The kitchen is the heart of any home. It is an important space for keeping your family nourished. But it is also a sensitive space because it needs to be kept free from viruses, bacteria, and dangerous contaminants.
Thus, a clogged sink is not only a nuisance. Because standing water can quickly become stale and attract various kinds of microbes, it is also a health hazard.
Here’s the good news, though, with the right strategies (we’ll make them easy for you), you can easily overcome the clog in your sink and have your kitchen looking spick and span in no time.
Before we discuss how to unclog a double sink, let’s take a quick look at some of the notorious agents known to cause clogs.
Agents of Clog in Kitchen Sinks
Don’t be fooled by waste disposal units located under the sink. Throwing food waste in the sink is a sure recipe for clogging. Most food particles don’t dissolve easily, thus resulting in a clogged drain. Always scrape your dishes and utensils clean of excess food (in the trash) before proceeding to do the dishes.
Grease and Oils
While others might argue that fats, oils, and grease shouldn’t cause blockages, these agents are notorious for reducing your sink’s draining capacity, especially when cleaning up with cold water. Grease can be a pain to clear, but with the right strategies, as we’ll discuss, you can easily get rid of the grease and fat residues that build up over time.
This is one of the more difficult-to-address agents when it comes to blockage. Mineral buildup commonly affects people living in hard water areas. The mineral residues tend to build up and eventually cause blockage on your drain. Having a plumber on standby can help you fix this issue.
It is not unusual for tiny objects to get stuck in your kitchen sink. Coins, rings, or earrings can cause serious clogs, meaning you must act fast to prevent them from compromising the efficiency of your draining system.
Now that we are done with the chief culprits of clogging, let’s get straight to business. Below are ten proven ways to unclog your double kitchen sink with standing water.
Use Hot or Boiling Water
This is by far the easiest and least expensive solution that you should try first. Boiling water helps to melt grease and fat residue, thus leaving your drainage pipes clean and smooth.
But, with water floating up your double sink, adding boiling water is not that straightforward. This is where you have to improvise and use a small bucket, pot, or mug to remove the standing water.
After removing all the dirty water, proceed to pour hot water into the sink. Wait and observe if the water drains gradually. It is advisable to pour the water in small amounts to prevent it from building up. Point to note, though: you might have to repeat this process several times to get rid of all the grease or oils that might have built up on your two-sided sink.
Use a Plunger
Double sinks usually have a garbage disposal on one side. You should use your kitchen plunger to help you drain the floating water. How do you do it? The process is fairly simple. First, ensure that you plug one side of the double sink, preferably the one with the garbage disposal unit. Use the plunger on the other sink repeatedly to see if the water will drain.
If the clog doesn’t drain, then you can reverse the process and plunge the other side of the sink while plugging the side you initially plunged. The plunger can help to create pressure within the plumbing system and drive out small particles or residues from the pipes.
If the plunger removes the clog and the water starts to drain, it is advisable to run boiling water down the system just to eliminate any oil or grease residues that might have piled up over time.
Remove and Check the Trap
To successfully deal with the trap, you must first undertake some simple steps. Clear out the kitchen sink cabinet and proceed to place a bucket beneath the pipes. It is a good idea to use a wrench to help you loosen the pipe as you ease it off. The bucket will help to keep the work area clean by holding the water that is usually held up in the unit.
Once you’ve removed the pipe, inspect it for particles or debris. You can use a wire coat hanger or plumber’s snake to remove any debris. A clogged pipe usually has a thick mass of clogged material that could not be removed by a plunger. Take the trap outside or to a cleaning area and wash it up. Ensure that you run hot water thoroughly to remove the debris and any other particles that might be stuck.
Once done with cleaning the trap, it is time to return it to the sink drainage system. Once you do so, proceed to run hot water to confirm if the drainage problem has been solved. Pour water into the sink several times, and if the drainage works perfectly after five minutes, then voila! You have successfully managed to plumb your faulty kitchen drainage system.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
You’ll be amazed at the magic a mixture of vinegar and baking soda can work. Curious about the steps to follow?
That’s why we are here. Take about 1/3 cup of baking soda and place it on a dish. Take an equal portion of vinegar and place it in the same dish with the baking soda. The mixture will fizz immediately, which is your cue to pour it down the drain without any delay. The fizzing action, in this case, is the cleaning agent that helps to clear up everything from grime to grease and residue.
Allow the mixture to stay for 15 minutes to an hour. If you have time, you can even allow the mixture to sit overnight just to ensure that it thoroughly reacts with the residues in your sink’s drainage system.
If you don’t fancy mixing vinegar and baking soda in a dish, then you can start by placing a large quantity of baking soda in the sink. Follow it up with an equal portion of vinegar. The mixture, as expected, will begin to fizz immediately.
