Unclogging a Kitchen Sink

Seems always around the holidays I clog up my kitchen sink drain. Try not to get it clogged in the first place. Put things down slowly, while running water. Too much in too quickly will clog it up fast. If you're "adventurous" in the kitchen like I am, I put way too much stuff down the disposer. So here are my tips for unclogging it:

First, unplug the unit!!

Use a light to look down the drain. Sometimes you can see what's in there that shouldn't be.

Use a pair of pliers -- or do what I do, which is use a gloved hand (it’s ok, the unit is unplugged!) — and carefully reach inside and pull out whatever shouldn't be in there. I've usually got stringy vegetables (celery is the worst for your disposal).

If your garbage disposal suddenly turns itself off, look on the unit for a little button that says "reset" and press it to turn it back on. Mine is hidden on the very bottom of the unit.

If the garbage disposal gets clogged, keep running water and turn the disposal off and then back on to see if it will push the clog through.

A plunger works great for unclogging the garbage disposal. Plug the other side of the sink (if you have a double-basin sink), and the use the plunger on the disposal side. Sometime my plunging on the clogged side isn't working, so I fill the other side of the sink with water and the plunge it through to help loosen things.

If this does not work, I resort to a liquid drain cleaner. I wanted to unscrew the pipe and clean it out, but Joshua got nervous when I started talking about messing with the plumbing, and got some Liquid-Plumber Gel at Costco. I was very skeptical. I mean, if my strong arm muscles and the plunger hadn't worked (and I'd tried several times over the course of several days...), I doubted that Liquid-Plumber would work. But, in less than 24 hours, it had completely cleared the clog! Tip: Scoop all of the standing water out of the sink, so the Drano can go in full-strength. (I know homeowners who don't like to use Drano.)

If you don't want to use Drano (or don't think it will work), look under the sink and find the spot in the pipes where you believe the clog is located. If you have plastic pipes, you should be able to unscrew them and unclog the area. I found directions for doing this at lowes.com. (Be sure to scoop as much water as possible out of the sink before taking apart pipes, and have a big bucket ready to catch everything below!)

To help maintain clean drains and pipes naturally

Sprinkle baking soda in drains and then pour in some vinegar.

Remember doing this as a volcano experiment in school? Flush drains with boiling water.

Doing that usually keeps all our drains running great!

Do you have any drain or clog tips to add? I'd love to hear them! (Unfortunately I don't think this is the last time I will ever clog a drain...) :)