How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with Standing Water

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No matter how often you eat at home, you should be aware of the fact that eventually, your kitchen sink will get clogged.

Leftover food from plates will stay in the pipe after being washed down the drain and that amount will over time collect itself into a solid form and, unfortunately for you, cause your kitchen sink to clog.

Knowing that this happens to everyone, people have found various ways to deal with this problem - from just using water to do it, using drain cleaners or plumbing snakes, buying chemical drain cleaners made especially for these situations, to actually calling the plumber!

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with Standing Water

Men in the house usually don't like other men coming to their home and fixing things they can fix themselves, and chemical drain cleaners can damage your plumbing pipes.

So, let's talk about how you can unclog a kitchen sink with standing water on your own.

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with Standing Water

Find the source of the problem

This is the first essential part of your journey to successfully unclog your kitchen sink on your own!

Follow this simple rule: the things you see and that shouldn't be there, remove. 

Use a bucket or a cup to get standing water out of the sink, so you have a cleaner look at the situation and more room for you to work.

Also, if some leftover food catches your eye, feel free to remove that with your gloves on. Take a good look at your sink and who knows, you might already then find the solution to your issue.

Best drain cleaner for garbage disposals

It happens sometimes that the source of the problem is a toy that got stuck. It can even be soap sometimes.

This is not usually the case, but just to make it easier on yourself, check if it might be for you before proceeding on with the unclogging process.

Always check if your garbage disposal is not causing the clog since this is a commonly occurring as well.

Run it to see if it unclogs the sink and to check if it's running in a proper way. If it does, then it's not the cause of the blockage and there is something else going on there.

Pick a method for unclogging

There are a number of ways to do this without a plumber or a chemical drain cleaner, let's take a look at six different ways to do it:

1. Use boiling water

This is definitely the least expensive and the simplest option so we suggest you try this one first.

All you need to do is boil enough amount of water so that it fills up at least 1/3 of the sink, then pour the boiling water in the sink and see if starts to drain. If it doesn't wait for the water to cool off, get it out of the sink and repeat the process several times.

This helps in a lot of situations, but If it didn't, another variation of this solution is to pour a half of cup of salt down the drain before pouring boiling water over it.

Leave the salt in the drain for a couple of minutes and then wash it with hot water to clean the unwanted blockage.

There is one more way of unclogging with boiling water and that is to mix salt and baking soda.

Mix a cup of baking soda with half-a-cup of salt and put it in the drain. After a couple of hours flush the mixture with boiling water.

2. Baking soda and vinegar

This solution might also be needed to repeat a couple of times - pour 1/2 cup of vinegar followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar.

After the acid reaction follow it down the drain with hot water.

baking soda

3. Do it like a plumber

Bear in mind that blockages are mostly made in joints of the pipes.

To check in which one exactly is the blockage, you can unwind the pipes. Try to hear from the water running down the pipes where it stops so you know where to look first for the clog.

The P-trap is the pipe that is beneath the sink and it is curved in such a way that it resembles the shape of the letter P.

If you unwind the P-trap and water comes out then it's not where the blockage is.


When unwinding the P-trap pipe do it slowly so the water doesn't burst on you and put a bucket underneath the pipe to collect the drained water.

Remove pipe by pipe until you find the one that has a blockage in it, clean it and screw them all back together.

4. Use a plunger

When unclogging with a plunger first make sure that the cup of the plunger covers the entire drain opening. If there are any other outlets cover them with wet rags.

Face the plunger handle against the ceiling and push it down slowly towards the sink. Pull the plunger up hard and keep pushing it up and down fast about 10 times in a row.


You can put petroleum jelly on the lip of the plunger to help it stick to the surface of the sink. When you hear the plunger sucking and clearing the clog, put it away from the sink and pour hot water in the drain.

Every home should have a plunger and if you don't have one at home already, we seriously recommend you to give this one a look.

5. Put a coat hanger to good use

One of the most creative and cheapest ways is to pull out the metal wire from the coat hanger, bend it so it's straight and put it in the drain to try to push out or pull up the clogged object.

It might not reach some clogs and it could scratch your sink and pipes so this method although being very creative, is not very effective.

6. Use a plumber's snake

The plumber's snake is a very handy tool when it comes to reaching clogs that are deeper in the pipe system. You simply disassemble the drainpipe and P-trap.

You then insert the snake in the pipe that goes in the wall and when you feel resistance break up the clogged object. This tool is also called an auger.

If you are looking to buy this tool, here is a good option that is not expensive and is of good quality.

Final thoughts: How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with Standing Water

Hopefully, by now you have successfully completed your journey of unclogging your kitchen sink!

To see if the problem is solved, fill up your sink with standing water by purposefully clogging the drain, and then let it drain to see if runs as it should.

As you've seen you don't have to be a professional plumber to be able to unclog it, but if none of the mentioned solutions work or if you are really scared of messing something up, it's not a shame to call the guy!

After all, they are there for a reason.

Unclogging a kitchen sink with standing water can be done with more or less money and in a more or less creative way - it is up to you.

Try to make the best out of it anyway - you can always do it with your kids and pretend that it's a cool project you're working on together!