Once you have allowed the mixture to settle for minutes (or even hours), clean the drain by running hot water. This should leave your sink fully functional and draining again. This mixture is better for your pipes and just as effective as most drain cleaners.
I found this video on YouTube helpful as well:
Salt and Baking Soda
Don’t have vinegar? No worries. Salt can come in handy as an anti-clog agent for DIY enthusiasts. Place about 1/2 cup of salt on a dish and mix it with a cup of baking soda. Pour the mixture down the drain and allow it to sit for 4-6 hours (remove the still water from the sinks before pouring the mixture down the drain).
Once the mixture has had a few hours to work, pour hot water to flush. Do not hesitate to repeat the process several times if it doesn’t work the first time. This method is ideal for dealing with grease and oil-related clogs.
You can also mix boiling water with salt for several minutes to get the job done. Salt is a good unclogging agent, especially when mixed with boiling water. It cleans the pipes, removing grease or fat buildup, thus allowing your sinks to function as normal.
Always consider the salt and baking soda option when the plunger fails, but remember, this method works best when allowed to settle for several minutes to hours.
So you have removed the P-trap and tried cleaning it up to remove residues. Unfortunately, despite your efforts to get rid of the dirt located inside the trap, you can’t quite manage to reach the clog located further up the system. This is where a plumber’s snake comes in handy. With this tool at your disposal, you can reach a clog located deeper in the trap and break it down with relative ease.
The plumber’s snake or drain snake gives you access to areas that a wire coat hanger cannot reach. You should consider buying this plumbing tool from your local hardware store if your clogged sink gives you a hard time whenever you clean the dishes. Plumber’s snakes come in handy when the plunger cannot eliminate the drain.
Once you are done using the plumber’s snake, set up the trap again and run the system with hot water to clean up the grease, fat, or oil residues that might have remained in the system during cleaning. Now you can run the faucet to see if your DIY plumbing was effective. The sink should drain if you did a thorough job with the plumber’s snake.
Reset Garbage Disposal
Kitchen blockage can be due to several reasons. One of them might be due to your garbage disposal needing a reset. The first thing you will need to do is to locate the garbage disposal system from under your clogged sink.
Try and press the reset button a couple of times to see if it solves your drainage problems. Still not draining? No worries. Your next option is to use an Allen wrench to turn the center crank in a clockwise direction in a bid to loosen the blades and alleviate any blockage.
You should try to use a plumber’s snake on the kitchen drain to ensure that no residue remains in the system. After resetting the garbage disposal, proceed to run the faucet to determine if your sink is fixed.
A Coat Hanger can Help
Not everyone can access a plumber’s snake to unblock sinks. In such cases, a wire coat hanger can come in handy. While a coat hanger is a helpful improvisation tool, it won’t manage the deep clogs that a plumber’s snake would. It can, however, reach some clogs and help clear out your sink.
Tips for Preventing Recurrent Blockage
The surest way to keep your sink fully functional and free from blocking is to prevent food waste from entering the drain. While it is impossible to prevent tiny food particles from entering, you can try your best to clean up and throw waste in the garbage bin before placing plates and other utensils in the sink.
If you prepared a greasy meal or an oily dessert, then try cleaning the plates with a paper towel. Grease and oils can build up in your drainage system, especially if you use cold water during cleaning. A paper towel will help prevent the buildup as it eliminates grease and oil particles before cleaning.
Running hot water in your sink weekly will help to reduce the buildup of grease and other particles. You should also try mixing hot water with salt when cleaning the sink; this will keep it free from clogs, especially if you do so frequently.
Also, if you live in hard water areas, you should consider getting a softener to not only prevent gradual mineral deposits from building up but also to increase the overall lifespan of your drainage pipes.
Tips for Keeping your Drain Smelling Fresh
Ever noticed that a kitchen sink drain can produce foul or unpleasant odors? Even if not blocked, the odor might be foul if there is some kind of organic buildup in your kitchen drainage system. Old pipes are notorious for unpleasant odor, which is not ideal for the kitchen environment.
Here’s how you can keep your kitchen smelling nice and fresh. Put a stopper plug on your clogged drain and fill the sink with hot salty water. Pour in some dish soap and stir until it completely dissolves in the mixture. You can also add lemon to the mixture, as this will leave your kitchen sink with a pleasant aroma throughout the day.
Should you consider hiring a professional? The vinegar and baking soda mixture should help you out if the sink blocks due to grease, oils, or food deposits. Using tools like a plunger or a plumber’s snake can help you to unclog the deepest residues and solve your clogging problems.
But, if your sink problems persist, then perhaps you should consider seeking the services of an expert. A plumber will assess your drainage situation and advise on the best way to unblock your sink.