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How To Unclog a Kitchen Sink1

Nothing says I love you to the wife better than some good old fashioned housework.  (Porn for Women)

But, there’s nothing like doing the dishes, and the water stops going down the drain, and you’re stuck with a sinkful of stanky dishwater.  Just think what a hero you’ll be if you can do the dishes and fix the drain! 

A clogged drain is not pleasant, but it’s easy to fix. Right under the cupboard, there’s a U-shaped trap in the drainpipe – an escape hatch for clogging crap. And you can usually unclog the sink without those caustic chemical H-bombs in a bottle.

Most sinks have similar traps – kitchen, bathroom, laundry room. Unclogging one is a short job – usually, anyway.

If your sweetie doesn’t know how easy the fix is – don’t tell her.  Just follow these directions and have the best Valentine’s Day ever


- Adjustable wrench

- Bucket, short enough to fit under the trap


  – Depends what’s in there, but probably about a half hour

1. Turn off the water, and put in the drain, or let the water run out if you can.

Unless it’s completely clogged, let the water run out, even if it takes a while. If not, and the sink is full, you should put in the stopper to limit what goes in your bucket.

Make sure everyone knows you’re working on the sink for a few minutes. You don’t want any surprises. Trust me.

2. Find the cap on the pipe trap, and put the bucket under the cap.

 The bucket is key. Can’t stress the bucket enough. When you take that cap off, a lot of stuff is coming out, and you don’t want to be picking it out of your cupboard or off your floor.

3. Fit the wrench to the cap and gently twist.

In an ideal world, this should only be hand tight, so you’ll hardly need the wrench. But sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. Gently twist the cap to loosen it. You’ll notice it starting to leak.

4. Take the cap off by hand.

Once you’ve got it started, put the wrench away, and twist the rest by hand. If you have sensitive skin or a weak stomach, wear a glove. Taking the cap off by hand simply prevents fishing it out of your bucket of goo after the fact.

5. Clean out the trap.

This is the fun part. It’s like treasure hunting, except disgusting. (I spared you the “after” photo.)

Reach up inside the trap, and reach as far in both directions as you can.  If you like, you can use a piece of wire with a hook, or something similar, to help you do this. Do dig around, though – big obstructions won’t fall out on their own.

And who knows what you’ll find. I have a curious three year old who likes to help in the kitchen – and I recently removed three drinking straws, a plastic take-out knife, a bunch of chopped-up food and a little doll handbag from my kitchen sink.

You may also need to use a snake here, depending on the clog. If you know what a plumbing snake is, you probably know how to use it – and if you don’t know how to use it, a call to a plumber might be a good idea at this point.

6. Replace the cap.

If the threads are in good shape on your pipe, hand-tight should do the trick. You may need to give it a bit of a twist with the wrench. Be careful not to over-do it, or you could break the cap. 

Take out the stopper and check to make sure the sink is draining well, and that your cap is tight. You’re probably back in the dish-doing business, just like that, and your prize is a bucketful of crap. 

Or take your shirt off and flex a little when you come up from under the sink . . . Happy Valentines Day!


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Comments / Discussion

  1. Wayne Johnson
    This is a very basic and sometimes helpful topic. What it doesn't deal with is clogs further down the line and not in the trap. You also need to be careful not to loosen up connections while you are undoing the plug in the trap.
    March 8, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink
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