Kitchen Sink Backing Up? Here’s What You Should Do

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When you are faced with the problem of your kitchen sink backing up because of blockage before you call a plumber - read this!

Most of the times people waste money on someone doing this job for them, but little do they know that a clogged kitchen sink can be fixed cheap and fast with just a few handy tools almost everyone has in their home.

So, if you see standing water in your sink, and pieces of leftover food floating around, don't worry and don't rush about calling the plumber, this article will help you solve this on your own.

Of course, if you are uncomfortable with doing this by yourself, have no shame in calling a plumbing service. We will go on with the assumption that since you are here you want to do it yourself, so let's begin!

Kitchen Sink Backing Up

How to notice a kitchen sink backing up?

The first sign that something is wrong is that when you are using your sink water will drain very slowly.

If you see this know that there is something going on in the pipes and that something is slowing down the flow of liquid. If you Ignore this, sooner rather then later, a blockage will be formed in the pipes and that slow drain will become no drain at all.

The sooner you notice that your water is drained down the sink slower than the usual, the better, and the more control you have of preventing it.

Once you notice the first sign you can take the first steps towards preventing your kitchen sink to back up.

Where is this problem coming from?

Kitchen sinks back up because they get clogged, everyone knows that, but how does this happen?

Well, that happens because parts of food (usually it's food, sometimes it can be soap or even toys) get stuck in pipes and over time they accumulate and form a solid form causing the pipe to get blocked completely so water cannot successfully flow through it.

This can be a very uncomfortable situation because the smell of leftover food can spread through the room and the rest of your home.

Food residue from washing dishes will usually be the source of the problem if you have a garbage disposal. Instead of sending food down the garbage disposal, consider the options of removing them from the sink, throwing them away or composting them.

Best drain cleaner for garbage disposals

Any food is capable of being your enemy in this situation and getting stuck in your water pipes. Some, however, are more prone to getting stuck and are more harmful than others when they do:

  • Grease - it can coagulate and then the food will collect itself faster
  • Meat - especially the greasier kind because of the reason mentioned above
  • Bones from meat
  • Pasta, potatoes, rice
  • Bits of fruit - pits from oranges, lemons, mangos, peaches etc.
  • Coffee grounds - these guys are very hard
  • Eggshells

We've mentioned above that sometimes food is not the cause of the problem, so watch out for your napkins, paper towels, hair or food wrappers going down the drain because these things easily create a clog.

How can I solve this?

Solutions for this issue go from using water to using tools that you have laying around the house.

They also differ in the time needed to do them, but the good news is that none of them are expensive. We will avoid mentioning the chemical drain cleaners

They do the job well, but they can damage your pipes (and they are the least fun way of solving a clogged kitchen sink).

Here are the best ways to do this and be your own plumber!

1. Boiling water

This option is free so you can give this one a go first in order for you not to spend any money. Simply boil a bigger amount of water and drop it in your sink.

When it drains and goes through the pipes it might clean the blockage and restore your pipes to normal functionality. Repeat this process a couple of times.

Before you flush the hot water down the pipes you can add a little bit of salt, or baking soda mixed with salt, so that it has an acidic reaction with the pipes.

2. Clean the P-trap

When you open the cabinet that is below your sink you will see some pipes. The one that is shaped like the letter P is the pipe that is called the P-trap and when you unscrew it and clean it, you will usually have fixed your problem already.


If the blockage is not in that pipe you can unscrew the pipe before it or that one that follows it. Just make sure that when you are unscrewing those pipes you have a bucket underneath to avoid water spillage.

3. Baking soda and white vinegar

Mix half-a-cup of baking soda with half-a-cup of white vinegar, place it in your drain hole in your sink, leave it be for a couple of minutes and wash it down with boiling water. Repeat this process a couple of times and your pipe system should run smoothly again!

4. Do it with a plunger

The old-fashioned way! Simply put the plunger over the drain hole making sure that it seals against the surface of the sink. You can put petroleum jelly around the lips of the base of the plunger to help it stick better.


Once the plunger is positioned, straighten it out, push it down and then push it up fast. Repeat this process a dozen times and you should hear while doing so that the clog has been sucked out successfully.

How to Prevent My Kitchen Sink from Backing Up?

Congratulations, you just did your first plumbing job!

To test this out, create a pool of standing water on purpose in your sink and then attempt to drain it. Is it going at normal speed and does it drain everything? If so, you have completed this mission successfully soldier!

But as the saying goes - it's always better to prevent than it is to cure. If you notice that your drain speed is slower than usual, you can immediately do something about this.

Make sure that you have the following tools in your home: a plunger, white vinegar and baking soda, a pipe wrench, clamps and pliers.

We also suggest that you pick up a plumber's snake, it comes in very handy when the clog is deep in the pipes. It is longer than a regular plunger and helps you reach further. Here is a good option if you do not have one already.

Final Word: On the Kitchen Sink Backing Up

We really hope that by now your problem is solved and you feel good that you did this by yourself! If nothing above worked for you then the problem is more complex and you should call a professional for help.

Rarely anyone considers their sink to be one of the most important parts of their kitchen, but it functioning properly is necessary in order for you to be able to eat anything!

If it's backing up an uncomfortable smell will follow so your kitchen will not be a place in your home where you like spending your time.

Knowing this and knowing that after some time it will eventually get clogged, you see now that unclogging it isn't such a hassle after all.

You got this!