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How to unclog a kitchen sink without calling a plumber

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

Try these inexpensive DIY tricks for unclogging your kitchen sink before you spend a fortune on a professional

In an ideal world, you would never let anything solid pass through your kitchen drain. In the real world, you're more likely to be trying to fish out food chunks, juice box wrappers and plenty of unidentifiable solids. Not to worry: You can handle the clog on your own.

More: How to unclog a toilet without a plunger

Roll up your sleeves

Reach in and grab any gunk that's sitting in the drain. Yeah, it's no fun sticking your hand in that cold, filthy water, but it's the best first step in tackling the clog.

Utilize pantry items

Some homeowners opt to steer clear of chemical drain solutions. "Drano and Liquid Plumber can lead to corrosion and eventually destroy your plumbing system," cautions Alexander Ruggie of 911 Restoration, a home restoration company that specializes in water damage and disaster recovery solutions.

The always-reliable vinegar and baking soda combo is great not only for unclogging that drain but also for keeping it smelling fresh and clean. Andy Ferguson offers the step-by-step:

  1. Pour baking soda down the drain. Let it sit for a few minutes so it can work its way as far down the drain as possible.
  2. Tap into your inner 5th-grade science fair participant and pour a bottle of vinegar down the drain.
  3. Enjoy your sink volcano. It should dissolve whatever's down there.
  4. Flush with hot water.

Try a plunger

"Simple suction is usually enough to break up most clogs," says Ruggie. "It may seem a bit gross, but you can buy a brand new one for less than $5 to use just on the sink if you are worried about contamination between sources."

Unravel a wire coat hanger. "You can bend a wire hanger to the proper dimensions to fit down into the drain where you can dislodge most close clogs," says Ruggie. A proper drain "snake" can be had at the hardware store for about $15.

More: Tips to clean and sanitize your kitchen

Grab a bucket

Put a bucket under the sink below the pipe. Remove the p-trap, which is the u-shaped piece (usually chrome or plastic) that connects the drain from the sink to the line that runs into the wall or floor. The p-trap is held in place by two large nuts that are fairly easy to remove (one will stay on the p-trap, the other can be left in place on the drain line). Most of the time, the clog will be in that p-trap. If not, use that wire coat hanger or snake to remove any blockage that you find in the pipe below the curve. Easy peasy!

Now reward yourself. Use the money you saved by not calling the plumber to buy a nice bottle of wine.

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