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Why Kitchen Sinks Make a Gurgling Noise

Kitchen sinks are easily one of, if not the most, used plumbing fixtures in a home. From cleaning food to washing dishes, kitchen sinks are prone to damage due to either incorrect usage or simply from wear-and-there. Some of these damages can cause gurgling noises, which is usually a sign that part of your water system is compromised.

If your kitchen sink drain makes gurgling noises, then it’s an indicator that there is something wrong with the plumbing system. Gurgling noises usually result from a fault with your water system’s pressure and can also entail that there could be some clogging within your kitchen sink drain. 

Read more if you want to learn about your plumbing system, how pressure works inside a plumbing system, the usual causes of a kitchen sink drain making gurgling noises, and how to fix it. 

Plumbing 101

Before we can explain why there is a gurgling noise coming from your kitchen sink drain, it is first important to understand how a plumbing system works inside your home. 

This will be a brief section that summarizes how a plumbing system operates inside your house and will contain useful information that you can use to assess any future plumbing-related problems that you may have.

Firstly, there are two distinctions between the plumbing system. These are the water system and the drainage system, respectively. 

The water system is what allows water to flow into your fixtures that provide water for your home. The drainage system is how water exits your house and into your sewage system. 

They always come in pairs, so there must always be an outlet wherever there is an inlet; even outdoors soil can be counted as a form of drainage.

Whenever a problem occurs inside your plumbing system, there is always strategic intervention, designed by a master plumber/architect, that allows the flow of water to be temporarily stopped for that specific fixture.

This is through the usage of gate valves, which are usually present in a water system.

Now that you know how a plumbing system works and how it’s designed within your home, you can begin to assess what part of your system has a problem. 

Whether it be in the water system or drainage system, you have a general idea of the best measures you can take at that moment to prevent that problem from causing more damage.

Pressure And Why It’s Important 

Another key concept that we have to briefly understand why your kitchen sink drain is making gurgling noises is how pressure works. 

The pressure is the name of the game when it comes to plumbing systems. Using the physics principles allows the plumber to manipulate the forces to enable the maximum efficiency in the movement of water within the structure with the least amount of energy required.

For a water system, how pressure is used is through the utilization of different sizing of pipes. Remember that the size of that pipe determines the volume of water that goes through a pipe. The smaller the opening of the pipe then the stronger the pressure. You can test this out by covering part of your faucet with a finger and see how the water suddenly speeds up. 

This is essential because applying a certain amount of pressure on a small pipe connected to a bigger pipe will translate the forces to transfer the same amount of pressure from the smaller pipe. 

 It’s more on using the difference between water and air pressure to their advantage for a drainage system. A drainage system’s job is to expel water, so instead of pushing water towards a place, it actually needs to suck it in.

This is achieved by using both gravity and negative pressure, which is assisted by air pressure. 

A vent pipe is used for this purpose. Since drains are always exposed to air, there will be some gas trapped within the pipe.

Vent pipes allow that air to escape, and as the sewage gas leaves the system, the water will have to compensate for the newly formed pockets, creating a “sucking” force that sucks in waste through the drainage system. 

Understanding how water pressure works within a plumbing system is essential, especially if you plan on doing any repairs. You can now identify whether there’s a problem with your water system or drainage system based on the behavior of the water( ex. Sinks tend to burst when broken while drainage pipes then leak)

The Main Reason Of The Gurgling Noise

What is the main difference between a kitchen sink and any other sink? The main difference is that a kitchen sink has material going through it. 

There are three main reasons why your sink is making gurgling noises. Either your vent pipe is obstructed, your sink is clogged, or there was a mistake installing your plumbing fixture. 

  1. Vent pipe

As mentioned earlier, a vent pipe’s primary function is to assist in the flow of waste towards a nearby sewage system and remove any sewage gases within your pipe. If your vent pipe is blocked, your drainage system’s pressure will become unbalanced, forcing the gases to exit through whatever opening it can find.

This will also cause unwanted smells from your kitchen drain, even if it’s unclogged. 

  1. Clogged sink 

Food wastage and other objects clogging the sink will cause a gurgling sound. As organic matter decomposes and adding water to the clogged areas will release air pockets from your drainage. 

  1. A mistake in the installation

The different components of a kitchen sink’s drainage pipe are vital for its function properly. Something as simple as having a faulty P-trap, which we’ll be going into later, can cause your sink’s drainage pipes to malfunctioning. 

Now that we’ve identified three possible causes for your kitchen sink drainage problems, we can begin going into the solutions and steps you can take to fix them.

Vent Pipe Problem

If your vent pipe is the one causing your gurgling noises in your sink, then what you can do is first identify or what’s wrong with your vent pipe. We’re assuming that the vent pipe was correctly installed, so the only possible cause left would be a blockage in the vent pipe’s other end.

Since a vent pipe’s exhaust is usually located at a house’s roof. The blockage can be a bird’s nest, leaves from a  nearby tree, and the like. 

You should find the blockage and remove any objects blocking the vent pipe’s exhaust. If this does not fix the problem, it indicates that something went wrong within the kitchen sink’s drainage system.

Clogging Problem

 If your kitchen sink drain is clogged, it’s an indicator that you should change how you use your kitchen sink. 

The usual cause of this would be allowing big chunks of food to slide into your kitchen sink drain. Aside from that, another possibility is the growth of mold within your kitchen sink drain.

The best solution is to use a drain cleaner. Another simple solution that could also be used is getting a plunger and attempting to plunge the clogged drain. The plunger applies negative pressure and pulls the food up, allowing the clogged foods to fall uniformly into the drain.

If the clogging is deep within your kitchen sink’s drainage system, what you can do is open up the P-trap and clean the pipe from there. Be warned that this method will require you to dispose of the sewage yourself, and it’s advised that you use a drain cleaner before attempting this. 

A Mistake In The Installation

For this problem, either the wrong pipe for your kitchen drain system was used or was not installed correctly. If you plan on doing it DIY, you should know the different parts of a sink’s drainage system. 

  1. P-trap

As the name suggests, a P-trap creates a P-shape that prevents unwanted air from escaping through the sink’s drainage. It works because it holds a bit of water that moves the solid waste while preventing any air pockets from escaping by creating pressure that moves everything away from the drainage. 

  1. Gasket 

Gaskets are a static seal that prevents leakage, especially in areas that experience compression(pushing forces). Gaskets are those flat metal pieces between pipes for those who don’t know what it looks like. 

There are many possible causes as to why these parts of the sink’s drainage system are not working properly. They all lead back to something wrong during the installation process. 

If any of these two components were incorrectly installed, it would either lead to blockage or leakage. 

Unless you’re experienced, it’s suggested to consult with a plumber. This will save you time and money and will prevent any further damage caused by this problem. Plumbers will be able to assess the entire system and check if anything is amiss. 


In conclusion, there could be many causes as to why your kitchen sink drain makes a gurgling noise. It can either be caused by vent pipe blockage, clogging, or a mistake in the installation. 

Understanding how a plumbing system and how pressure works allow you to assess what’s happening and make the right decision to prevent further damage.