My kitchen sink is super clogged up. I tried “Draino” the strong chemical that is supposed to unclog your drain but that did not work. My sink will drain but very slow and takes like 15 minutes to fully drain out. I have a disposer on there too so should I try chemicals again? My disposer spins when I turn it on so I know that is working. What other options can I try? I cannot afford to call a plumber right now as money is tight. Please help!
Do not use chemicals. They are toxic and cost way too much. Often times they won’t work on a badly clogged drain. We would recommend to buy a drain snake (drain auger) and or a toilet plunger. You can get a drain snake for about $25 and you will be able to fix almost any clogged drain you have in the future. Consider it an investment. When buying your drain snake, buy a flashlight, a toilet plunger, a bucket, and some protective gloves like the latex type for washing dishes.
If the drain becomes backed up after running the faucet for a few seconds then the clog is up high. If this is the case, the clog will be closer to the sink or in the U-bend itself. If you can run the water longer before it starts to clog, then the clog is further down the plumbing and possibly in the wall.
How to unplug your kitchen sink using a plunger
The first thing to try is the toilet plunger. If you have a double sink, close the side off that does not have water in it. Put the plunger in the sink with the water that won’t drain and gently start to force the water down into the plumbing pipes. Just like you do when unclogging a toilet. If the clog was not a bad clog, then your sink should start draining normally right away. If using a plunger does nothing, go to the next step below.
Remove everything from under your sink. Put the bucket under the plumbing pipes. Put on your protective gloves. Start to loosen the pipes under the sink starting with the U-bend (aka = Trap) first. Completely remove it and look into it. It may be clogged with food particles. This may be the reason for the clog so if there is anything clogging it, reach in and push or pull it out. You can run water through it to be sure it is cleaned out. (Do not use the sink you are currently working on to run water as it will spill all over under the sink, consider using another sink or outside garden hose.)
Next use your flashlight and look into the pipe that goes up into the sink (if you have a disposer, look into the plumbing pipe that sticks out of it with your flashlight to be sure it is not clogged). Food particles can get stuck close to the sink and the water will slow drain. Do this same thing with the rest of the plumbing pipes under your sink. If you find any of the pipes clogged, then this is the sources of your problem. Clean the pipe or pipes out and reinstall. Test the drain by running the water faucet and see if it now drains properly. If so you have successfully fixed your clogged sink. If not the clog is further down the plumbing.
If you have found no clogs in the pipes you have checked, the clog is further down the pipes. You will now use your drain snake. Slide the end of the snake into the pipe in the wall and turn and push. The end of the snake should slide into the pipe with ease but if you encounter resistance, do not force it. Keep turning while you push or it can become kinked. If it starts to bind up, pull it back while you turn it clockwise. The resistance you feel may be the clog so turning it while you pull it out helps pull the clog out. Repeat this multiple times if necessary. If you do snake out a big piece of gunk, this could be your cause of the sink not draining. Keep snaking it into the pipe to be sure you have gotten out anything that may be clogging the plumbing. Once you are sure all the gunk has been removed, put everything back together and test the sink for proper drainage.
The next time you have a clogged sink, you will have a drain snake if needed. Keep the drain snake and the gloves in the bucket and store it under your sink in the back. You may need it again soon and this way you know where it is and everything needed to unclog your drain or drains is right there. This way you can stop using harmful chemicals and save money by not having to call a plumber.
If you have advice on how to unclog a drain without chemicals, please leave a comment below.