How to Unblock Kitchen Sinks

Updated April 17, 2017

Homeowners and renters don't want to have to pay a plumber for easy fixes like unblocking a kitchen sink, especially in a personal economic "downturn." Fortunately, you can try a couple of quick and easy fixes when your own sink is blocked. If you notice that your sink is draining slowly or a rank smell coming up from the drain, take measures to unblock your sink before you need a professional.

Pour about 1/2 cup baking soda into your kitchen drain -- if you have a double sink, use 1/2 cup in each drain opening.

Slowly pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the sink as well. You will hear bubbling and might see foam rising from the drain. Allow the chemical reaction to remain in the drain for several minutes.

Turn on your water and rinse the sink. If it is a minor clog, your sink should drain more easily.

Turn off the water supply leading to the sink unless you're sure nobody will be turning the water on while you're trying to work. The J-trap is aptly named and easy to find.

Place the bucket under the J-trap to catch any water or debris remaining in the pipe when you remove it. Place the rags and sponge close at hand in case of splashes and to wipe the trap.

Unscrew the couplings on either side of the J-trap, using the pliers. If the trap is made from PVC, you may actually be able to unscrew the couplings without your pliers, but metal traps are more difficult to remove and will require the tool.

Slowly bring the J-trap down, keeping it over the bucket, and tip it to pour out any liquid residue. Reach into the trap with your gloved finger and pull out any clogs that might be in the trap.

Replace the J-trap, tightening the couplings. Try not to overtighten them, or they will be difficult to remove the next time. Leave the bucket under the trap and run a bit of water through the drain to check for leaks.


Wear safety goggles and rubber gloves when cleaning the J-trap.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Rags
  • Large channel-lock pliers
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About the Author

Kristen Douglas has been writing since 1984 and editing since 1996. She has contributed to "Independent News," "Folio Weekly" and numerous private blogs, with experience covering topics such as home and garden, education, marketing, mental health and cooking/food. Douglas has certification in information processing from Metro Business College and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Columbia College.