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How To Clean A Clogged Sink Drain (Kitchen & Bath): 10 GOOD & BAD Ways

Do those HACKS For Clogged Kitchen & Bathroom Sinks Work? Here’s 10 GOOD & BAD ways to clear a clogged sink drain with steps & a video guide.

How To Clean A Clogged Sink Drain

As a grown up, it seems like you have to deal with a clogged kitchen sink or clogged bathroom sink every few years. It’s almost inevitable.

So, if you want to save money, learning how to clear a clogged sink yourself is a must-have skill for any home owner. Luckily, it’s usually a pretty quick and easy fix. If you know what actually works.

This post goes over 10 of the popular recommendations for clearing a clogged sink. BUT, some of these just DON’T WORK.

Image of a clogged kitchen sink p-trap for a post about the best ways to clean a clogged sink drain in a kitchen or bathroom.
Years of fats and bits of food built up, causing this gross clogged kitchen sink.

So, I’ll cover which ones you should skip and which ones WORK BEST. Let’s get started with my list of 10 ways to unblock a clogged kitchen sink or bathroom sink.

1. Hot Water

Let’s start with one of the easier options, that probably works 50% of the time. If your kitchen sink clog is just starting, meaning you have slow draining water but it still drains, give this a try.

I heat up a kettle of water, you could also boil a pot of water. Just be VERY CAREFUL handling that hot water. Use pot holders to carefully pour it into the clogged drain.

Using hot water to clear a clogged kitchen sink.

Hot water won’t really help on hair clogging bathroom sinks or bits of food in a clogged kitchen sink. But, it’s pretty good at flushing out any fats that have settled in your p-trap.

In fact, I’ve never had a kitchen sink clog in the sink that I always drain hot water into when I’m cooking. So, in the future, I’m going to alternate which sink I pour hot cooking water into, to prevent fat build up.

IF IT DOESN’T work, just be sure to let the water cool before scooping it out!

2. Coke Or Pepsi

Next up, you might be able to clear a clogged sink with Coke or Pepsi. Any sodas (typically dark sodas) with Phosphoric Acid would work.

This type of acid is safe on plumbing. And, it can dissolve some sink clogs.

Using coca cola to clear a clogged kitchen sink drain.
You can try to use a full 2-liter of Pepsi or Coca-Cola on a clogged sink.

To try this, slowly pour a 2-liter of Coke into a clogged sink. Let it sit for at least an hour, to see if it works. You can even leave it overnight, if you’d like.

If it doesn’t work, you’ll have to scoop out all of the visible soda, so that it’s not in your way when you try something else.

3. Baking Soda And Vinegar

Next up is one of those cleaning hacks that some people recommend for literally EVERYTHING around the house. And, generally, it DOESN’T actually work when a sink drain is clogged.

You can see me test it out in the video below this list.

For this bad “hack” you’re supposed to pour baking soda into the clogged sink, then add vinegar. And, they say the fizzy reaction will push the clog through.

Using baking soda and vinegar to clear a clogged kitchen sink drain.
You can see that fizzing started the second I started to add the vinegar. All of that escaping gas goes up instead of towards the clog.

The problem is, the fizz travels up and away from the clog, so there’s no pressure applied to the clog.

I tried blocking the drain to see if the pressure could be forced into the clog. But honestly, that fizz is fun to watch, but it’s not actually strong anyway. So, skip this one.

Using baking soda to clear a clogged kitchen sink drain.
Getting a cup of Baking Soda into the drain takes a little work.

4. Baking Soda And Hot Water

Here’s another option I saw some people recommending in forums. They recommended pouring a cup of baking soda into the cogged sink, then adding 1 cup of water to create a solution to dissolve the clog.

Again, I think you can skip this one. This mixture of water and baking soda will produce a slightly alkaline pH solution. But, I don’t think it could really do much of anything at all to a fully blocked sink drain.

The acid in Coke or Pepsi will work better than this.

Using wet dry vac to clear a kitchen clogged sink drain.
If you use a wet dry vac, you’ll need to create a seal with the end of the hose and the drain, to increase suction.

5. Wet Dry Vac

Ok, using a wet dry vac on a clogged sink is an option that might work. I see this one recommended all the time. BUT, do you really want to clean all of that gunk out of your wet dry vac?

You’ll have all of the fat, goo, and food bits stuck in the wet dry vac‘s hose and container.

I’m not a fan of this one, ONLY BECAUSE there are better options (like #1, #2, #7, #8, and #10).

Using a plunger to clear a kitchen clogged sink drain.

6. Plunger

Again, you can use a plunger on a sink. BUT, that does mean you are trying to pull that nasty goo INTO YOUR SINK. So, you’ll have a gross mess to clean.

And, there is also a chance that you could push the goo down and into your dishwasher when using a plunger in a kitchen sink. That’s another huge mess I don’t want to deal with!

A third HUGE downside to using a plunger on a sink is that you might push the clog further into the pipes, making it harder for you to remove.

I say leave this option to a plumber. If you really want to try this one, I show you how to use a plunger in a sink in the video after this list.

Using an auger to clear a kitchen clogged sink drain.

