How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink

Knowing how to unclog a kitchen sink can be a handy skill when the water rises and panic ensues. The good news is that with a few simple techniques, you can have your kitchen sink flowing again in no time-and without an expensive call to the plumber.

How To Unclog A Kitchen Sink Quickly

  • Drained away. Before attempting to unclog your kitchen sink, you'll need to remove as much of the excess water as you can. Using a bucket and a small container, scoop the water out of the sink and into the bucket. Dispose of the water in another sink.
  • Is it the disposal? Before you start taking your sink's name in vain, check to see if the garbage disposal is clogged. Most garbage disposals have a ¼" Allen wrench socket underneath that will allow you to manually turn the disposal. Unplug the disposal and use the Allen wrench to turn the disposal. Often, this will loosen any clog enough for the disposal to work itself free. Next, plug the disposal's plug back in and press the reset button (also on the bottom of the disposal). Finally, run cold water into the disposal and turn it on. If the disposal works, but your sink is still clogged, feel free to call the sink any name you think appropriate.
  • Call the cavalry. Often, a grease-based clog can be broken loose by applying heat to the clog. Your dishwasher can heat water faster and hotter than most other methods. To use this appliance to aid in unclogging your sink, set the empty dishwasher to it hottest setting and turn it on. Let the dishwasher run for several minutes until you hear it drain. Use a plunger to unblock the loosened clog.
  • Bringing the heat, part II. Another way to loosen grease-based clogs is to use a blow dryer. Set the blow dryer on high and use it to warm the U-bend under the kitchen sink. After about two minutes, use a plunger to loosen the clog.
  • A u-turn. Sink still clogged? Time to get messy. Under the sink is a u-shaped pipe designed to (here's irony) catch debris. Often this pipe will do its job too well and become clogged. With the water drained from your sink, it's time to remove the u-pipe. Place a bucket or deep tray under the pipe to catch any excess water. Next, loosen the couplings or bands at either end of the pipe-you'll need to turn them counterclockwise. Carefully remove the pipe and clean out any obstructions. Replace the pipe and tighten it back into place.
  • Snakes in a drain. If the clog is beyond the u-pipe, you'll probably need a cable auger (sometimes known as a pipe snake) to clear the obstruction. You can rent a cable auger at most rental shops and some large home centers. First, remove the u-pipe. Next, feed the cable auger into the wall side drainpipe until you feel resistance. Next, crank the handle of the auger while pressing into the pipe. The auger will cut through the obstruction and you'll feel all resistance drop away.
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