How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with Standing Water

kitchen sink with standing water

If your double sink in your kitchen is filled with unpleasant dirty, perhaps greasy, or smelly water, you may feel like you have your own mini sewer.

Standing water indicates a clog in your sink’s drain or plumbing. So, the task at hand is how to unclog your drain or pipes with standing water still filling your sink to some degree.

water running from kitchen faucet

The Causes

It’s important to consider what may be clogging your drain or pipes. Here are the most commonplace causes of drain blockage

  • Residual food bits. Although you may not think that you are allowing food to flow into your drain and pipes, all those little bits can add up over time. Almost everything you wash or rinse before placing it in a dishwasher has some food residue from plates to utensils. If these bits accumulate, you have a clog.
  • Oil and Grease. Some form of oil or grease is used in most recipes. This can contribute to the forming of clogs even if neither is solid food per se. Oils and greases will contribute and create obstruction.
  • Foreign objects. Little objects or pieces of objects can fall into your drain without you even realizing it. This may include jewelry like rings or earrings, coins, or anything small enough to slide into a drain. If you realize you’ve lost your favorite earring and notice a clogged drain, you may have found both your earring and the cause of the clog.
  • Mineral sediment. If your area furnishes hard water, a clogged sink drain may be due to the build-up of mineral sediment. In hard water, there are high amounts of minerals which may gradually cause deposits that remain on pipes. If this is a concern, a professional can suggest a good filtering system to help you prevent repeated build-up.

Follow our step-by-step guide to unclog your kitchen sink with standing water.

water  not running from kitchen faucet

Necessary Tools and Materials

  • Cup, mug, or container
  • Boiled water
  • Plunger
  • Plumber’s snake
  • Bucket
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Wrench

Step 1: Remove the Water.

Using a cup, mug, or container, remove the standing water from your sink as it will impede working directly on the drain.

Step 2: Try Boiling Water

Hot water works exceptionally well with helping to dissolve oils, greases, and most food residue. Boiling the water to get it to a temperature that is high enough. Pour a portion of it into the drain to verify if the sink begins to drain or if you are creating more standing water.

Step 3: A Plunger to the Rescue

Before using your plunger, make sure you have sanitized it to avoid transferring any bacteria or fecal matter into your sink. Position the plunger over the drain so that it is covered and begin plunging vigorously for about a minute to see if the water begins to drain. Your plunger will create pressure within the pipes to dislodge whatever is clogging them.

Step 4: Trap Check

If at this point you still have your clog, you need to check the pipe trap that is positioned underneath your kitchen sink. It will be either an “S-shaped” or a “P-shaped” part that blocks dirty water from entering the pipes. If it holds water, it can cause a clog and block your drainage. To check:

  • Place a bucket underneath the trap
  • Using a wrench loosen the pipe and disconnect it
  • Check for material clogging inside
  • Try a plumber’s snake or a wire coat hanger for clog removal
  • Clean and wash the trap
  • Run water through it until the water emerging is clean
  • Return the trap to its position under the sink and reconnect
  • Run water from the sink faucet to verify it is working correctly

Step 5: The Snake

If after checking and cleaning the trap, your clog is still in place, it is probably located further down the pipe. A drain snake or plumber’s snake is usually the next option when a plunger doesn’t work.

Put it in the drain and see if you can feel the obstruction and poke or pull it loose. Rinse the drain with hot water to flush any remaining bits of clog from the pipe.

Step 6: A Natural Cleaning Formula

Baking soda and vinegar combine to make a super organic cleaning product. Pour one-third of a cup of baking soda down into your sink drain. Now pour one-third of a cup of vinegar in. After they fizz, let the mixture sit for at least an hour. After an hour pour boiling water into the drain and verify if your clog has been dissolved by running the faucet.

Alternative: Salt and Baking Soda.

water not running from kitchen faucet

If you don’t have any vinegar on hand, you probably do have salt. Mix a half-cup salt with a half-cup baking soda in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the drain. Leave it for about four hours or even overnight. After, pour in boiling water.

These two natural blends of cleaning products can be repeated as often as necessary until your drain is free from obstruction.

How to Unclog Your Double Kitchen Sink with Standing Water in it

The same identical steps can be used for unclogging a drain when you have two sinks. The major difference will be, if and when, you try using the plunger. You should plug one of the two sinks. Ideally, it will be better to plug the sink with the garbage disposal unit if you have one.

After you have plugged one of the sinks, begin plunging and verify if the water drains. If it does not, attempt to plug the sink you have been plunging and move to plunge the other sink. Plunge for about a minute. Verify if the sink is draining. If not proceed with other methods to dislodge your clog.

water is coming from faucet


Several methods can be used to unclog a sink, whether it is a single, double sink or has standing water. Begin with boiling water to see if it will dissolve or dislodge your clog. If, after trying each of our easy home methods, you still have a clog, there is always the plumber!

1 thought on “How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with Standing Water”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top