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How To Unclog a Kitchen Sink With Standing Water

The kitchen sink consistently gets clogged due to the food and other liquid materials poured down the drain. However, there is a way to unclog the sink without calling a plumber. How do you unclog a sink with standing water?

To unclog a sink with standing water, use a bowl or cup to empty the water. Then physically remove the items from the drain. If your sink is still clogged, use drain cleaner, dissolving chemicals, or a drain snake to unclog your kitchen sink properly.

Being mindful of everything that enters the sink and what goes down the drain will save you from headaches and possibly call a plumbing professional to unclog the sink.

Plumbers are costly, they will often charge $200+ for work, and if there’s any damage within the pipes from excess food being stuck, the cost will skyrocket.

How To Unclog A Kitchen Sink With Standing Water

If your sink has standing water (water that isn’t draining), we recommend you take these steps to unclog it.

  1. Remove all of the water using a bowl or a cup. Pour that water it into a bucket or a bigger bowl
  2. Remove any items that are clogging your sink.
  3. Add boiling water to the sink and wait 3 hours. Remove the boiling water. Be careful as the water may still be hot.
  4. If you can’t see any items clogging the drain, use a drain snake to unclog the pipe.
  5. If that doesn’t work, we recommend you call a plumber who can help professionally unclog the drain.

If your drain starts to leak from under your sink, we recommend you put a bucket underneath it.

Foods That Commonly Clog Sinks

Coffee Grinds and Tea Leaves

Coffee grinds and tea leaves are one of the more popular items that clog kitchen sinks. If you use a coffee maker and wash it out in the sink, the coffee grinds will pile up, almost continually clog it up.

Tea leaves are also similar to coffee grinds. This is mainly because coffee and tea consumption happens in the morning when people are groggy and may carelessly pour these items down the drain.

Grains & Starches

Small pieces of food that slip through filters, such as rice and pasta, can significantly impact clogging the drain. When these items fall out of the strainer, we recommend collecting them immediately.

Often, homeowners will think nothing of it, as it’s so tiny, and it will wash away—however, the consistent build-up of small grains and starches tends to jam up the drain.


Chopping vegetables and then washing them over the sink (or in a filter) will often leave traces of carrots, celery, and smaller herbs like basil in the sink. As mentioned above, clean these small vegetable pieces as soon as possible.

If your sink doesn’t have a catch-all, we recommend purchasing one here. It’s a simple little gadget that goes over the sinkhole, catching all the little pieces of food that clog the sink and drain the water.

catch-all for sinks

Catch all are like the one shown above can be found here.

We recommend you use these types of sink drains or a double sink that will allow you to filter what goes in each sink.

Liquids That Commonly Clog Sinks


Grease is one of the biggest sink cloggers due to its hardening nature when left in an idle state. Grease traps are great for catching unwanted grease from meat.

However, one of the worst things that can be done is pouring grease down the sink. The best way to handle grease is to let it harden (overnight or within a few hours), then dispose of it in the trash.

Grease traps are great for disposing of unwanted grease, which can then be emptied later.

Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils fall into the same category as grease. Because of its fatty nature, the liquid will create a coating around the pipe, ultimately leading to complete blockage.

Similar to grease disposal, we recommend pouring it into the drain and letting it solidify before dumping it down the train.

How To Unclog Your Sink With Standing Water

If the food and liquids above are lodged in the sink, a few options exist to unclog the sink. Here is how you can unclog your sink:

Call A Plumber

The safest bet is to call a professional and have them unclog the sink.

This is the priciest option and may be the most time-consuming as you’ll have to work around the plumber’s schedule. This is also the most reliable option as a professional will ensure the pipes are completely secure.

Drain Cleaner

drain cleaner

Drain cleaner is an item that can be purchased at a local drug store or online. Our pick for you to clean your sink pipes and keep the grease from gathering up is Earthworm.

Earthworm is a commercial drain line and grease trap cleaner with natural enzymes, great for slow drains.

Our second pick is a more common type of drain cleaner, Drano. Drano works by heating the water and grease that’s poured down the drain so it can soften it and ultimately be removed.

drain clogger

Our third and final pick is the Green Gobbler drain dissolve.

The Green Gobbler guarantees it will work with any material, including grease, soap, paper, and hair.

A genuinely incredible innovation, the liquid will dissolve almost all items clogging your drain. This is a fantastic alternative to quickly unclog drains and increase drain flow if you’re strapped for cash.


Clogged drains are caused by grease, high starch, and grain foods. These clogs can damage pipes and cause high plumber costs if incorrectly treated.

Maintaining drain and pipe cleaning best practices will ultimately help you save money and time in the long term.

We recommend being proactive instead of reactive to clogged drains. If the grease or good starts to build up, it could lead to pricey repairs.

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked kitchen questions for new and experienced homeowners.

Our team of experts answers these questions to help assist you through DIY projects and home repairs.