A clogged kitchen sink can be extremely frustrating. Even worse than frustration, though, is the risk of causing damage to your plumbing system due to severe clogging. To minimize frustration as well as the risk of damage, it’s best to figure out the source of a clog and fix it as soon as possible.
If your double sink is clogged to the point where water is standing and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, you might assume all is already lost. Luckily, that’s not the case. Just follow these steps in this guide on how to unclog a double kitchen sink to be free from that unsavory standing water.
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Things That Get Clogged In Your Kitchen Sink
Before getting into the steps for how to unclog a double sink, you should try to determine the source of the clog. There are a lot of different things that can get clogged in your kitchen sink and cause water to stand in place, like:
It’s normal to assume that having a quality garbage disposal will prevent clogging, but that assumption can actually get you into a world of trouble. These powerful kitchen appliances can’t handle everything, and even if you have a Waste King garbage disposal, there are specific things that should be put in the trash instead.
That explains why so many people are searching how to unclog a double sink with disposal. So try not to treat your disposal as a trash can and avoid dumping coffee grounds, eggshells, stringy foods, or fats and oils down the drain.
Things You’ll Need to Unclog Your Double Kitchen Sink
If you’ve decided to DIY this project, then there are a few things you’ll need to gather up before getting started, including:
7 Methods for Removing Sink Clogs With Standing Water (Plumber’s Techniques)
There’s not just 1 way to remove a clog in the kitchen sink - you've got some options. Professional plumbers actually use 7 different methods:
1. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar
The baking soda-vinegar trick is useful for milder clogs, so it might not work, but it’s definitely worth trying since it’s cheap and easy. The Spruce says that using baking soda to unclog a drain is helpful since “it can dissolve mineral deposits and organic materials such as grease, which is slightly acidic in composition.”
Pairing it with vinegar creates a bubbly concoction that will hopefully eat through the clog. Just pour 1 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Wait at least an hour (the longer, the better) before pouring boiling water into the drain to wash it away.
2. Use Hot Boiling Water
This one is also for mild clogs, but once again, it’s worth giving this cheap and easy method a shot. Some clogs will break up with a simple hot water flush, so boil a pot of water before pouring it slowly down the drain.
3. Use Salt and Baking Soda
The process of using salt and baking soda is similar to using vinegar and baking soda.
According to Hunker, “when you mix baking soda with salt in a ratio of 2:1 it creates an ideal cleaning agent for unclogging your drain. Pour the mixture down the drain (use a larger ratio like 1 cup baking soda to 1/2 cup of salt for a stronger clean) and let the powder sit in the drain for a few hours.”
4. Use a Plunger
When using the plunger method, you’ll first want to plug the side of the drain that’s not clogged - a rag works well for this. Then place the plunger over the clogged drain, keeping the seal as tight as possible. Start plunging by making 6 even thrusts up and down, then check to see if the standing water drains.
5. Use a Drain Snake
If the plunger method doesn’t work, the next best thing would be to use a drain snake (a dismantled wire coat hanger also works well for this). Before feeding the snake down the drain, you’ll need to loosen the nuts located on either side of the pipe with a plumber’s wrench and remove the U-pipe. But first, place a bucket under the pipe to catch any water runoff that might fall.
Next, feed the drain snake down into the drain, trying to dislodge the clog as you go. It’s usually possible to dislodge it and send it downwards into the bucket, but you may have to pull it upwards to remove it. Once the clog has been released, replace the pipe and retighten the nuts, then flush the drain with hot water.
6. Remove and Clean the Drain Trap
This would be the last case scenario, but sometimes a clog is so bad that you have to physically remove and clean the drain trap. This would be the case if you have a garbage disposal and the clog is located below the disposal.
For this method, you’ll loosen the nuts on the U-pipe and remove it, placing a bucket underneath it first. Once removed, use the bucket to empty the contents of the pipe. Make sure you look for clogs to confirm that you’ve removed everything before replacing the U-pipe.
7. Inspect and Reset the Garbage Disposal
Another option for how to unclog a double kitchen sink with a garbage disposal is to inspect and reset the appliance. First, turn on the disposal while running hot water through it - that might be enough to break up the clog.
If not, the disposal could be overheated, in which case you could try activating the reset button (it’s usually located on the bottom) before running it again.
How to Avoid Recurring Blockages (Preventive Tips)
You don’t have to wait for a clog to build up before addressing it. Here are a few ways to prevent clogs from happening altogether:
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can you put Drano in a sink with standing water? Can Drano make a clog worse?
Yes, you can. Hunker says that using Drano with standing water works since Drano "is heavier than water, it usually sinks straight to the source of the clog.” Drano doesn’t always work, but it’s highly unlikely to make the clog worse.
How much does it cost for a plumber to unclog this type of problem?
If none of the methods above have solved the problem, it’s time to call a plumber. The cost of a professional plumber ranges anywhere from $145 to $333.
"it costs an average of $226 to get a drain snaked professionally. That price can land anywhere between $145 and $333 depending on the simplicity or severity of the issue. Stubborn blockages or damaged parts can increase your repair bill.”
Where does the water from my kitchen sink go?
When water goes down the drain, its final destination depends on whether you’re on a sewer or septic system.
“If you are on a sewer system, all of the drains in your house are connected to a single pipe that leads to the street,” says the City of Statesboro. “If you are not connected to a sewer system, the liquid wastes from your home go into a septic tank, where most of the solids settle out.”
How long does it generally take to unclog a double kitchen sink with standing water?
It depends on the severity of the clog, but it could take anywhere from minutes to hours. Hopefully, it’ll be a quick fix, although in some situations - like with the baking soda and vinegar - it’s best to wait a while for the solution to work its magic.
Before picking up the phone and calling a professional plumber, try one of the 7 methods above for how to unclog a double kitchen sink with standing water. If all else fails, a plumber will be able to help, but in most cases, it’s possible to solve the issue on your own.
Caitlin Shaffer has been traveling & working as a content writer & SCUBA dive instructor since 2014. Having lived in Central & South America, Southeast Asia, India, & Australia, Caitlin has had many years of experience with a variety of kitchen, bathroom, plumbing systems & common household products. Other than writing about her plumbing experiences & knowledge, her main passions are yoga, ocean conservation, & sustainable development.