The kitchen sink is the single most common clog in any modern household. Why? Because food residue and other things are always flowing down the drain when they shouldn’t. There are all sorts of ways that homeowners accidentally mistreat their kitchen sink, causing clogs. Some kitchen sinks are also prone to clogging due to the pipes, the design, or even the composition of your tap water.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent kitchen drain clogs so you don’t have to reach for the tiny plunger or the number of your local drain & sewer service.
1) What Can’t Go Down the Drain
First and most importantly, know what can and cannot go down the drain. Think about how clogs can form when deciding what to throw into the garbage disposal or pour down the drain. Hot grease from cooking, for example, should go in the trash because when it cools, it will harden into a water-resistant shield. Vegetable peels, eggshells, and onion skins can form blockades, while pasta, oatmeal, and coffee grounds form something like glue when poured down the drain.
2) How to Run and Clear Your Garbage Disposal
Know how to operate your garbage disposal if you have one. Start by running cool water down the garbage-disposal side of the sink. Then run the disposal in one long grind for easy stuff or a sequence of pulses for anything that seems to be resistant to breaking up.
If you accidentally grind a fork or, even worse, shards of glass, then there is a way to solve this without cutting up your hand. Find the special tool that articulates the disposal blades from beneath. It will likely look like an oversized, double-ended alan wrench. Insert it into the slot and wiggle back and forth to loosen the blade’s grip on anything inside. Continue running water until the problem is solved.
Running your garbage disposal is also handy if your dishwasher drain seems to be backing up.
3) Rinse with Vinegar
If your home runs hard water, you’ll know from the white spots on your clean dishes and around sinks, faucets, and tubs. This white stuff is made of minerals that are harmless to drink but build up on everything. And it builds up on the inside of your pipes, too, which can increase your chance of clogs. Fortunately, hard water residue or “scale” is easily broken up with white vinegar. Pour vinegar down your sink drain at least once a month to counteract hard water. You can also use a 50/50 mix of vinegar and hot water.
4) Zip-It, Zip-It Good
There is a particular tool called a Zip-It, which is a long flexible strip with tiny tines along the sides and a big handle at the end. You thread it down the non-disposal side of your sink and then pull up. It will magically pull up hair and other debris that may have been down there while also applying a little sharp pressure to get things moving. They are sold in packs of 5 and eventually wear out, but having even just one zip-it under the sink can be very handy.
5) Occasionally Check and Clean the Sink Trap
If you think your sink drain is clogged, don’t call the repairman until you’ve checked the trap. The trap is the low bend that requires water to flow straight up for an inch or two before it truly drains. As you may have guessed, the trap is there to catch anything that cannot easily flow up and, therefore, isn’t really water. And if the trap gets clogged, so too does your kitchen sink and possibly your dishwasher as well.
To clean, remove your sink trap using wrenches with a bucket or towel underneath to catch the not-so-nice water that will flow out when detached. Run hot water through the trap, scrub it out with a bottle brush, and then re-secure the clean trap for a much cleaner kitchen draining experience.
5) Call for Drain Repairs When Necessary
Finally, if all else fails, call for a drain service to hunt down a clog that is far deeper than the kitchen sink itself. If you’re ready for a consultation and fast home drain repair, contact us today!