How To: 4 Cheap & Easy Ways to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink Without Any Nasty Chemicals

4 Cheap & Easy Ways to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink Without Any Nasty Chemicals

Oh, boy. A stopped-up drain. It'll inevitably happen with any home plumbing system and your kitchen sink is no exception. That clog won't go away on its own and will require immediate attention to keep any standing water from rising. But you don't have to resort to calling an expensive plumber or using a bottle of hazardous chemicals. Using simple kitchen staples or common household objects, as well as some determination, you can unclog your kitchen sink on your own without paying a dime.

Reasons Sinks Clog

The biggest reason why kitchen sinks clog is because people aren't mindful of what they're throwing down the drain. Anything and everything goes, from eggshells to kitchen oils. But with such a cavalier attitude, you can either jam the garbage disposal or cause a buildup along the pipe's walls.

Never dump grease or coffee grounds down the kitchen sink. Grease, even when run with hot water, will at some point stop and congeal. Indeed, hot water simply delays the process, pushing the future, greasy clog further down into the drainage system where it will be harder to access. As for coffee grounds, they too can lead to clogs and possible pipe cleaning.

The Family Handyman, which says that most clogs can be removed in minutes, advises not to overload a garbage disposal. In addition to the aforementioned grease and coffee grounds, which will solidify once settled, TFH also flags "meat; foods high in starch, like pasta, potatoes and rice; or foods high in fiber, like celery and corn husks" as no-nos for the sink.

Bottom line, treat your kitchen sink with respect. Care for it in the present to avoid having to deal with big problems in the future. As said, a clogged drain is pretty much inevitable for any home, but it doesn't have to be an issue for long: The lesser the problem, the quicker the resolution.

How to Fix the Clog

Got it, but the water is stuck and rising — what to do?! Experts agree that most sink clogs can be remedied through DIY and without calling for professional help. Of course, pros are the way to go if home remedies fail too many times. Too many attempts could potentially cause permanent detriment to a plumbing system. But with hope, the remedies will work before that bridge is crossed.

As for drain cleaners, they introduce hazardous chemicals into your home and emit noxious fumes, the bottles end up in landfills and threaten harm to the environment, and they can also damage the integrity of pipes.

So this brings us to the easy, inexpensive home remedy, which like all DIY projects, can be really rewarding when you see them work. A plunger, salt, vinegar, baking soda, a metal hanger — these are all items we already have in our homes and are truly cheap if we need a new one (see plunger), and are the basis for each of these DIY approaches. Take a look and good luck!

Regular Maintenance

Also, to further prevent your kitchen sink from clogging up again anytime soon, you can use the baking-soda-and-vinegar method as regular maintenance to keep your sink drains flowing as smoothly as possible.

18 Comments

Does this work on all kinds of drains?

This is more for kitchen sinks, though the plunger method works well for clogged toilets, too.

i totally could have used this last week. rotorooter cost almost $200!

I always thought rotorooter was more for getting rid of tree roots from sewer lines. Back when I was on the east coast, we'd have to call them annually to de-root the lines, until I figured out it's cheaper to rent one of the machines and do it myself. But they also do regular plumbing jobs I guess. How did I not know that? Anyways... the plunger and metal hanger work good for things stuffed in the p-trap or right behind it, though it's just as easy to shut the water off and take the trap off and clean it out that way. A long snake is needed for deeper jams. I've never tried the baking soda options. Probably a much cheaper option than Drano. I imagine it works just as good.

Thanks for sharing, Justin. I've used the baking soda / ACV trick myself for minor / moderate clogs and it works really well. Asides from the fact that it's cheap and uses common household ingredients, I also like the fact that it's just friendlier to the environment.

i have a really good FREE way to unblock a toilet.. if your toilet is blocked with water right up to the top, DON'T PANIC just get a bin bag and a mop, place the mop into the bin bag and twist it around, keeping hold of the top of the bin bag against the mop handle, then insert the covered mop head into the toilet as far as it can go GENTLY.
then gently push up and down, up and down, this should create a vacuum causing the blockage to be drawn into the drain
then just turn the bin bag inside out from the top you were holding and throw away in the bin...

Thank you for sharing, elkopite!

youre welcome Yumi...

It's amazing how many things you learn once you move out of your parents house! Went to the sink this morning and realize it was filled on both sides and bleach was not helping. I was trying to find something to use as a snake and the wire hanger was perfect! It made the water go down, and then just used boiling water and baking soda and my sink is finally clear! Thank you so much!

Thanks so much for sharing your experience. That is good to know!

How does the baking powder/vinegar solution compare with the baking powder/salt solution ? Which is more effective, which is more acidic? Which acts more quickly? What is the effect of adding boiling water sooner or later? And how much water?

On my first attempt with baking powder and vinegar, the sink fizzed and regurgitated lump of solidified powder, but did not clear the sink...

I couldn't get my sink unclogged. I had no access to a plunger or drain cleaner. So I tried using a plastic bin bag, salt, baking soda, hot water, and nothing worked. Finally I got frustrated with it and I took a bottle of dishwashing soap and just squirted it right down the drain, even though the sink had standing water in it. To my surprise, it unclogged right away.

I used Method 3 and with a plunger and it worked without needing to wait overnight. It's magic.

I have a youtube video on my channel (stevesvids) where I use a $2.40 mini plunger I purchased at Home Depot to unclog a plugged sink drain. It was a piece of cake. Check it out.

i have a double sink thats clogged and my plunger broke trying to unclog it even though it wasnt doing anything anyway cause i didint cover the other side of the sink. but it was letting water down kind of ok and the baking soda and vinegar idea is everywhere so i tried it and its completely blocked now. fully stopped not even a trickle getting through. sucks

This is the same thing that happened to me. The first time it worked. After that nothing. I don't to wast time, baking soda, or vinegar. I tried hiring a plummer and they didn't show up or call. It's hard to find good help or solutions to this modern day, high tech world. I'm praying for an answer. Hello..............

My problem turned out to be that my pipes are 50 years old and have a buildup of grease in them. The plumber said my pipes were constricted to a size about as big around as my little finger inside and they were restricting the amount of water that can pass through. And then any little thing like a piece of lettuce that got down into the pipe would clog it. I would have to get up on the roof and put a drain bladder down the air vent to push the clog out. I would have to do this about every 4 months or so. I finally started pouring RidX down the slow running sink drain at night and then flushing it the next morning. I repeated this once a week for the first month and now do it once every couple of months to keep it running smooth. The RidX supposedly eats up the grease build up on the sidewalls of the pipe. What ever it does, it has worked well for me. I have not had to do the drain bladder for almost a year now.

Help! My bathroom sink is plugged. It's been full of water for 2 days and won't drain. Sink is 2 months old, and with no drain hole. I don't have a plunger... any remedies??

I've tried placing a straw in the drain to allow some air in the drain to help drain out the water but no luck.

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest