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What To Do When Your Kitchen Sink Won’t Drain

Is your kitchen sink not draining or is that a bad smell coming from the plughole? Our guide can help you identify the best way to unblock your kitchen drain.

Are you here because water from your kitchen sink drains too slowly, or you’ve got standing water in your double sink? Is there also a strong odour coming from the sink? This sounds like you may have a clog in your kitchen drain. Having a clogged kitchen sink can affect your household plumbing in more ways than one.

Kitchen Sink Wont Drain

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

Why Is The Water In My Sink Not Going Down?

There are a few reasons you could be experiencing a clogged sink or drain or sink draining slowly. Fat and grease build-up, soap scum, stuck food items, or oil accumulation are only a few reasons why your drain or drain trap can clog up. These items will not let the water or gas pass through easily, and the obstructed movement will create a gurgling sound and slow draining sink.

If your clogged drain is untreated, your sink will not clear out completely, or water will slowly move down the drain. Due to the drain blockage, the wastewater can flow back from the pipes, leading to a malfunctioning sink. Below are more common reasons for sink blockages, clogged drains, or your sink won’t drain.

Food Scraps

Coffee grounds, food waste, and more can get stuck in your drain. Sometimes, when 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 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 you can dispose of in your garbage.


Cooking oil and fats like your bacon grease 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 easier 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 can only handle water, human waste and toilet paper. Anything 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 it.

When using your kitchen drain, keeping your pipework protected from material that can damage the pipes and cause clogs is essential. Only pouring water down the drain and installing a strainer will catch household items such as toys and jewellery.

How Do You Unclog A Kitchen Sink?

Cleaning solutions are available in local stores to dissolve the dirt inside and dislodge anything stuck in the passages. However, if you plan to use it, remember to be very careful and read all the instructions for properly administering the chemical. Aside from the strong chemical components, which can be a health threat, cleaners can also damage and corrode the pipes. This can result in more significant problems and expenses, and you would not want to go down that road.

If your sink doesn’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. You only need a strong toilet plunger, drain snake, or plumber’s snake with a flat head. Create a tight seal around the drain opening with the plunger and a firm grip on the handle, and create a push-and-pull motion. The fast movements will generate pressure and loosen the obstruction. You may need to use the strong plunger a few times to clear the clog.

Wire Coat Hanger

You can untwist an ordinary wire coat hanger 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 back into the drain opening and twist clockwise. 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. However, it’s best to skip this step if you’ve got PVC pipes because hot water could loosen the pipe seals.

Flush the drain with half a cup or 1 cup of baking soda, followed by 1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider 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 solid fat and oils in your drain pipe and drain clogs clearing your blocked sink.

P Trap

The P Trap is a p shaped pipe 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. Wear rubber gloves and place a bucket under the pipe to catch falling water.

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

Sink Trap Sink

Is the Sink Still Not Draining?

We have reviewed a few methods, such as hot water, vinegar, baking soda down the drain, wire coat hangers, and even a plunger. But if these remedies don’t work and you still have a clogged sink in your kitchen, or it may not be blocked entirely but only slow-draining, you may need to call a plumber.

A licensed plumber will have the experience and proper 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 unclog a kitchen sink and find a permanent solution so you do not have drain problems in the future.

If you want to save time and yourself from dealing with your plumbing problems alone, call an experienced plumber to help you.

Kitchen Sink Drain Repairs

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