How To Unclog The Sink (With A Garbage Disposal)

When you have a sink, it’s evident that you will experience clogs occasionally. This will call for you to unclog them. While some clogs may require the plumbers call, some you can loosen if you know the basics of unclogging a sink.

The other thing is that you may need a few of the most basic plumbing tools for the unclogging process. However, it should never be such a hard task, especially for those handy people.

How Do You Know That The Sink Is Clogged?
There are three most basic signs that the sink is clogged. The signs will show you how bad the clog is.

· It Drains Quite Slow
This is a good and first indicator of the clogged sink. The clog is mostly in the central fixture but if you let it linger on it will go on to damage the pipes. The best way to handle the problem is by taking care of the clog immediately.

Notice that in plumbing, even the minor issues like this will cause dire consequences. Watch the draining, and if you notice that it’s not draining at all, that tells you that the clog is heavy and bad.

· Bad Odor
Sometimes the sink may have such a bad odor. Even though it may slowly drain the water, it should indicate that it has a clog. Often, the smell is the first indication of a clog. Sadly, we tend to ignore it.

· Sound
Listen to the drain, and if it’s making a weird sound when the water is draining, that’s a good indication that there’s a clog. The sound is like a gurgling sound. That shows you that the water is breaking through the clog but with some force.

There will be various options to use in unclogging the sink, and that’s what we bring to your attention with this article.

How To Unclog A Garbage Disposal That Isn‘T Draining
Before you begin the process, you should always have the right tools first. Also, you should be open to trying a few options. Just make sure you use the right choices at all time.

A good example of the wrong option is when you decide to reach the disposer with your hands. That is quite dangerous as you are in danger of the machine grinding your hands. Never put your hands in the disposer instead use the tongs and pliers if you can see the clog.

Different Kinds Of Clogs And The Solution
First, It May Spin And Produce The Normal Sound, But It Still Won‘T Drain
Usually this could be the easiest because you can clean the disposer the regular way you do. Ensure it goes on to clean even the waste line. Try the easiest method of cleaning where you use the ice and water. Here’s how.

Fill the chamber of the disposal with the ice cubes then begin to run the water.
Turn on the switch so that it begins to grind. Let it grind until its stops. If it wasn’t something big, this will clear the disposer and waste line and even let the water run. But if it doesn’t work, let’s try another option because the drainage clog is a bigger problem.
This could mean that you have the clog in the drain line, trap or the joins you have in the drainage pipes. For such problems, unless you are a DIY person you may need the help of the plumber.

If The Disposal Makes No Sound
Before you go on to your garbage disposal, confirm that there’s no trip on the circuit breaker. This is easy to do as you can switch it on then use the red button below the disposal. If it has to do with the circuit, then it should make the sound when you press the red button.

Sometimes The Disposer Is Not Spinning Or Humming
It indicates to you that the motor isn’t turning the wheel. Your disposer comes with an Allen wrench you know. Therefore, you will need to use it here. Check at the center bottom of the garbage disposal.

That’s where you will insert the wrench, and then you can run it in a clockwise direction. Do that several times to see if it will begin to spin on its own. Now if that won’t work either, use a flashlight to find out if the disposal unit has a significant clog blocking the drainage.

If you can see it the first thing to do is to use the pliers or tongs to remove it.

What If The Garbage Disposal Is Spinning, But It Doesn‘T Drain?
Well, this is our subtopic and put that indicates that you have a significant clog that you need to follow the methods below to clear. Here you may have to clear the p-trap as well. When you have done everything, you can, and it’s still clogging check the drain line.

Unclog A Garbage Disposal


Clear the under-sink space of the things you have stored under there. If you have the garbage bags, cleaning detergents or any other item remove them.
Place a bucket to collect the water and dirt when you disconnect everything. It’s not usual that the water will splash, but you should be safe.
Begin by finding the waste line. When you see it, disconnect it from the disposal first. You can use the pliers to loosen it. Sometimes you may be lucky to find the clog here. If you don’t see the clog, let’s go on.

Loosen the slip arm that you find on the plumbing line just after the p trap. You should then loosen the one on the waste tee. Do this gently depending on the drainage line material. You don’t want to crack them. Use the slip joint pliers for the role.

Let’s clean the trap
Now that the trap is loose, you can remove the food pieces if there’s any. You will most likely find some waste debris, so take time to remove it all. After that, confirm that it’s in a good stature before you can reinstall it again.

