Unclogging a Kitchen Sink

There was this one day when life was going along at its crazy, normal clip. I left the husband making salsa to run to get some of the kids from something or other and came home to a backed-up kitchen sink. Fun.

Now, here’s a little explanation about the spouse. He’s amazing. He can fix a tech problem in about 4.3 seconds. He’s the fun one. He changes the oil in our cars and single-handedly planted and kept our garden growing this summer. He does all the yard work.

He’s not handy. He could be, but he doesn’t like it enough to care to try.

I, on the other hand, love power tools and projects. That’s where we stand.

And that’s why I came home to a backed-up sink.

So, I opened the cupboard doors and got to work! It’s definitely not as scary as it sounds.


Hey, there I am! In a grainy cell phone photo! And the bucket full of stuff that came out of my sink! And my son! To whom I was trying to give a little plumbing lesson! He wasn’t excited.


This is what under your sink looks like, unless your house is really old and the plumbing isn’t updated. Then you might have steel pipes and I can’t help you. But if this is what your’s looks like, then we’re in business!


See that bend right there? That’s most likely where you’re having a problem. We’re just going to take that out.

Start by putting a bucket under the bend. Don’t forget this or you’ll be cleaning up a huge water mess.


Then, loosen this joint. You’ll be glad for that bucket right now! Also, you might need some pliers.


Yeah, like those!


Now loosen this joint and prepare for a deluge of water. If the u-shaped piece isn’t free now, just keep loosening those pieces until you can remove the u.

This is where it gets gross. Be prepared. The water that was backed up in your sink will be in a bucket, you’ll have a clogged piece of  pipe in your hands, and pipes are never, ever beautiful things to behold. I think the only time they don’t have a gunk build-up is when they are new in the store.

Find the clog and get it out! It may just fall out on it’s own, or you might have to get a little creative and shove something through there. A plumbing snake would work well. Our clog ended up being garlic skins that the garbage disposal didn’t like.


This is where I was trying to teach my son who had long-ago lost interest and was probably trying not to dry-heave because he takes after his father.

You’ve successfully unclogged your drain! Give everyone around you a high-five!

Now, when you put it back together, be aware of the rubber gaskets. (At this point I’m thinking I should go and take my sink apart to show you all this, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.) The rubber gaskets are what make sure your joints are sealed. The u-bend needs to meet the gasket and then the nut tightens down around it. Make sure you use the pliers for this part. You don’t want to go back under because you’ve got a leak from not tightening the nuts enough. Get both of those joints sealed nice and tight, put an empty bucket under the pipes for good measure, and turn your faucet on. If you’ve got everything back in place correctly, do another round of high-fives! Or maybe knuckle bumps this time. Gotta keep things fresh.

If not, retrace your steps and try again.

It’s really not too tough, right? Gross, yes, but worth a try to save yourself a visit from a plumber!

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  1. Good for you Sarah! I took mine apart once to retrieve a contact lens….only to find the lens on the floor!

  2. You’re amazing! And I’m gagging over here thinking of the possibilities that could be in my drain😉 I’m the kind of wimpy girl that would make my husband do it

  3. I love how you demonstrated this and showed what pliers look like. Yeah, I didn’t even know that. This was very very helpful and motivating. How cool. Maybe I’ll try it one day if I’m widowed and outlive all my sons and don’t have a boyfriend or home teacher and I have no money. So good to know how to do it!! Seriously, I just might try this.