the drain. It’ll help to soften a clog and break it up a little.
- Take 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of salt. Mix them and pour into the drain hole.
- Heat a cup of vinegar until it’s just ready to boil and pour it on other ingredients.
- Quickly cover the drain, to not let the resulting foam out.
- Wait 15 to 30 minutes, then finish with another portion of hot water.
2. Eliminate the problem with salt and boiling water.
If the clog isn’t serious or just started to form, you can opt for lighter measures. Salt will clean the pipe from the inside, removing bacteria and unpleasant odors at the same time. Because its effect is pretty mild, you’ll probably need to repeat the process several times — especially if the clog is bigger than you expected.
- Take half a cup of salt and pour it into the drain hole.
- Take a kettle of boiling water and pour it over the salt. Be careful to not let the hot water splash back on your hands or body.
- Turn on the hot tap water and rinse the drain hole with more water.
- Repeat if you feel it’s necessary.
3. Use vinegar and baking soda.
Vinegar and baking soda are the world’s classics when it comes to drain clog removal. This is a fast and simple solution you might not even have to spend a penny on because you most likely already have these ingredients in your kitchen.
- Pour some boiling water down the drain. The more the better — you can pour a whole kettle in there.
- Then add 0.5 — 1 cup of baking soda and leave it for a few minutes.
- Now mix boiling water and vinegar in 1:1 proportion and pour it on top of the baking soda.
- Cover the drain to make the mixture work its magic inside. You can use a plug, a plunger, or anything else — just don’t let it come out.
- To top it off, pour another cup of hot water inside. Perfect!
4. Try the magic of Alka-Seltzer.
Here’s another way to remove mild clogs — but only those that don’t include hair, the pills can’t cope with that.
- Throw 2 Alka-Seltzer pills down the drain hole.
- Top them with a cup of vinegar and wait until the chemical reaction stops.
- Pour some boiling water inside to make sure the clog goes away.
- Repeat if needed.
5. Hit the enemy with caustic soda.
Sodium hydroxide is a magic chemical that has the ability to turn some hard substances into liquids. It’s used as an ingredient in anti-clog remedies, making them especially powerful, because it can even break up hair and other debris. To make use of this magic ingredient:
- Take a bucket and fill it with 3 liters of cold water.
- Add 750 ml of liquid caustic soda to the bucket and mix thoroughly (don’t touch it with your bare hands!)
- Wait until water starts fizzing and heating up because of the chemical reaction.
- Pour the mixture down the drain and leave it for about 20 minutes.
- When the time’s up, flush it with a kettle of boiling water.
6. Clean the P-trap.
If chemical reactions don’t work, you may need to do some physical removal. P-trap is a curved pipe under your sink which can collect grease and small debris. Due to its form, it becomes the cause of most of the clogs in your kitchen.
- First of all, you need to get ready for the act of cleaning it out, because it’s gonna be messy. Remove water from the sink, because it’ll go down when you take the trap off. Now put a bucket right under the trap, grab some towels so you have them on hand, and then start.
- The P-trap is attached to 2 pipes with nuts you’ll need to loosen to take off.
- Once you’ve removed the trap, you can clean it. It’ll most likely be full of food pieces, grease, and other debris. Clean the hard debris out using your hands and a bottle brush, then wash with hot water to dissolve any other possible grease.
- Once you’re done, return the P-trap to where it belongs.
Some traps have a plug you can use for cleaning, without removing the trap itself, but it’s always better to take it off and rinse with hot water.
7. Use a drain snake.
Have you put the P-trap back in place yet? No? Then wait a minute. This is the perfect moment to use a drain snake. Since the P-trap is already clean and clear, you need to unscrew the trap arm.
- Now take a snake and start inserting it in the pipe that goes into the wall, in rotating movements. If you feel there’s an obstacle, try to move on — this might be not the clog but a pipe corner.
- If the snake bumped into something and won’t go further easily, this must be the clog. Continue rotating the snake to break the clog up and get through it.
- After that, pull it back. Clean the snake and try again.
- Once there’s no clog anymore, return the P-trap back and turn on the hot water to clean the pipes.
8. Destroy your enemy with a wire hanger.
A hanger is basically a method that replaces a drain snake if you don’t have one or if your clog isn’t that far down.
- Take a wire hanger and pliers.
- Untwist the hanger and straighten it with your hands and pliers.
- Use the pliers to make a sort of handle at the end — you’ll need to rotate your handmade snake.
That’s it! Now you can use it as a regular drain snake.
9. Put your plunger to good use.
Hey, here’s another classic for your sink! A plunger is probably the cheapest and the laziest way of unclogging, because you don’t need to buy a tool if you already have one, and you don’t need to measure ingredients, or twist or turn anything.
- First of all, if you have a double-section sink, close one of the drain holes to create suction. Otherwise, the trick won’t work.
- Now take the plunger and put it over the open drain hole. Open the tap and fill the sink with water until it covers the plunger cup.
- Push and pull the plunger, but be careful — it should remain stuck to the sink. Don’t be gentle though — you need to apply some force.
- Give it 6 to 10 pumps and remove the plunger to see if the water goes away. If not, repeat the process.
- Once the clog is defeated, turn on the hot water (or better boil a kettle and use that) to flush any remaining traces of debris away.
10. Blow the clog out
This is probably the most surprising point on our list, but it’s actually pretty similar to the previous one. Time for the heavy artillery! An important note to remember: you can’t do this with every vacuum cleaner — only with a wet & dry vac. Please, also remember you may need help with the switch control, so don’t do it alone.
- Prepare rugs and towels, as well as a bucket, to cover and clean the area, because you might have splashes.
- Insert the hose into the drain hole and attach the other end to the vac to suck in the air. It’s recommended to get a cup, like on a plunger, to create a seal with the drain. You can either buy it or DIY from an actual plunger cup.
- Switch the vacuum cleaner on and listen to the sound; if the clog is there, it’ll be different from when the machine’s sucking just the air alone.
- Vacuum it until the sound changes, which means you unclogged it. If it’s taking too much time, switch the vacuum off and wait a few minutes. Otherwise, you might damage the pipes or the machine.
- If the clog won’t go, try to imitate the plunger movements with the hose. But be careful! You don’t want to crack the pipes.
- Once the clog is gone, switch the vac off, carefully take out the hose and flush some hot water down the drain.
- You’re amazing!
Remember that this way should be used only if the other methods didn’t help. If you’ve tried any chemical treatments, wait at least 8 hours before giving the vacuum a try.
Is this a common problem at your house? How do you cope with it? Do you prefer professional help or deal with it on your own? Which methods do you usually use? Please, share your experience in the comments!