Loosen the trap arm too, and that’s so important if you didn’t find a clog in the p trap. You can do this by removing the slip nut that is close to the wall. Then like the p trap clear the debris and clogs.

If you are sure, you found the clog, wash everything clean and reinstall them back but be gentle through the process.

If you didn’t get the clog the next step is to use the snake drain

How To Snake Drain
How to snake drain

Well, don’t think this is a snake. It’s just a long cable that is nicely flexible to reach into the hard to reach parts of the drain. The snake drain is also called a hand auger. So, people use these names interchangeably.

They come in two types

The naked one
the naked one

The bare cable that has the grab handle on the one end and the screws will hold it in place.

The enclosed one
The second one has the enclosed casing but with a small opening that feeds the snake. On the one side. It further has a stationary handle. It’s also the most common type of snake drain.

Now when the clog has gone beyond the trap level, the only other thing that can handle it is the snake drain. If this doesn’t work, you will need to call the plumber.


Insert the drain snake into the drain stub-out. Go on to tighten the screw then keep turning the handle crank clockwise. This will insert the auger into the drain pipe. Keep cranking even if it reaches a bend. It will soon go past the bend.
Now go on with the cranking and if you feel an obstruction that feels like a clog, keep cranking. The snake will break the clog or any blockage down.
Next, begin to turn it counterclockwise to remove the gunk or clog. Turn it on as you pull it but keep the bucket handy to drop the clog if there’s any that comes out. Clean the snake and repeat the process then let your intuition guide you to know when there are no more clogs.

Finally, reassemble the drain line back and give your sink and garbage disposal a power wash.
There are methods to wash it. You can pour the boiling water into the sink for final cleaning or, you can use the vinegar and baking soda method.
Unclog The Sink Using The Auger
Unclog the sink using the auger

There are times when you will need to unclog the regular drain that has no disposal nor dishwasher. With such options, you can use the auger. So, for those sinks without disposal units here’s how to unclog it with the drill.

First things first, remove the sink stopper.
Put the snaked drain into the opening. Begin to crank the snake in a clockwise motion but be gentle so that you don’t crack anything.
If you notice an obstruction or bend keep cranking so that it goes through it. Keep going until you are sure you have reached the furthest end.
Start to pull it anticlockwise. And be gentle especially if you got a hold of the clog or gunk. Clean the auger then repeat the procedure once again. Do it until you know you have cleared the clog.
To finish, run the hot water into the sink to clean it, you can even add baking soda.
How To Drain The Slow Drain
Whether you have a garbage disposal or not, you will experience the slow drainage from time to time. It’s the easiest of clogs to clear. Often it just means that you have food forms or grease attached to the drainage pipes.

If you have garbage disposal there may be a comfortable clog attached to the waste line thus it won’t let water flow. The secret to managing the problem is in fixing it sooner or else the clog may move to the trap and other parts of the drain pipes.

One other unique appearance is that you may have the clog only on one side of the sink. Therefore, the clog will mostly be in u trap. However, if it goes slow in both sinks, you should know that the clog may have moved to the traps.

Use Vinegar Baking Soda And Hot Water
This is one of the most natural methods to dislodge waste. So put the baking soda into the sink or disposal, go on to add the vinegar. You will hear it start fizzing. You can either cover it to soak for five minutes or go on to add hot water.

With this mixture, the clog should immediately release. It’s especially true if the clog is just in the garbage disposal. You see the fizzing will break down the waste then the vinegar is your solvent to give it a powerful cleaning.

Other Option
Begin by working the garbage disposal the usual way you would always do. Run the water and then turn on the garbage disposal for a few seconds. The impellers running will clear any small clog you may have.

If you realize that it’s spinning, but slowly you can use the wrench to get rid of the clog. Push it in and out of the garbage disposal. It should clear any clog you have. So, if you find an obstruction you can either pull it out or break through it.

Go on to confirm that its working or if it’s still slow, you can go to the next step. Check its motor to see if it’s still working. If it’s not, then that means you should replace the disposer. Also, use the reset button to restart the spinners grinding in a single direction.

Otherwise, employ the methods suggested above to clear the drainage if you feel like the problem is not in the disposer unit. If the water is still slow, the clog may be in the waste line.

My best option is often to start by trying the plunging method as it can wash off all kinds of clogs.

Method 2
Another option you can use the hot water and the baking soda to clear the waste. For slow drainage, we often believe it has something to do with the dirt and gunk. However, if you are noticing the slowness in other sinks like bathroom, it might be the soap.

