How to Unclog Kitchen Sink with Plunger Method?

how to unclog kitchen sink with plungerHow many times have you come across the situation of dealing with clogged kitchen sinks? I don’t know about you but there was a time when my home dinner party became an embarrassing saga for next day’s gossips.

But, I had no other choice than staring at my farmhouse sink helplessly before the plumber came and took charge of it. Because that was the first time for me to meet such weird clogging and all I knew was the hot-water technique.

I started giving sink maintenance more important than ever following that one night. However, don’t be like me and learn beforehand about how to fix a clogged sink.

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink: Using Plunger Method.

If you are noticing a slow draining system as well as dirty water standing in basin, get the signal of a sudden clog that might happen just anytime. Sink maintenance and proper cleaning might slow down the frequency of this event.

However, with most bathroom and kitchen sinks, you are ought to experience a partial or complete clog at some point.

So, it’s really helpful to learn about how to unclog a sink before calling the plumber or using poisonous chemicals. And for the declogging, guess what you’ll need? A Simple Drain Plunger!

How Plunger Solves the Problem?

Before I tell you why using a plunger can be the best possible way on declogging sink, let me explain where exactly clogging tends to happen.

You’ve probably seen a U-shaped pipe underneath the sink fixture. It is called the trap. This is the main crime scene where all the clogging usually happens.

Now some of you may question, how the trap that’s supposed to stop sewer gases from leaking can cause such a disgusting problem. Well, because of the curved form, this pipe sometimes invites clogging as an unfortunate guest.

A plunger is possibly the best tool to deal with such a kitchen sink clogged past trap. With compression and suction abilities, a plunger can thoroughly get rid of clogs. The plunger can easily pull water upwards through drain. This will gradually help in loosening clog.

Once you use the plunger pushing down, water starts to travel downwards. So that clog can go following that direction.

With the frequent up and down strokes, you’ll be able to easily break up and loosen the clog. You must be well aware of these upward and downward forces to use the plunger properly.

What You’ll Need?

  1. A big rag.
  2. Drain plunger with cup style design.
  3. A coat hanger or needle-nose pliers.

1. Start with A Little Inspection.

You’ll have to go for a little checking before plunging out the clog. Find out exactly what is making the clog.

In kitchen sinks the main culprit are usually fruit peels, crushed veggies, hard seeds, and grimy water.

Just simply pop out the stopper from your sink. You need to clean it properly.

Using a needle-nose plier, simply get rid of all the dirt within. You can also use the metal coat hanger event.

In some cases, sinks start to drain water normally after this minimal cleaning. However, if it does not work, move on to the plunging method.

2. Seal Down Overflow Opening.

You’ll have to block the overflow pipe before any plunging.

Simply use a rag for this process. Insert it inside the overflow opening. This is usually found on the sink rim’s top area. In a stainless steel sink, this is usually located in front or back. In some cases, you may have to deal with two openings.

After you have blocked the overflow opening, a plunger can easily do suction and compression as necessary.

Some double-basin kitchen sink will need a blocking drain one at a time. You’ll have to block one basin while plunging the other.

If you want to enjoy the full benefit of plunging, never miss this step.

3. Using Plunger (With Proper Positioning)

This is very important for plunging. You’ll have to place the plunger in a certain manner for proper suctioning.

In drain opening of your kitchen sink, simply place cup of the plunger. Make sure the opening is completely covered.

Now run very less amount of water in the sink. It should only cover the cup of plunger.

4. Pumping & Declogging.

You have already learned about the motion of using a plunger. Now it’s time to apply that for pumping and declogging.

Make sure the seal between sink’s surface and plunger’s cup is never compromised during this process.

You can use some petroleum jelly around the plunger’s cup. This will help you to maintain a good seal between the cap and sink.

Keeping that in mind, equally focus on suctioning upwards and downwards.

5. Test Out the Drainage.

After pumping for around six times, you can pull plunger away from the drain opening. It’s time to see if the water is draining properly.

If the clog is gone then pour some hot water for a few minutes. This will flush away any grime or nasty thing out from the sink.

The hot water draining will also help to dissolve soap scum. So, any new clog will not be able to form.

If the draining does not work, repeat entire process once again.

Is It Still Clogged?

After making several attempts with plunging, if your sink still denies to get rid of the clog, go for another method. You can try snaking the drain.

Here you’ll have to dissemble drain trap. Don’t worry this does not involve your hands getting dirty while clearing clogs.

How to Snake a Drain:

How to Snake a Drain
Image Source:
  • Get a plumber’s drain snake. It comes with a long-coiled cable. The cable has a sharp cutter or hook by its end. Or use a manual auger from a local hardware store.
  • Take off the sink strainer.
  • Now inside the pipe, gradually insert auger’s tip.
  • You need to start twisting hand crank and this will release wire cable.
  • Keep on feeding the snake inside your sink’s drain until it comes across some obstacles.
  • This means you have reached the clog. Rotate auger gradually and this will slowly break the blockage.


  1. You should never apply too much force with a plunger to break down blockage.
  2. Avoid using any drain bladder. These are more likely to lead into leaks and ruined trap with excessive pressure.
  3. If the standing water in the basin isn’t draining, stop the faucet. This will never be enough to flush out the blockage. Instead, you’ll have to go through the additional step of bailing water out.
  4. Never try to apply force with an auger to point at the clog. This will damage pipes and trap connectors of the sink.
  5. There might be a different clog happening with your house’s drainage system. So eventually you won’t be able to fix the problem. If that’s what seems to happen, immediately hire a plumber.
  6. You should not use harsh chemicals for melting any blockage. This might leave ugly marks and sometimes, serious damage to the drainage system. Let professionals use these products if absolutely no other way is available.


So, this is how you can easily unclog your kitchen sink using a plunger. Make sure you use the tool after knowing about it completely.

Don’t try something silly with your drainage system just on the basis of guesses. This can lead to permanent damage and expensive replacements.

However, if you are not confident about the method after reading it, best way might be to hire a plumber for this job.

For the most part, it’s actually pretty easy with a little practice and gradual tries. If you have confusion on any point, make sure to comment down below. I’ll always be glad to help you out.

Have a Great Day!

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George Sab is a retired home improvement professional. For over 30 years, he has educated his clients and helped them make the best choice for their homes. George started A Great Sink in 2017 to share his knowledge with the world and assist his readers on their journey to their perfect home!


  1. My kitchen sink is clogged, probably because of the left overs from last night. I guess never took into consideration how a plunger can clear dirt from my sink with its suction abilities. I’ll try working on this tip that you provided, but if it won’t work, then I’ll probably have to seek help from a residential plumbing service.


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