A Clogged Kitchen Sink: What You Can Do to Prevent It

Drain Cleaning Services

You’ve got to feel sorry for kitchen sink drains. If anything gets within a foot of the kitchen sink and there is even the slightest chance it could be ground up by the garbage disposal, it’s probably getting crammed down there. It’s a culinary singularity. The general attitude towards the kitchen sink drain goes something like, “If I can’t see it after it’s down the drain, it’s gone forever”. It may be past the drain opening, but that is by no means a guarantee it went down much farther. Ben Franklin himself said it best, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Luckily, according to our top master plumbers, there are easy ways to prevent a clogged kitchen sink drain.

Organic Is NOT Always Better

One of the main causes of a kitchen sink clog isn’t one large, stubborn item being stuck in the immediate opening of the drain. While that is certainly a possibility, a much more common reason is gradual buildup of organic material from food on the inside of the kitchen drain pipe. One of the most common mistakes is haphazardly dumping any excess fat from dishes down the kitchen drain line under the assumption it will just lubricate everything else passing through the drain pipe. The truth is that fat congeals, or hardens, directly to the side of the pipe and can make it easy for other, more solid objects to get stuck in it.  Dispose of any fats into your garbage can.

EAT Fiber, Don’t Grind It. 

Another misconception is garbage disposals churn everything into tiny particles. The truth is, while garbage disposals grind many foodstuffs into small parts, not everything should be ran through them.  Any fruit or vegetable skins should be thrown away. Anything fibrous such as celery, broccoli, or asparagus should also be avoided because these things are not able to be ground up very well, even by the most powerful residential garbage disposal. Anything hygroscopic (absorbs water), like rice and pasta, are a bad idea to put down. These things can also affect your pipes through your dishwasher, so always scrape your dishes into the garbage before putting them in.

A few things to definitely avoid:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Fruit or vegetable skins
  • Fats
  • Fibrous vegetables
  • Rice, pasta, potatoes – anything hygroscopic
  • Bones
  • Any non-food objects


Flush It, Don’t Rush It

One of the best ways to ensure ground-up food makes its way down the drain is extremely obvious but often overlooked: rinse it down with water! Always run water while running the garbage disposal and continue to run water for at least 20-30 seconds after the disposal is shut off. This will help ensure the food parts were flushed through the drain and didn’t get stuck somewhere in your drain pipe. This method also helps prevent any nasty odors regurgitating from your drain opening.

The Power of Enzymes

Enzymatic drain cleaners are becoming prevalent in the drain care industry. Unlike traditional liquid drain cleaners, well…they actually do something beneficial for your drains. While traditional treatments try to dissolve buildups in your drain with harsh chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, truthfully, they’re best at dissolving hair and galvanized pipes. Unless you’re a wookie (see: Star Wars), you’re not getting much hair down your kitchen drain. Enzymatic drain cleaners digest organic buildup on the inside of your pipe in a similar way enzymes in your stomach break down food. These same enzymes also exist in nature to break down organic plant material.  Once the enzymes digest that material, it is gone and the enzymes continue down the pipe. Periodic treatments with enzymes go a long way toward preventing any major clogs in your kitchen sink and the consequent necessity to order pizza. Hide this article from your kids, just in case.

But It’s Already Clogged!

If your sink is backing up and your disposal is working, click this link. If your sink is backing up and your disposal is not working, click this link. Of course, we are always here to help if you need us.  While eliminating organic buildup is the easiest way to prevent a clog in your kitchen sink, it is certainly not the only reason for a clogged drain. Whether its buildup, problems with piping, or a damaged disposal, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing can fix it for you! Contact us today at 952-933-8888.



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