Therefore, you can boil the water hot to the boiling point. Go on to pour this water to the drainage. This will clear the grease and other forms of waste.

Add a half cup of the baking soda to the drainage. Next, cover it for a short while. It goes to clear all the gunk.

If you wish you can finish off by pouring a cup of vinegar into the drain then also letting it do its magic for a few minutes.

Lastly, add another kettle of boiling water to finish the cleaning process and get rid of the grease that’s released. Let it wash it through to the drain pipes.

How To Clear Kitchen Sink Clog Using The Plunger
How to Clear Kitchen Sink Clog Using the Plunger

Although we are talking about this as the last option, it’s the first method you can use. It doesn’t need you to have anything just the plumber. Remember the market has different kinds of plungers. If you are going to use it in the kitchen buy the kitchen sink plunger.

While it’s easy to unclog the sink, you won’t make it unless you know how to work with it. If you use it incorrectly, then it won’t unclog the drain at all. While this looks like a no brainer, you should learn how to plunge for effectivity.

Note that if you use the plunger right, you can clear a lot of clogs through the disposal and the drain pipes.

Before you begin the process, it’s worth mentioning that if you have a dishwasher, you should clamp the drainage hose. It will prevent the dirty water from plunging back to the dishwasher.

Also, you always need to use the create a seal for the proper suction. In this case, you will use water to create the seal.

Begin by placing the plunger around the drainage seal. Let it cover the whole drainage opening.
Next, run some tap water to fill the drainage with 3 to 4 inches of water.
If you have the two sinks, know that they work hand in hand. So, take a wet rug to cover the other sink drainage. In short, find a way to seal it too.
Go on to start plunging. Give it a rapid plunge moving it up and down powerfully. Do this for a few seconds then check if the clog has released.
Remember, you should pump water and not air into the sink.
You will know when the clog is released because the water will race into the drainage.
To be safe, only plunge if you haven’t used the chemicals on the drainage.

Using Chemicals
Sometimes the easiest way to unclog the sink is using the chemicals like drain cleaners. However, if you use the septic tank, then you may want to go slow on this. Also, anyone with a garbage disposal should avoid chemicals as much as possible.

There are, however, chemicals that won’t damage anything, and those are the ones to use. Most plumbers discourage them since they clean the pipes but getting rid of the clogs is not so easy for them. So, for those who go for the chemicals, try other options above.

Most of the drain cleaners end up corroding the drainage pipes but not releasing the clogs.

Why Do They Clog?
With the methods shown to you above, you should get loosen the clogs. But then there’s one question anyone ought to know so that they can prevent them; why do sinks clog?

If you have a kitchen clog the reason for this is often

Food particles
When cleaning the dishes, you may drop the left-over particles into the drainage this will cause clogs. They don’t immediately clog; instead, it builds up over time. When this happens, then you will need to use the methods above to clear the clog.

Also, if you have the garbage disposal, know what you can put in the disposal. There are foodstuffs that if you put in the disposal will still clog it.

Grease and fat
We often use fat and oil in the kitchen. But if you choose to drain that in the sink whether you have a disposer or not, it will clog. Sadly, this is not the regular kind of clog. It forms the clog that is also hard to get rid of.

Tiny objects
Sometimes you may drop the small kitchen utensils or just other objects like match sticks. This may cause clogs. Therefore, you should either install the strainer or avoid falling the items.

In the bathrooms

The most common cause of clogs in the shower is hair. Remember our bodies are full of hair. Therefore, every time you bathe you lose hair, and it goes down the drains.

Another reason for clogs in the bathroom is the soaps you use especially if you use the bar soap. It goes down the drain to clog and makes it hard to release it.

Lastly, there’s no reason to wait for the formation of the clogs and wait to deal with it later. It’s better to prevent it as much as you can.

Avoid flushing food in the sink, especially if you don’t have a disposal unit. Even when you have garbage disposal know what to dispose in it.

Use methods that avoid clogs in the disposer like running a lot of water in it. Use the cold water and run it even after the grinding stops.

If you have a garbage disposal, you should give it a thorough clean at least once in a month. This will get rid of starches that form clogs over time.

For the bathroom, comb your hair before you go to shower. This will reduce the hair clog. Also, if you notice a collection of the hair in the sink collects it first.

Know that the clogs form over time. So, you can try to practice good habits that will keep off the clogs.

As you can see, most of the methods suggested above, you can do to get rid of the clogs. However, don’t hesitate to call the plumber if the need arises.