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What To Do When Your Kitchen Sink Won’t Drain

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Are you here because water from your kitchen sink is draining too slow? Is there also a strong odour coming from the sink? This sounds like you may have a clog in your kitchen drain. Having this issue can affect your household plumbing in more ways than one.

What To Do When Your Kitchen Sink Won’t Drain Photo

Without a properly working kitchen sink, your home can be at risk of damage to the pipework, overflow of water, damage to surfaces, unhygienic living environment and potential flooding. Your kitchen sink gets used daily and works hard so when it fails you are left with a massive inconvenience.

Why Is The Water In My Sink Not Going Down?

There are a few reasons you could be experiencing a clogged sink or drain. These can range from happening immediately to occurring over a period of time. We have listed some of the most common reasons below.

How to Inspect Your Own House, Part 6: Plumbing | Star Tribune

Food Scraps

Sometimes when you are washing dishes and clearing up after a meal, you may inadvertently wash bits of food down the sink. Over time, the food can sit in the pipe and become lodged. Old food items will begin to rot and that is where you will find a foul smell coming out of the pipes. The food may be too solid or large to go down the water channels.

Invest in a sink strainer that covers the drain opening. It will catch pieces of food that you can dispose of in your garbage.


Cooking oil and fats are bad for your pipework. Once the oil has cooled down, it can solidify and lodge onto the pipelining. This will make the flow of water slow as the passageway becomes narrow. Even though it seems like the easier option to drain old cooking oil or coffee grounds down your sink, it is a bad idea and will cause more harm to your plumbing.

To handle fats and oils correctly, you can pour the leftovers into a garbage disposal or bag and dispose of the bag in your outside bin.

Foreign Objects

The plumbing at your property is only able to handle water, human waste and toilet paper. Anything else that gets flushed down can cause an obstruction and blockage and may be stuck in the channels. This can be done unintentionally and without you realising.

When you are using your kitchen drain, it is important to keep your pipework protected from material that can damage the pipes and cause clogs. Only pouring water down the drain and installing a strainer will catch any household items such as toys and jewellery.

How Do You Unclog A Kitchen Sink?

If your sink won't drain, you need to take action quickly. There are a few ways to unclog your sink that only require household items.


This method is simple and doesn't require many steps. All you need is a strong plunger that has a flat head. Create a seal around the drain opening with the plunger and with a firm grip on the handle, create a push and pull motion. The fast movements will create pressure and loosen the obstruction. You may need to use the plunger a few times to clear the clog.

Wire Coat Hanger

You can take an ordinary wire coat hanger, untwist it and straighten it out. On one end, manipulate the wire to make a handle. Make sure you keep the other end straight. Insert the straight end into the drain opening and twist in a clockwise motion. This should push the obstruction down the line.

Vinegar And Baking Soda

A natural alternative to chemical drain cleaners is a mixture of baking soda and vinegar with equal parts of boiling water. Flush the drain with 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes next carefully pour 1 cup of boiling water down the drain. Repeat the process if necessary for stubborn blockages. The combined baking soda and vinegar will create a chemical reaction that breaks down fats and oils.

P Trap

The P Trap is a p shaped pipe that is located underneath your sink. It has a bend that catches and holds materials and debris that wash down with the water from the sink drain. It helps stop odours from the sewer from escaping into the air through the drain opening. If you can, remove the P Trap and inspect it for obstructions. Make sure you wear rubber gloves and place a bucket under the pipe to catch falling water.

How to Replace the Drain Trap on a Sink

Clean the trap out thoroughly and reattach it back to the pipework.

Sink Still Not Draining?

We have gone over a few methods such as hot water, vinegar and baking soda down the drain, wire coat hangers and even using a plunger. But if these remedies don't work and you still have a clogged sink in your kitchen, you may need to call a plumber.

A licenced plumber will have the experience and right tools such as a high-pressure jet blaster, a plumber's snake and CCTV cameras to inspect your pipes and find the cause of the clog. The aim is to not only unclog a kitchen sink but find a permanent solution so you do not have drain problems in the future.

If you want to save time and yourself from having to deal with your plumbing problems on your own. Call an experienced plumber to help you.

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