Unclogging the Kitchen Sink: First Steps

At some point, you or someone you know will find themselves in the unfortunate situation of contending with a clogged kitchen sink drain that's too tough for drain cleaner.

Before getting on the wire with your local Roto-Rooter, here are a few first steps to take when you get a clog.

Start with a plunger

If you don't already have a plunger for your sink, invest in one. Many clogs can be cleared with a good plunging. Many models of sink plunger sell for less than $10, and can be purchased online or at a local hardware store.

As for the actual act, plugging up the unclogged drain on the opposite side of the sink with a wet rag before getting started, as this aids in delivering the pressure directly to the clog. Next, fill the clogged side of the sink with a small amount of water, and begin plunging away (remember it's all about the up motion, not pushing down). Hopefully any food or paper products locked in the pipes will budge when you do this.

Next steps

If that doesn't seem to do the trick, then fashioning a wire coat hanger into an impromptu pipe cleaner. Bend a small hook onto the end using pliers, insert the coat hanger, and wiggle it up and down to try to dislodge any food that may be caught in the pipe. This may succeed where the plunger failed. (Caution: Do not stick equipment or appendages into a garbage disposal without first cutting the fuse.)

However, there is a chance that the clog is father down the drain, whereby none of the above methods will work. If this is the case, then first start by running a snake down the drain. These can be purchased at your local hardware store like the aforementioned examples. If that still doesn't work, you may have to take the trap beneath the sink apart, and snake the drain more directly. This requires a bit of hands-on effort, so you may want to wear rubber gloves. Be sure to place a bucket beneath the trap to catch any dirty water. Finally, you can begin snaking the drain.

Last step: Call in a professional

When you've exhausted all remediation efforts to unclog your drain, you know it's time to call a licensed plumber. Don't hesitate to contact your local Roto-Rooter. They certainly won't hesitate to head over and unclog your drain.

Get $40 OFF