Plumbing fail - clogged kitchen sink
May 12, 2009 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Clogged kitchen sink, what can I try next?

I have a clogged kitchen sink. I've snaked the drain starting under the sink with a 6ft length and a 25 footer with no luck. I've done it about 5 times with some chunks coming back but still have 0 flow, each time filling the drain up with boiling water. The last two time using drano, waiting a few hours then the water.

My plan is to get a longer snake, but how long do I need? I'm thinking that if I can just keep pushing, the clog will just fall into a larger pipe (?) If my thinking is wrong, please let me know. I just don't want to have to keep buying progressively longer tools (I bought the 6ft and 25ft so far).

Or if anyone has any other ideas...? I've also tried a wet vac blowing as well as vacuuming with no luck as well as spirited plunging of the above drain.

I'd rather not call the a plumber ($$).
posted by wongcorgi to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The length of the snake could depend on how long your line is to city sewer, if you have city sewer. The last time I did this, I used 75ft and rented the snake machine.
posted by snsranch at 3:31 PM on May 12, 2009

Ah, it's only the kitchen sink. Have you checked the air vent? It's probably on your roof above where the sink is.
posted by snsranch at 3:34 PM on May 12, 2009

My plan is to get a longer snake, but how long do I need?

Presumably, your other sinks, etc. still drain. Can you access the basement or whatever is underneath you kitchen? If you can see the pipes, then you can figure out how far it is from your kitchen sink to a line that you know is draining properly. You don't need a snake longer than that.

Have you opened up the trap underneath the sink (and, as snsranch suggests, have you checked the vent)?
posted by ssg at 4:38 PM on May 12, 2009

I've actually tried using a toilet plunger on my sink, and that's seemed to work...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 PM on May 12, 2009

I have an old-fashioned sink plunger, which I use whenever the sink doesn't seem to be draining quickly. You let the sink fill up to about 2-3 inches of water, and use the plunger to force it down the plug (just in case you've never tried this before :) Works a treat, it's over in 30 seconds, I do it more-or-less routinely.
posted by BrokenEnglish at 2:24 AM on May 13, 2009

About the snake...You may not actually be getting it down the right pipe. Last year, I snaked my kitchen sink. After some time of not getting any crud dislodged, I realized that the snake kept making a weird turn and was going up the vent stack and out the roof! It was not getting to where the clog was.

I kept playing with my angle of attack and, eventually, managed to get the snake past the vent connection and to the clog.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:31 AM on May 13, 2009

Something that I've seen advertised has a name like "30 second plumber" or "instant plumber." It is a can of compressed gas that you push onto the drain and it blasts the blockage out.

I've never used it but the advertisements look pretty effective.
posted by mbarryf at 6:14 AM on May 13, 2009

I have had very good luck with one of these:

Drain King

You may need to remove the J-trap to get to a section of pipe that that will allow you to insert the entire device. You attach a hose and turn on the water. The rubber bladder device expands to seal itself inside the pipe, and a strong jet of water is forced down the drain. Hook it up and let it run for a few minutes.

For convenience, I got a short piece of hose and the appropriate adapters to hook up right at the sink (this device has garden hose type threads). The first time I used it I dragged the garden hose into the house through the window, and I had a plastic shutoff valve adapter on that.

After the stoppage was cleared, the sink still drained slowly. I also like this enzymatic drain cleaner for slow drains. Drain Care. I used this stuff for 6 or 7 days straight, and it made a big difference.
posted by glycolized at 6:44 AM on May 13, 2009

I would second the use of a plunger. They tend to work for me even when I think there is no chance they will.

Along the lines of the "instant plumber," baking soda and vinegar work quite well. Admittedly I've only used it on slow drains rather than clogged drains, but you pour a bunch of baking soda down the drain, then follow it with vinegar and slam the sink stopper shut.


Free flowing pipes.
posted by consummate dilettante at 7:14 AM on May 13, 2009

Liquid Plumbr seems to work better in standing water. You can use a hair dryer to warm pipe, in case it's a greaseball. Plungers are really effective. Good luck.
posted by theora55 at 9:32 AM on May 13, 2009

Nthing the plunger method, which has worked for me on my completely blocked kitchen sink when expensive chemicals and vinegar / baking soda haven't. For added plunginess, put your other hand over the overflow hole in the sink. And be careful - if you plunge even a cheapy crummy plunger up and down a few times, you can get a lot of suction and sudden squirts of foul water coming out of the overflow (yeah yeah, I did it). And then run plenty of water through the newly-cleared pipes.
posted by monster max at 1:29 PM on May 13, 2009

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