How To Unclog Your Kitchen Sink! {Or Any Other Sink}

I have the most temperamental kitchen sink EVER! To be more precise….the DRAIN in my kitchen sink is temperamental. A DIVA of the first rank!

After having had several unpleasant experiences with backed up pipes, I am usually SOOOO careful what I put down it. No rice, no eggshells, no vegetable peels, basically NOTHING that isn’t liquid(ish).

Well, today I LOST MY HEAD and put the cut off ends of two bunches of cilantro down the sink and turned on the garbage disposal. After all….isn’t that what garbage disposals are designed to do???  I know, I know, I’d been burned before….I SHOULD have known better….but “knowing better” is not one of my strong points. :-)

Sure enough….the garbage disposal was running but no water was going down. It just sat there, a mocking, spinning, vortex of water! 

At this point I was grateful that the hubster happened to be out of the house at the time. I could already hear the lecture that was in my future in my head! So in a desperate attempt to avoid said lecture, I decided to try a “trick” I had read about involving vinegar, baking soda and a “mini volcano”!

I didn’t take pictures of the unfortunate incident, so you’ll have to take my word on it….but I did make this nifty graphic describing exactly what I did. And guess what?????  IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!  Crisis (and lecture) averted! As a matter of fact, when the hubster reads this, it will be the first time he’s heard of it.    Hi hon! :-)))

how to unclog a sink

If you need more detailed instructions…there is a good description I found here at The Good Human.

While my kitchen sink clogging wasn’t exactly what I would have preferred happen today….at least it gave me a chance to try out the super, duper drain unclogging trick and share it with you! Aren’t you glad I “lose my head” sometimes? ;-)


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  1. Nancy says

    I don’t have too much trouble with my drains anymore since a plumber told me to put a gallon of boiling water down them once a month. We now eat spaghetti once a month and I use my huge stockpot to boil the noodles.☺

  2. Glenna says

    I’ve had this problem with my sink also and after trying this and still having to call a plumber…he said NEVER, ever put baking soda and vinegar down the drain. The baking soda can cause the clog to be worse because it can harden if it doesn’t make it all the way out of your pipes.

    • Nova says

      That’s a common thing for them to say, not because it’s bad to do, but because they lose business. I just leave the hot tap running for a few minutes, and I’ve never had any problems. Haven’t called a plumber in almost a decade.

  3. Kathy says

    My plumber told me to put 1-2 cups of bleach down the drain once a month. It is much less expensive than liquid draino. I try to stay away from bleach as much as possible but this seems to work.

  4. says

    My plumber said the same thing as Nancy’s, never, ever put baking soda down the sink. I got this lecture after he had to come twice in a week to unclog my bathroom sink. He said a gallon of boiling water as well and also recommended a product called Thrift (I think that is the name). I just do the water and keep my finger’s crossed!

  5. Donna says

    I swear, right now my double kitchen sink is backed up. I don’t think this will fix it though. Something is going on between the 2 sinks and the garbage disposal. Sigh.

    I do love your posts!!

  6. Donna says

    On your poll you should have “yell at your husband’ because he knows something is going on but isn’t addressing it. :-) I’ve got real pipe problems not just a clog.

  7. says

    So in your infographic you pour the baking soda and vinegar down the sink and THEN put the drain stopper in (after the stuff is down the drain already?) or do you want the baking soda and vinegar in the basin? It wasn’t super clear to me. If the drain is clogged, why would you need to put the stopper in? Just curious.

    I have heard plumbers who said this was ok to do, and better for your pipes than Drano or Liquid Plumr. I just think it is a line they give. Bleach can kill the bacteria that is growing, so unless your clog is caused by growing bacteria (yuck) I don’t think bleach will unclog a drain… and it goes out to wherever the water drainage goes, probably ends up being not so environmentally friendly.

    It sounds as if there is a defective disposal… whenever any appliance is defective like that, it is best to get it repaired.

    • Ayshela says

      you put the vinegar and baking soda down the drain, if you can get the water level down far enough, and then put the stopper in so that the violently bubbly/fizzy reaction stays in the drain pipe and not splashing back up in your face.

  8. Rebecca Davis Merritt says

    In the summers we live on our houseboat with very tiny double sinks. The drain hole is about the size of a dime. The pipes are that small and are flexible hoses. If any sold particle goes down the drain, it will get plugged. Earlier this summer my spouse spent all morning taking apart the plumbing to dislodge a clog. About a month ago another clog but this time I used the vinegar, baking soda, and hot water solution which worked like a charm! I am a believer.

  9. Kim Smith says

    OMG….. How funny when I saw you post this today!!!! I had to do this EXACT same thing yesterday!!!!!! Too funny it DOES Work.. And so much less expensive than Draino ect… I will NEVER use anything but those two products to unclog the drain!!!!! And it helped with the smell of our garbage disposal as well!!!!!
    So happy you shared it though!!!
    Have a great day.. And I look forward to your daily emails!!!! :)

    ~Kim Smith

  10. mimib says

    The problem you describe is the exact problem I get from time-to-time — carrot peels, egg-shells, etc. form an unmovable blockage. It’s always when I’m prepping for a big meal, of course! So I’m excited to try this solution someday. My question, though, is how do you deal with the double bowl sink? Both sides are clogged, one has the disposer attached but the other is closer to the trap. So what side do you put the mixture down? And I imagine you then need to plug up both sides.

    • Chris says

      Mimib I have a double sink and one side does have a garbage disposal on it, so I’m going to try and help you with this. I had the worst clog ever in my drain this past April. With my garbage disposal the pipes under the sink are connected so that it all runs out into one drain which I suspect is the same way yours is. Most clogs are in the U shaped pipe, which by the way is usually very easy to take apart, but mine was not there, it was further out. What I did was put the vinegar and baking soda down the drain with out the garbage disposal and yes you will need to plug up both sinks when you do this, therewise the volcanic action will just escape out the other side. Now if you do truely have a clog between the garbage disposal and the line that goes out to the main drain, then you may be able to just unscrew the pipes under you sink and get that clog out. My garbage disposal T’s into the main line prior to the U shaped pipe and it is very easy to unscrew this and clean it out if that is where the clog is. Hope this helps.

      • Chris says

        Just read my own comment and I see I made a typo of two. Don’t know that therewise is a word. Meant to say otherwise the volcanic action will just escape out the other side.