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How to unclog your kitchen drain

If water is taking a lifetime to drain away, there’s a funny smell in the air and your sink sounds like it’s burping, you’ve probably got a blockage. A blocked kitchen sink drain isn’t the most pleasant thing to deal with and can be a real inconvenience but usually, it’s straightforward to repair.

In this article, we aim to help you identify the problem and provide steps on how to unclog a sink. You don’t need any magical powers or expert knowledge. So roll up your sleeves, put on rubber gloves and take a deep breath. Things could get messy…

What has clogged up my kitchen sink drain?

If your kitchen drain is regularly getting blocked, you need to consider what you’re putting down it. You see, whilst it can be tempting to pour all liquids (and poke the odd piece of food) down your sink for convenience, you could be damaging your drainage system. Some of the main culprits for blocking kitchen drains include:

  • Oil and fat from greasy pans and roasting tins
  • Food – especially carbs like rice and pasta
  • Coffee grounds

Empty them into the bin instead and you won’t have to unclog your sink drain as often.

How to unblock a sink

Having a blocked kitchen sink can be a pain but thankfully it’s not something you have to put up with. Here are several ways you can unclog sink blockages

1. Unclog drain with a sink plunger
One of the easiest ways to unclog your kitchen sink is to use a sink plunger. Pick one up from your local hardware store as it’s bound to come in use. Read through the steps below to learn how to unblock a drain with a sink plunger:

  • Turn on the taps and fill your kitchen sink until it’s half full
  • Position the plunger over the drain
  • Plunge up and down quickly to push water down the drain
  • Remove the sink plunger and see if your water has drained

It may take a little while (and a lot of plunging) to unclog sink blockages. If it doesn’t work the blockage may be on the larger side so move onto the next method.

2. Use bicarbonate of soda and vinegar
Many people spend time searching for the best sink unblocker products in the supermarket when they’ve probably got just what they need at home. A mixture of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar should do the trick!

  1. Push one cup of bicarbonate of soda down your kitchen sink
  2. Follow with one cup of vinegar and push the drain stopper in
  3. Wait at least 5 minutes for the solution to work
  4. Pour 5 cups of hot water down the drain
  5. Run your taps and see if the water now drains easily

You may need to repeat this process a couple of times for more stubborn blockages. Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are one of the best sink unblocker solutions. Don’t bother spending your money on pricey chemicals – they’re not very good for your drains or the environment for that matter!

3. Try inserting a long wire
You can also try tackling a blocked kitchen sink with a long piece of wire. Pick up wire designed for this purpose from hardware stores (it’s sometimes called a Plumber’s Snake) or if you’d rather save money, unbend a wire coat hanger instead.

Gently push the wire down one of the holes in your sink drain
Wiggle it around to get it down and around the U-bend
Pull, twist and push to remove the blockage
Rinse water down the sink to wash the debris away

4. Unclog drain by hand
If the other 3 methods don’t work, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty. Most blockages tend to form in your kitchen sink’s U-bend, so you’re going to need to unscrew it and physically remove the blockage by hand.

  • Locate the U-bend (it’s the first bend after the plughole)
  • Place a small bucket under the U-bend and carefully unscrew the pipe
  • As soon as you begin to unscrew water will start to drain out
  • Once it’s stopped, pull out the blockage using your fingers
  • Give the pipe a quick clean with a dishcloth
  • Screw the pipe back in place and run the tap to make sure it’s watertight

This isn’t the most pleasant thing to have to do but if it saves you having to call out a plumber and pay a costly repair charge, we’d say it’s worth it!

What if I don’t know how to unblock kitchen sink?

If you’ve tried the methods above and still can’t unblock your kitchen sink, it could because the blockage is either too large or located further down the drain. Unfortunately, it looks like you’re going to have to call a plumber. They will have the tools to access and remove blockages safely.

Of course, plumbers don’t work for free, so you’ll have to pay a call-out charge, which can be costly. The more serious the blockage is or the harder it is to access, the more expensive it’s going to be (we’re talking £150-£200.) If you are constantly having problems with blocked drains, a CCTV drain survey may be required to determine its cause, which can cost in the region of £90-£100 on top.

Save money on blocked drains with home cover

Although the best way to save money on a blocked kitchen sink is to prevent it from clogging up in the first place, it’s sometimes easier said than done. Protect your drains and your bank balance by taking out home cover.

Our home cover package includes repairs to and the unblocking of your home’s drains and waste pipes, ensuring water flow is restored to your property. For more information and to get a quote, visit our Home Cover page. Prefer to speak to someone? Give us a call on 0330 912 4843 to get your questions answered.

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