What Should You Do When Your Sink is Clogged?

Technician using plunger to clear a clogged sink - Mr. Plumber by Metzler & Hallam

Your clogged sink doesn’t have to give you any more trouble. In Indianapolis, Indiana, homeowners struggle to figure out the best ways to combat sink clogs. Whether the happen in the kitchen or the bathroom, blockages in the drain impede on day-to-day life. With the help of Mr. Plumber, clogs are no longer an issue.

We collected all the information homeowners need to successfully remove the clogs from their sinks. Our plumbers first discuss common causes of inconvenient sink clogs. Next, we move on to DIY solutions. Finally, find out when it’s time to call in a professional plumber. 

Causes of a Clogged Sink

A number of materials get stuck in the sink drain. Some items go down the drain unintentionally, and some are disposed there even if they need to be thrown out in the trash. Either way, these are all the items most frequently associated with causing a clogged sink. Compare the items you put down the drain to this list, and cease disposing of them in the sink to prevent future clogs.

  • Grease and oil. Because grease and oil are sticky substances, they adhere to the sides of the pipe. This causes clogs over periods of time. Not only does the oil and grease keep water from draining, other food waste gets stuck in the fats and continue to build on the clog already present. Avoid pouring oil and grease down the sink drain for this reason.
  • Hair. Another reason for a clogged sink stems from your own body—hair! Though more common in bathroom sinks, hair accumulates in drains over time because it naturally falls from our bodies. When hair goes down the drain, it gets caught on other materials and does not break down over time. When grease is also present, the hair gets stuck in the oil to form an even larger clog.
  • Minerals, dirt, and soap. Over time, minerals from the water, dirt, and soap stick to the walls of the pipe. These substances inevitably enter the sink, so prevention isn’t plausible. However, water filtration keeps most minerals out of water, which means they take longer to reach problematic amounts. Additionally, these substances collect on top of other clogs to worsen the existing blockage.
  • Rice and pasta. Rice and pasta both expand in water. This means the longer they sit in the sink drain, the larger they get. The foods get so large they cause a clogged sink, so avoid disposing of these items down the drain. When clearing this type of clog, avoid methods with water as a main component because it continues to expand the carbohydrates.
  • Small objects. Next, be aware of the items you wear to wash the dishes because they sometimes fall down the drain. Rings, small toys, and earrings are all common. The unique shapes and sizes of these objects are not made for the traditionally sized pipe, which means they get stuck much easier than other items. 
  • Beans and potatoes. Like with noodles and rice, beans and potatoes get larger when left in water. A clogged sink caused by these foods happen often, but are preventable. Avoid disposing of beans and potatoes in the sink drain to keep away blockages caused by these food items.
  • Eggshells. Many believe eggshells aid in garbage disposal cleaning. However, more often than not they clog your sink drain. The shells get caught on the blades of the disposer and on other parts of the pipe. Then, food stacks on top of the shells to form an even bigger clog.
  • Coffee grounds. Finally, coffee grounds cause a clogged sink for many homeowners. Coffee grounds clump together when introduced to water, which means they form large blobs in your pipes. These chunks of coffee grounds are hard to penetrate, and other foods get stuck on top of them to form a larger blockage.

At-Home Solutions for a Clogged Sink

Though clogged sinks cause stress for homeowners, there are several easy remedies. DIY methods are popular with homeowners because they take little time to complete and are low in cost. For those without plumbing expertise, these methods guide you through unclogging your sink quickly and with ease. 


