Your kitchen sink takes a lot of abuse, from dishes piling into food scraps dumped down the drain. It is an essential appliance you use multiple times a day and takes good care of you.

Not all kitchen sinks have garbage disposals, and some cities have banned them altogether. This is probably a good thing, but the food may go down the drain and create a blockage if you aren’t careful.

What can you do when this happens? For starters, you can call a plumber to fix the problem quickly. Most clogged sinks are complex to fix, beyond the scope of the ordinary homeowner. It’s best to consult a professional expert to resolve the issue efficiently.

Likewise, you can also try fixing the clog yourself. Here is how to clear away food clogging a kitchen sink:

1. Pour hot water into the sink

Hot water is a good place to start because most clogs are from oil and fat getting washed down the drain. This buildup is a sticky mess that gets scrap food attached and eventually clogs the whole drain up. Because fat and oil turn liquid with heat, boiling water is quite effective.

Boil water in your kettle and pour it down the drain. Alternatively, put a pot in your sink and turn on the hot water. You want it to be running at its hottest before you let the water run down the drain, so take out the pot when the hot water is ready. If the water in the sink rises, just be patient and let it work its way through slowly. Keep pouring hot water in stages until it clears.

2. Use a wire hanger in the sink

A wire coat hanger is a very versatile tool, and you may have a few in the back of the closet not being used. It is rigid but bendable steel you can straighten out to fit past the strainer and down to your blockage. Keep a narrow hook on the end to catch your debris and punch through the clog while moving around the wire so it scrapes all sides of the pipe. As you pull it up, you may see the source of the problem, and if you can reach it, grab it with a paper towel and throw it in the garbage.

Flush with hot water as you undulate the wire in the drain. Hopefully, this will clear up your drain and get you back in business.

3. Dissolve the clogging kitchen sink

There are several ways you can try to dissolve the clog using store-bought drain cleaner or DIY mixes. For residential cleaners, follow the directions on the bottle and wear protective gloves and eyewear if necessary. These are strong and sometimes caustic chemicals, so use them with caution. For DIY options, baking soda and vinegar are very effective. Use equal ratios of each in a cup and mix it well. It should start fizzing right away.

Pour it down the drain, and then let it work its magic for 5 or 10 minutes. Now follow up with our trusty hot water and see if it clears the blockage. You can repeat this with a larger mix volume and let it sit longer, even overnight. Pour boiling water down the drain and let the hot water runs for several minutes until it flows normally.

4. Use the plunger in the sink

Plungers are an effective way to unclog a drain, whether in the toilet, the shower or the sink. However, never use your toilet plunger for any other use but the toilet! You don’t want to spread bacteria around the house, so invest in a second plunger and keep it in the cabinet under the kitchen sink.

We all know how to plunge, but here is a quick refresher:

  • Pour enough water in the sink, so the plunger head is submerged
  • Make a complete seal with the plunger over the drain
  • Create a vacuum effect with strong plunging force, both up and down
  • Repeat until the water drains away

When you are done, scrub the plunger with hot, soapy water, dry it off and store it away until it’s needed again.

5. Clean out the pipe

Your kitchen sink has a P trap part of the piping system, taking wastewater down the drain. This U-shaped pipe is where most clogs are, and you can take the pipes apart to clean them out.

Start with a bucket or basin that fits under the drain and a few towels just in case of a spill. Unscrew the connecting nuts on the pipe and take off the P trap. Then fish out any clogs with a wire hanger, spoon or your fingers until it is clear and rinse it out in another sink, free of all debris. Reverse your steps to reconnect the pipes and run the water to see if it is resolved. If not, the clog may go deeper down the line, so disconnect the pipes and use a plumber snake to clear it out.

If necessary, call a qualified plumber to help you out. They have the tools and know-how to get your drain operating as it should in no time. Using these methods should get your kitchen sink back up and running again. Hopefully, you can get the job done yourself and run your kitchen sink at full capacity. Good luck and happy draining!