7. Auger (AKA: A Snake)

Of course, a good option for clearing clogged sinks is to use an auger. Auger’s are also referred to as snakes. You can snake the drain to pull the gunk loose in a clogged drain.

Auger’s are really handy when the clog is somewhere past the P-trap (U-shaped bend) under the sink.

To use an auger, you feed the line until it reaches the clog, then crank the handle to get the coil on the end of the auger inserted into the clog. Then pull that clog loose and out. Repeat, if necessary.

You can see my auger with an explanation for using it, in the video after this list. Here’s a good sink auger for this job.

There are 2 nuts that connect a p-trap under a sink. Many clogged kitchen sinks are caused by food blockages here.
My kitchen sink has 2 p-traps (one for each sink). There are 2 nuts that connect the p-trap. I’m pointing at 1 of the nuts. An arrow points at the other.

8. Clean Out The P-Trap

Now, removing the p-trap under the sink might sound scary. But, it’s actually pretty easy when the plumbing is modern. Pipes installed in the last 30 years are generally pretty easy to unscrew.

Older plumbing can corrode and become a MAJOR problem to remove. But, PVC pipes are generally easy to remove with something like a plumbers wrench.

Using a plumbing wrench to remove a p-trap.
Sometimes you can unscrew the nut by hand, but you’ll usually need an adjustable wrench to loosen the nuts.

To remove the p-trap under the sink, you’ll need to where heavy duty gloves and maybe goggles too. Start by scooping all visible water out of the sink before you disconnect the pipes under a sink.

Pour it out in a clear drain or somewhere outside, if necessary. After that, put a large container under the P-Trap to catch any liquid or goo that might be above the clog in the pipe.

This kitchen sink clog was shockingly large!
This kitchen sink clog was shockingly large! That’s years of fats solidifying in the bend and tiny bits of food being trapped in it.

Then use a plumbers wrench to unscrew the 2 nuts that connect the p-trap to the other pipes. These nuts unscrew counterclockwise. Once those are unscrewed, you can remove the u-shaped pipe.

Dump out the contents into the container. Then use a bottle brush or whatever you can to completely remove the gunk in pipe. Rinse with hot water, then reconnect everything, nice and tight.

Fats in a clogged p-trap.
After dumping out this p-trap, you can see that the inside is still full of thick fats.

WARNING: This is just a basic explanation of removing a p-trap. I recommend watching my video below and a few other videos to get a better understanding before you try this.

There is always a chance that something could go wrong. Be prepared to call a plumber. You’ll NEED to cover the open end of the plumbing to block all sewer gases from coming into your house.

Using a bottle brush to clean a p-trap.
After dumping out most of the gunk, I scrubbed the inside clean with a bottle brush. I recommend throwing that brush away afterwards.

9. Drano Or Liquid Plumber

This kind of thing is made for clearing clogs, but I DO NOT recommend using drain cleaners for a few reasons.

First, drain cleaners tend to not work very well. They might open a small hole in a clog, that allows a slow drain. But, that typically won’t work for long before you need it again

Second, there’s a good chance that it won’t work at all. Then you have another HUGE problem. You have to figure out how to safely remove the drain cleaner BEFORE you can do anything else to unclog the drain.

Third, if there is drain cleaner sitting between the drain and the clog, you might not know it’s there. So, when you, or a plumber, remove the p-trap you risk getting splashed with strong chemicals.

Hopefully, you won’t get splashed in the eyes. But, any splash with this stuff can be BAD. I avoid drain cleaner altogether these days.

Image of a clogged kitchen sink p-trap for a post about the best ways to clean a clogged sink drain in a kitchen or bathroom. Kitchen sink clogged.
Don’t forget to save how to unclog a kitchen sink drain.

10. Call A Plumber

And, last but not least, you can always call a plumber! Getting clogs out of sinks is what they do! Among other things.

So, if you’re not sure about any of these ideas, call a local plumber with a good rating. They’ll be able to handle it. 🙂

Keep scrolling for additional tips you’ll need to clean hair out of a clogged sink drain.

How To Unblock A Clogged Kitchen Sink – Video

If any of the written options are confusing, watch this video. Seeing something done can sometimes help.

9 Ways To Clean A Clogged Kitchen Sink Drain - GOOD & BAD! (Clear A Clogged Sink)

How To Clean A Hair Clog Out Of A Sink

A hair clog in a bathroom sink is a bit different than a kitchen sink clog. Generally, the first thing I’d try is a simple, drain clog remover. Here’s an example of one on Amazon.

A drain clog remover is a barbed strip of plastic that can be inserted into the clogged drain, pushed into the hair so that it’s wrapped around it, then you can slowly pull the hair out. Repeat as needed.

If you can’t reach the clog with that plastic strip, the clog might be in the p-trap. In that case, you can follow the steps in the video below to see how I removed a bathroom sink p-trap.

Cleaning Hair Out of a Sink Drain - Easy Steps to Remove and Clean Pipes Under a Bathroom Sink

That’s it for how to clean clogged kitchen sinks and clogged bathroom sink drains. Here’s a few more posts you might like.

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