Little thinks are worse than a clogged sink. Luckily for you, most sinks can be unclogged without professional help. If you know how to unclog a sink from grease, you will be prepared for most of your house issues.
When you hear that annoying slurping sound coming from your sink, you probably know what’s next. The sink will start regurgitating smelly, murky brown water together with bits of food and grease.
Sometimes, a plunger is enough, but usually, that tool in itself isn’t enough. If you want to learn about different ways how to unclog a sink from grease, you’re in the right place.
What Causes Drain Clogs?
To unclog a sink, first, you have to understand what caused the clog in the first place. Typically, a clog is caused by these four substances:
- Food particles
The first three we can consider into the same group are the common culprit behind a clogged sink. They will go down the drain without any issues while liquid.
However, once those fatty substances cool, they will become more and more robust. You won’t even notice them creating a thick coat inside the pipe until everything is blocked.
Sometimes, a warning sign can be a slow drain. Learning how to unclog a sink that has a grease in it can be an excruciating process. On the bright side, even a newbie can do it if they know a few tricks.
On the other hand, food particles can clog a sink physically. This commonly occurs in the curved pipe that is located beneath the sink itself. These clogs, however, can easily be avoided and later removed.
How to Unclog a Sink from Grease in Your Kitchen
The key to learning how to unclog a sink clogged with grease lies in the right tools. Here we’ll examine some of the most commonly used ones.
- A Plunger
A plunger is the most common tool for any plumbing job. It can be especially useful if you have some object stuck in the curved pipe underneath the sink.
If your sink is fully clogged and no water can get through, try using a good plunger first.
Having the right plunger can help you tremendously with this. If you want to have one tool for all sinks, we recommend purchasing the PlumbCraft’s Mini Home Plunger.
With it, you don’t have to worry if you don’t know how to unclog a sink from grease and food. This tool can do the job for you. It provides maximum suction power, and you can use it on any drain pipe.
Tubs, sinks, showers, there is no drain this tool can’t clear – if it can be unclogged with a plunger.
To use a plunger, first, you should clear out the surrounding area, as you may have water splashes. Don’t plunge in a dry sink. Always make sure your sink is about half-way filled with warm water.
Then, place the plunger onto the drain, and press and release it hard a few times. This works because the pressure from the plunger will dislodge stuck food.
Then, the food will be able to pass down and get through the pipe.
Keep in mind that it may take you up to 20 plunges before the drain unclogs. If this doesn’t happen, chances are you’ll need some chemicals to clean it properly.
- Professional Cleaning Solutions
If you have to remove a clog created entirely from grease, you’ll probably need to use caustic cleaners. A lot of people dislike caustic cleaners, as they contain toxic chemicals.
However, suppose you have a big clogging problem. In that case, a professional cleaning solution such as Roebic Crystal Drain Opener is a lifesaver.
Cleaning solutions will melt and destroy clogs caused by grease. This will thoroughly clean up your drain, without you having to get your hands dirty.
Take notice that you’ll probably have to use a generous amount of cleaner, especially if you have a dense accumulation. Be patient – most solutions take an hour or a few to clear everything out.
Caustic cleaners are chemicals. In other words, you shouldn’t use them too often, as they can corrode drain pipes.
If you are experiencing frequent clogging, you may have to change tactics.
- A Hose
Believe it or not, there are hoses to help you wash away sediments and grease from a pipe. A strong water blast can dislodge some drain clogs.
You can use an ordinary garden hose, but those are typically too thick to go through pipes. Using a specialized tool, such as a Sewer Jetter’s Hose kit, can have a lot of success.
Place the hose inside the drain. Make sure it’s tip is fully inside, then turn on the water and keep it for a few seconds. Turn it off, then repeat the process.
This will create a powerful blast, and the pressure may be enough to remove any clogs or particles. This method is messy, and the water will probably splash everywhere.
Wear protection or at least some dirty clothes you don’t plan on using in the future.
- A Long Wire
If you have hair or similar small objects stuck in the drain, they can also collect grease and complicate the process. For these obstacles, using a long wire hook can be a great idea.
Take a long wire and use pliers to bend it into a small hook. If you don’t have a wire, take a metal coat hanger. Remove the drain cover as well as any debris, then stick the wire inside.
Make sure to wear gloves, as this method can get quite messy. Pull the hook outside and remove any debris. There will likely be a lot of gunk, decomposing hair and grease.
Repeat the process several times until you’re sure everything is cleaned. Dispose of the junk, and your sink should work like it’s brand new!
- Detergent and Hot Water
If you don’t feel like risking with harsh chemicals, there are a few ways to create your own solution. Many plumbers know how to unclog a sink clogged with grease using only liquid detergent and water.
However, they will prefer using expensive products, so you have to pay more. This method won’t work on fully clogged pipes, but if you notice slow-draining pipes, it will most likely unclog them.
Take a large pot of water (approximately two liters) and heat it until it boils. Then, pour a few tablespoons of liquid dish detergent and stir it until it’s mixed.
Carefully pour the solution down the drain and flush everything with warm, tap water. This may take a few takes, so be prepared to repeat everything.
Detergent dissolves fat while boiling water returns some grease to its liquid state. This way, the buildup can go down the drain and unclog the pipe.
- Salt and Warm Water
This process is similar to the previous one. If you have a slow-draining sink, don’t waste money on expensive products. Use items you most likely have at home.
First, pour about half a cup of kitchen salt down the drain. Then, boil a large pot of water and slowly pour it in the pipe. Flush everything with warm tap water and repeat the process a few times, until the pipe is clean.
While the hot water will turn grease into its liquid state, salt is abrasive. It will act as a scouring agent, cleaning the grease and scrubbing it from the pipes.
Prevent Drain Clogs from Appearing
Now that you know how to unclog a sink from grease, you should also learn how to prevent buildup. Here are a few guidelines:
- Never pour fat, oils or grease down the drain. Any fatty substance should first be cooled down, then thrown in a garbage can.
- Dispose of any food waste in the trash. Food particles can get stuck inside the pipe, causing clogs. The same goes for vegetable peels, such as onion peels, banana peels, potato peels, eggshells, and similar.
- Don’t wash greasy dishes with hot water. Try to wipe the excess grease off while it’s cool. Warm grease will eventually cool down inside your pipes, becoming stable and clogging it.
- Install hair filters. This is really important for bathroom drains. Never flush your hair down the drain! Throw it away in the trash can.
- Once a month, flush kitchen drains with salt and boiling water. This is the least damaging but somewhat effective way to clean your drain from buildup regularly.
It’s really easy to make mistakes that will lead to clogged drains. Knowing how to unclog a sink from grease can save you a lot of money on repairs and maintenance. If your water keeps returning up your drain, try some of these methods.
Of course, on rare occasions, it seems like nothing will work. If the buildup is intense, there is likely nothing an amateur can do to get rid of it. On these occasions, you should call a professional plumber to help you get your water pipes in order.
Michael Davis is a heating & plumbing expert who currently works as independent contractor in SC. He also writes for Plumbertip.
For almost 10 years he worked on various plumbing tasks across South Carolina.