Blocked Kitchen Sink

How to Fix (and Prevent) a Blocked Kitchen Sink

When your kitchen sink clogs, you may be scratching your head about how it got blocked in the first place. Let alone how to fix it. This guide from Northern Beaches Blocked Drains will tell you everything you need to know about unblocking your sink drain and preventing it from happening again.

Why Your Kitchen Sink Is Blocked

With the kitchen sink used for lots of washing and cooking, it can become blocked in a few ways. However, it’s often due to one of the following causes.

  • Food scraps: Most of us know that food scraps are a common cause behind a blocked kitchen sink; however, we continue to do it anyway, thinking small things like rice or coffee grounds are harmless. Wrong. While these food scraps may go down your sink at first, they eventually build up, swell from the absorbed water, and block your drainage. 
  • Grease: Pouring grease down the kitchen sink damages your pipes. When grease is washed down the sink, it cools and congeals, narrowing your pipes and restricting water flow. As a result, more food scraps get caught and clog the sink, which becomes challenging to unblock on your own.
  • Soap scum: If your water is considered “hard”, meaning a high concentration of calcium and magnesium, soap scum becomes a common problem for your drains. When soap comes in contact with hard water, a filmy residue called soap scum forms. Over time this residue accumulates and leads to your pipes clogging.

Now that you’re equipped with the why, it’s time to move on to the how!

How To Clear a Blocked Sink

Whenever we encounter a blocked sink drain, it’s common for most of us to reach for the chemical drain cleaner. This is a big NO. While they seem to provide quick drain cleaning, chemical drain cleaners often do considerable damage to the lining of your pipes and should be avoided where possible. Instead, try out these DIY blocked drain cleaning methods

  • Plunge: The first tool in your arsenal should be a standard cup plunger. If your kitchen sink drains slowly or backs up, the block is likely superficial and can be solved with pressure and suction. Cover the drain opening with the cup to plunge correctly, and use both hands to pump up and down to create suction and pressure for 30 seconds. If the block is stubborn, you may need to repeat this a couple of times.
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda: If plunging doesn’t work, baking soda and vinegar may be better. This combination works by bubbling through clogs, usually food scraps or soap scum, to dislodge the materials blocking your drain. We recommend pouring a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain and allowed to bubble for 5-10 minutes. Afterwards, rinse water down the sink and continue the process again if required. 

It’s important that while using this method, you have a window open for ventilation, are wearing protective eyewear, and have on rubber gloves.

  • Dish Soap and Hot Water: Dish soap and hot water work just as well if you don’t have vinegar and baking soda on hand. It’s more effective to be generous with the amount of dish soap used as it helps lubricate blockages and remove them. While you can use boiling water to clear your blocked sink drain, you must check whether your piping is PVC. If you have PVC drain pipes, you need to use hot water as boiling water can lead to cracking in your piping. 
  • Drain Snake: Sometimes, a simple drain snake can do the trick of unblocking your drain. When rotated to scrape along the inside of your pipes, these tools work by unspooling their metal coil to dislodge food scraps, soap scum, or congealed grease. However, a metal coat hanger will also suffice if you don’t own a drain snake. 

Bonus: How To Prevent Future Clogs

If you want to save yourself the headache and make your life a bit easier, then learning to avoid accidentally blocking your sink drain is essential. At Northern Beaches Blocked Drains, we always advise doing the following.

  • Start using a drain filter: The easiest way to stop food scraps from being washed down your kitchen sink is to install a drain filter. These filters have tiny pores which allow water to run through whilst catching unwanted food going down your sink. A quick trip to Bunnings will set you back less than $10 and prevent you from ever having a blocked sink pop up from cleaning your dishes. 
  • Collect your grease: Pouring your grease into a container and disposing of with the rest of your garbage is the most efficient way to prevent grease-blocked drains. It’s important to note that the grease should be left to cool before chucking it in with the rest of your garbage in your bin. Leaving it hot not only presents a burn risk to you when handling it but also risks melting your wheelie bin.
  • Stop using the garbage disposal: Whilst convenient in the moment to clean up the mess, your disposal doesn’t stop your food wastes from building up over time and blocking your kitchen sink. Instead, stop using it altogether and if you wish to be environmentally conscious, just create your own compost garden and reuse your food scraps to create rich soil.
  • Schedule regular pipe inspections: At the end of the day, the best way to prevent blocked kitchen sinks is to call a professional like us at Northern Beaches Blocked Drains. Recognising the signs is second nature for blocked drain specialists, and having a scheduled check-up once a year can be the difference between being stress-free or having an expensive problem on your hands.

For more blocked drain advice, check out the rest of our blogs to learn how to recognise, prevent, and solve, all different types of drain blockages. Or if you have a blocked drain and need it solved as soon as possible, give us a call at 0416 962 481.


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