how to unclog a kitchen sink

So, you have a bit of a “record” with garbage disposals. So what?!? Just because you grew up in a disposal-less household where composting was the rule long before the dumping of food and grass clippings into a cordoned-off pile down by the pond was the cool, urban farmer thing to do.  And you will never understand what a disposal is for if not for food, a category that INCLUDES, (but is not limited to) potato, squash, and carrot peelings.

So you recently cooked squash, and now you find that your sink is draining e-v-e-r –s-o –s-l-o-w-l-y, and water is backing up into it when you run your miniscule dishwasher. What to do?

Step 1: Run your garbage disposal like a crazy person, only to find that it actually spits dirty water back up into the sink when you turn it off. Turn off the disposal, and tentatively fish your hand in the drain to make sure nothing is blocking it. Don’t try this at home (see Step 2).

Step 2: Worry the whole time your hand is in there about a power surge or some other freak occurrence that might turn the disposal on.

Step 3: Go to bed with standing water in your sink and hope that it magically fixes itself.

Step 4: Wake to discover that while the water eventually drained out of the sink, the problem did not, in fact, fix itself. Google it. Never underestimate Google.

Step 5: Pour baking soda and vinegar down the drain like the eHow video said. Keep doing this every 15 minutes or so because you keep thinking of the awesome power of the baking soda/vinegar volcanoes you made as a child and if anything is going to blow this clog out of the water (literally!), it’s going to be that. You’re sure! At mid-day, give up and e-mail your landlord. Never overestimate Google.

Step 6: Resist sending a snotty response to his question, “Did you try running the garbage disposal when the water builds?,” in which you point out his unspeakably embarrassing assertion, “If this problem consists, I’ll have someone come to take a look.” Wonder how it came to pass that this person owns property. Send him a nice message, ignoring vocabulary errors and assuring him you did run the disposal. 150,000 times! Run the disposal again in despair.

Step 7: Confess to your husband, which makes you a tiny bit nervous because you may !or may not! have clogged the disposal with potato peels at your old place, which required a plumber to come fix it on Christmas Day, which cost hundreds of dollars which your then-landlord threatened to make you pay but ultimately did not because you lived for 2 weeks without a refrigerator last fall and didn’t charge him for all your spoiled food. We all have our failings.

Step 8: Call your dad, who recommends baking soda/vinegar (Right?, you were SO sure that would work too!) and plunging. Tell him that aforementioned plumber told you plunging makes things worse.  It’s been 24 hours since you noticed said clog and 8 hours since you heard from your do-nothing landlord. Get your plunger.

Step 9: Plunge like a crazy person. To no avail. Allow your husband to try. To no avail. E-mail landlord and explicitly request that he send someone. To no avail. Go to bed, seething.

Step 10: Day 3 of clog, pour obscene amount of baking soda and vinegar into the drain. Watch it fizz…Listen closely to try to determine how deep in the pipes it is fizzing…Consider taking the pipes apart. Boil water instead.

Step 11: Pour boiling water into the drain. When you see promising bubbles, pour more boiling water and run the disposal. Success! Now you feel like Superwoman. Carpe diem, indeed.


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4 responses to “how to unclog a kitchen sink

  1. Mom

    Are you putting grease down that disposal with the veggies?

  2. Laura

    Me and my roommate had this very same problem, though I am still unsure what she put down the sink to make it happen. She still insists it just RANDOMLY got clogged.

    But we basically repeated the vinegar/baking soda and boiling water until it worked also.

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