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How to Prevent Water Damage Caused by a Clogged Kitchen Sink



Dealing with a clogged kitchen sink in your Chicagoland home is a common plumbing issue that can be quite frustrating.

However, several straightforward methods exist to unclog a kitchen sink without needing to call a plumber, saving you a significant amount of money.


Here are four effective techniques:

1. Utilize a Plunger

While it may seem like a simple tool, plungers are highly effective for plumbing problems. The plunging action generates upward suction to dislodge the clog and downward pressure to help flush it down the drain. If you’re having trouble achieving a proper seal between the plunger and the sink basin, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly along the plunger’s lip. This will enhance the seal and create more suction for clearing the clog. After six to ten pumps, check if the water is draining. If not, repeat the process. For sinks with two basins, plug the other drain to improve suction.

2. Use Vinegar and Baking Soda

Common household items like vinegar and baking soda, often used in cooking, can also be employed for cleaning and unclogging a kitchen sink. They create a foaming action that effectively clears the blockage. Watch this video for detailed instructions.

3. Combine Baking Soda and Salt

Mix equal parts baking soda and salt with four parts boiling water. Pour this mixture down the drain and allow it to sit overnight. In the morning, flush the drain with hot water. Together, these ingredients dissolve the clog and cleanse your sink and drain.

4. Craft a DIY Wire Hanger Snake

Transform a wire hanger into a DIY drain snake by snipping off or untwisting one end and straightening it out. Create a small hook at the end to grab onto clogs. Insert the hanger, hook end first, into the drain. When you encounter the clog, maneuver the hanger back and forth to snag it and remove it.

Why You Should Avoid Liquid Drain Cleaners

Liquid drain cleaners are less effective and more hazardous than they are often advertised. They contain caustic chemicals that must reach the clog to work, but most clogs occur deep within the drainpipe, where drain cleaners struggle to penetrate. Even when they do reach the clog, they’re usually too diluted to work effectively and can potentially harm your pipes. Furthermore, these chemicals are toxic and can pose risks to your family and pets, causing severe burns and health issues if spilled or inhaled.

Preventing Kitchen Sink Clogs

The simplest way to prevent clogs is by being mindful of what you dispose of down the drain. Avoid putting the following items down your sink drain:

  • Fats and Oils: They’re the worst. These substances can accumulate in drainpipes and combine with food particles and waste, leading to clogs.
  • Large Food Waste: Anything larger than a pea should be discarded in the trash or compost bin.
  • Fibrous Foods: Foods like celery, asparagus, and corn husks can quickly obstruct your sink drains and pipes, even if you have a garbage disposal. Avoid disposing of them down the sink.
  • Potato Peels: Potatoes are starchy and can create a sticky mess in your drainpipes. Dispose of them in the compost or trash instead.
  • Flour and Starches: They turn into sticky glue that can clog drains when mixed with water. It’s safer to discard them in the trash.
  • Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds can accumulate in drain traps and pipe bends, causing slow drainage. When combined with other items like fats and fibrous foods, they can create larger clogs.
Cleaning Up a Kitchen Sink Overflow

In the event of a sink overflow due to a clog, act swiftly to prevent long-term water damage to your kitchen floor and cabinetry. Place fans to create cross-ventilation and dry the area while keeping cabinet doors open. Neglecting proper cleanup can lead to mold growth beneath the floor, behind the sink, or even structural damage to your foundation.

If you require expert assistance, remember that ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons is available 24/7 to help with all your emergencies, no matter their size, in Chicagoland and surrounding areas.


Choose a Trustworthy Company

ServiceMaster By Simons is a reputable disaster restoration company you can rely on. We’ve been in business for many years and take great pride in serving the expansive Chicago metropolitan area and its surrounding suburbs. Our company stands as the preferred choice in Chicagoland for both commercial and residential disaster restoration services. Our expertise includes Fire Damage Restoration, Water Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation, and Smoke Odor Removal. With a team of highly skilled professionals who are certified by the IICRC, we’re equipped to handle insurance claims of any size. Call 773-376-1110 or contact us online.


  • Nasutsa Mabwa

    Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, a MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2020 Daily Herald Business Ledger C-Suite awardee, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She is a Civic Federation Board Member, an Advisory Board Member for as President Elect on the Executive Committee for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.