The main culprit for slow drainage and drain clogs is thick black gunk. The good news is you don’t need an expensive drain cleaner to solve this problem yourself.
You won’t even need to hire a professional plumber to fix the sink drain. You can use some very simple DIY tricks and your basic technical skill, and you can drain pipes all around the house in no time.
The best way to avoid gunk from forming inside the kitchen drain is to clean and maintain the sink properly. You can choose a method from our guideline on how to lean gunk out of the kitchen sink drain, and apply it at least once per week.
What Is This Black Gunk in My Drain?
But how does a clogged drain happen? What forms the annoying black gunk inside the pipes that prevents water from draining? Gunk may look disgusting, but it is formed from everyday supplies.
What creates it is food bacteria and sticky fat from our food supplies and organic waste. In no time, the sink drain clogs and water flows back into the sink or takes an annoying amount of time to dry off.
We all tend to ignore the problem as much as possible, and use the clogged drain continuously while knowing that the pipes are full of black gunk. But the more we wait, the messier the cleaning will be, so it is better to jump on the task right away. This guide on how to clean the gunk out of the kitchen sink drain will make the task much easier.
As it is with all plumbing issues, there are two possibilities. First, you can hire a professional plumber and come home to a clean and functional sink. Or, you can roll your sleeves up and handle the black slime problem yourself.
How to clean the gunk out of the kitchen sink drain yourself
Remember to use some sturdy gloves for the task, as gunk easily sticks to the skin and can further cause health issues. If you don’t, you will have two problems to deal with. You can also be extra careful and wear a breathing mask and some goggles so that the sludge can’t reach you in any way.
Taking black gunk out should immediately solve your sink drain problem, so take the drain stopper out and clean it carefully. The best way to do so is to scrub down the drain as carefully as you can until water runs smoothly down the pipes.
If the water doesn’t flow down the sink drain, it was not the black gunk that caused the issue. In this case, we recommend you contact a professional to check the sink drain for secondary clogs.
Here are some suggestions on how to clean the drain pipe yourself.
Use a plunger
Plunging is the most traditional method you can use to unclog your kitchen or bathroom sink. This will help you in case there is a single clogged pipe preventing water from moving forward. For best results, ensure you have a standard sink plunger, a basin, and a rag.
With a couple of strong plunges, you may be able to push black slime down the pipe and remove the clog at once. at the end of the procedure, you should pour boiling water down the drain to ensure there is no food residue.
The steps are very simple:
- Use the rag to plug the overflow sinkhole
- Place the sink plunger directly over the drain
- Fill the basin with enough boiling water to cover the plunger cup completely.
- Plunge up with fast and short strokes, so that air flows through the sink drain and pushes gunk ahead.
Use vinegar and baking soda
You can once again pour boiling water down the sink drain and give it a moment to work.
You will notice at this stage that black gunk is not only messy but also produces an unpleasant drain odor throughout the entire kitchen. Boiling water will at least push the residue ahead, and solve this problem for some time.
You can use both running room temperature water or very hot water, as long as you see steam coming out of the drain. For best results, though, boil the water before you pour it down, and do so with extra care. Cold water will not help at all.
Let it run through the drain for at least 15 seconds before you put the hands in the sink so that you don’t burn them.
The next step is to prepare a paste from white vinegar and baking soda. This powerful couple will unclog the drain in no time, and it will also remedy the unpleasant drain odor. Best of all, both ingredients are cheap and you probably already have them at home. There will be no need to spend a fortune on expensive drain cleaners and harsh chemicals.
For best results, keep to the 2:2 ratio: you need two parts white vinegar and one part baking soda.
Shake baking soda and pour it down the drain. Follow quickly with white vinegar, and give the solution at least 15 minutes to work. When the sink drain starts bubbling, wash the remaining black sludge with very hot water.
Clean the gunk from the pipes manually
If you are on a busy schedule and want to solve the problem quickly, get down on the task yourself. Grab and pull gunk out manually, and the problem won’t repeat itself any time soon.
What you need is a pair of gloves, a garbage disposal can, a bottle brush, a wire hanger, and some paper towels. A friend with some hands-on experience in plumbing is more than welcome.
Before you begin, close all water taps. These are the steps you should follow to clean the kitchen drain successfully:
Disconnect and detach the pipes under the sink. Do so only by following the instructions from the sink manual.
Look inside to pipes to spot the black gunk area. You can clean the pipe using the bottle brush or the wire hanger. Dispose of it in the garbage can, wash the pipes carefully, and wipe them out with paper towels.
Check the manual again to reassemble all parts. Enable the water supply, and test the sink drain to make sure no gunk remained inside the pipes.
Clean the pipe with a drain snake
Snake augers and similar sink drain snakes are the most efficient tools for plumbers and for a good reason. You can get one easily in the local utility store, and get rid of gunk like a professional.
Next to the snake auger, you will need rubber gloves and garbage disposal can. Keep in mind that the snake auger increases while you spin the handle, and will therefore be effective regardless of the size of the pipes.
This is how you can use it:
- Plug the auger inside the sink drain and begin turning the handle. As it elongates and reaches the clogged area, you will feel some pressure and resistance. This way, you will know exactly where the sink drain problem hides.
- Rotate the auger further until it breaks the clog and pushes it down. If the pressure persists, take the auger out of the sink drain, and get the job done manually.
- The best way to ensure that the sink drain is clean and functional is to flush water under pressure. If it keeps coming out, you may need professional assistance.
Maintain the sink drain clean and dry
When learning how to clean the gunk out of the kitchen sink drain, the most important lesson is prevention. You don’t want a smelly and dysfunctional sink, and you certainly don’t need health hazards you can’t even detect.
Food remains from dishes, for instance, should be scraped into the garbage disposal instead of the sink drain. Each time you wash the dishes, also run boiling water down the pipes to make sure no gunk will remain. From time to time, clean the sink drain with baking soda and vinegar. and your sink will retain its perfect condition.
Be particularly careful with oil and grease. Where possible, dispose of those in the garbage disposal or outdoors, so that they dissolve naturally. Keep in mind that fats break down very slowly in moisture areas and that in 90% of the cases, it is they that cause serious sink drain clogs. This is also why kitchen drains get clogged more often than bathroom sinks.
Before you wash the dishes, wipe the food residue off with paper towels. Grease will then not affect your kitchen drain, and your sink will be functional at all times.
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