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What Is The Best Way To Unclog a Sink Drain?

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!

clogged sink - how to fixHOW TO FIX A CLOGGED SINK

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.)

drain trap

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.

under sink plumbingThe plumbing under your kitchen sink will be similar to this

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.

water flow in plumbing pipes

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.

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11 thoughts on “What Is The Best Way To Unclog a Sink Drain?”

  1. There is a device for sale that works like a bladder. It is small and disconnect the pipes to get a straight shot.
    Attach the threaded end to the device and put other end into the straight pipe as far as it will go.
    Turn on water. The bladder looking thing expands and seals the pipe and water pressure is used to squirt out the clog. No mess, no fuss. Used it one time and after 5 years of removing all the plumbing and using that snake no more clogs.
    This is for the deep clog, sink not draining, disposer runs.
    For short blockage use the plunger and the cover for other side of sink. Fill sink that drains with water to cover the plug. Hold the plugged side down and plunge the not draining side. Water in other sink helps keep that plug in place while you plunge.

    One day I took apart all the pipes and used the bladder things until water ran like new.
    Nothing has been clogged for over 20 years.
    I was an Army wife and Mother of 5, Husband gone away often if I couldn’t figure it out I was at the neighborhood Hardware Store asking questions.

    No money, with brains and time I could fix about anything. NOW WE HAVE GOOGLE.
    Buy a toilet auger not a snake. The rubber thingy works everywhere but the toilet. I did see an adapter to use like a funnel to seal the toilet and use the water thing.
    Toilet not flushing. Turned off water and took parts to store. Sold me what I need to fix my problem.

  2. I didn’t even know that you could use a plunger on a clogged sink. Seems obvious now that I think about it, but I’ve only used it for the toilet.

  3. I’ve never actually tried using a drain snake before, but I’ll definitely have to give it a shot. My bathroom sink has been clogged since yesterday, and I haven’t been able to fix it yet.

  4. DIY Project Help Tips

    No, just put a bucket under the drain trap before doing it and don’t run water at the same time.

  5. I agree that chemicals should be avoided as often as possible. I wouldn’t need to shut the water off when I check the trap under the sink right? I would love to get in there and clean it out.

  6. I had a problem to unclog my kitchen sink, But it’s definitely the best tips for unclog a kitchen sink for your methods are valued as an informative instructor for us, Excellent article!

  7. I’d never considered using a toilet plunger on a clogged sink, but I like the idea of keeping a drain snake on hand. Plumbing problems aren’t just an inconvenience. If they are ignored for too long they can really damage your system, even until you need to replace your pipes. It is much easier to avoid those problems all together by keeping a hair catcher on your bathtub drain and only putting solid foods down the sink with a disposal.

  8. Camille Guerrier

    Thank you for sharing this information on how to unclog a sink. My kitchen sink has been clogged for almost a week now. I thought it was fixed the other day, but it keeps on getting worse. I have tried the disposal and chemicals and nothing seems to work. I will try buying the drain snake and if that doesn’t work, I will have to call a professional. I can’t have this sink clogged up any longer! Thanks.

  9. Thanks for this helpful article! My hair always seems to clog the shower drain, so I’m always looking for new ways to unclog them without hiring a plumber. I’ll be sure to look into those different flow drains. Do you know how much they cost?

  10. Vincent Leonard

    Yes, I completely agree with your thought that instead of using harsh chemicals, one must try using home remedies like Backing Soda, Vinegar, Hot Water, Plunger etc to unclog drain.

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