  • Vinegar and baking soda. First of all, vinegar and baking soda unclogs drains because when mixed it produces a chemical reaction. This reaction causes bubbles to form. The clog gets cut through by the bubbles, which makes it smaller and easier to manage. Sometimes, the mixture clears the clog completely if it is already small in size. When the reaction finishes, pour boiling water down the drain to clean it.
  • Plunger. A clogged toilet calls for a plunger, but a clogged sink benefits from a plunger too. Place a wet towel on the second drain—if one exists—to avoid flying bits of debris. Next, fill the other side with a small amount of water and start to plunge. Plunge for a bit under a minute, then release a small amount of water down the drain. The pressure of the water after the plunging pushes the blockage down the drain.
  • Boiling water. Clogged sinks benefit from a boiling water bath from time to time because the water melts substances on the sides of the pipe. Oil, grease, coffee grounds, and similar materials are drained away when boiling water pours over them. In the case of grease, the water melts the clog until it shrinks small enough to fall down the pipe. 
  • Drain maintenance. For many homeowners, preventative maintenance takes care of potential clogs. With regular cleaning, sink drains experience fewer clogs and are healthier overall. To do this, pour boiling water down the drain every few weeks to prevent oil and grease buildup. Also, make sure to schedule professional maintenance checks once a year to improve the quality of your plumbing for the long-haul. 
  • Salt and baking soda. Your clogged sink benefits from a salt and baking soda treatment because of the reaction the mixture creates. When salt, baking soda, and boiling water are combined, they produce results similar to vinegar and baking soda. The reaction pushes the clog down with the bubbles. Like with vinegar and baking soda, put a wet towel on the second drain to avoid any debris from exiting the pipe and making a mess in the sink.  
  • Garbage disposal. The garbage disposal in your kitchen sink often removes clogs, but also experiences blockages in the blades. Run the disposal in short bursts—like a pulse setting on a blender—to dislodge any debris caught in the blades. Additionally, try running the disposal if you believe the blockage is close to the surface of the drain. 
  • Augers and snakes. Augers and snakes are hooked tools used to manually pull clogs out of the drain. These tools work best on hair clogs and other blockages with easy-to-grip materials. If you don’t own a snake or an auger, bend a wire hanger to the appropriate shape. This works just as well as the snake.


Above all, a clogged sink never benefits from the use of harsh chemical cleaners. These cleaners damage your pipes because the chemicals inside of them break down the sides of the pipe. With frequent use, chemical cleaners cause leaks and even burst pipes. Because of this, avoid any chemical drain cleaners. 

Clogged Sink Problems for a Plumber

Even with the above methods, some stubborn clogs refuse to unclog, which means you need a plumber. A plumber has more tools and tricks than most homeowners, so they are the ones to call when a persistent clog doesn’t unclog. Plus, they diagnose the issue and help you find long-term solutions.


  • Leaks in pipes. If a clog results in leaky pipes, call a plumber to solve the issue. When a clog remains in a pipe for extended periods of time, water looks for ways out of the pipe to relieve pressure. In most cases, this results in pipe leaks. If you notice a puddle forming around a clogged sink, you need a plumber. 
  • Constantly clogged. Some sinks experience chronic clogs, which points to larger problems at work. A plumber comes in to examine the pipes and remove the clog. When a diagnosis is determined, the plumber speaks with the homeowner about the next best steps. 
  • DIY didn’t work. If you tried all of the at-home methods and your sink is still clogged, you likely require a plumber to remove the blockage. Some clogs are simply too large or deep to be removed with DIY methods, so don’t be afraid to call a plumber if you don’t have any luck on your own.
  • Deep clogs. Finally, a clogged sink with deep blockages must be handled by plumbers. Plumbers have tools specifically for deep clog removals, so they are prepared to unclog your sink no matter how far down the blockage lies.  


Call Mr. Plumber for Your Clogged Sink 

Those living in Indianapolis, Indiana need help with clogged sink issues, but Mr. Plumber provides all the advice needed to resolve this annoying problem. With the knowledge given in this article, homeowners confidently unclog their own drains and know when to call in reinforcements when necessary! 

Our expert plumbers are what make Mr. Plumber such a reliable source for plumbing questions. For more information on our services, give us a call today! We offer free estimates on service visits.

Subscribe for Savings and Tips in Your Email!