Nothing is going down the drain. There’s dirty water in the sink. The water kind of smells, and it won’t drain. Yep! It’s a kitchen sink clogged on both sides. Not much fun, is it?

With both sides of the kitchen sink clogged, you probably won’t be able to wash dishes (or anything else) until you sort it out. The good news is that there are some things you might be able to try before calling in a pro. Just keep in mind that some clogs are so big and deep that only a plumber has the tools to break ‘em up.

Let’s take a look at what causes this problem, how you can fix it, and how to prevent it going forward.

Is your kitchen sink clogged on both sides with a garbage disposal?

For many kitchen sink clogs, your garbage disposal is ground zero.

Small, soft food scraps are fine to send down the garbage disposal. But if you or someone in your home is in the habit of putting large, hard, or just inappropriate (onion skins, for example) food bits in the disposal, you’re probably going to have a nasty clog at some point.

Here’s how to deal with a clog when it’s in your garbage disposal:

  • Cut power to the garbage disposal by flipping the appropriate breaker in your breaker box. If your disposal isn’t hardwired, but plugs into the wall, you can simply unplug it.
  • Verify that there is no power running to the garbage disposal by flipping the switch that turns it on. Did nothing happen? Good. Your disposal is disconnected from power.
  • Stick the handle of a wooden spoon into the disposal to feel for stuck food scraps. If this is where the clog is, you will probably find something big. Pull it out with a set of tongs. We do not recommend putting your hand into the garbage disposal.
  • Keep feeling around and pulling out food bits until the disposal is totally clear of large scraps.
  • Reconnect power to the disposal and run it. If it doesn’t run for some reason, there’s a small reset button on the bottom of the disposal. Push this button. It should run now.

If the clog was in the disposal, the water will probably begin draining properly after you complete the above steps. Still clogged? Then you may have a different problem.

Grab your favorite sink plunger

Yeah, that’s what you should try next. When you’ve got a double kitchen sink clogged on both sides and the garbage disposal isn’t the issue, plunging is the next step.

Use the plunger on the other side of the sink – the one without the garbage disposal. Make sure it forms a tight seal around the drain and start plunging! If there’s a small obstruction in the drain line, the plunger ought to clear it out. Be sure to plunge several times with a fair amount of force.

If this didn’t work, then you will need to…

Clean out the P-trap

The P-trap is the little dip where the drainpipe curves upward a little before heading down again. It’s an important part of your sink plumbing because it prevents noxious sewage odors from coming up through the pipes.

Sometimes, the P-trap gets clogged. If you’ve got a kitchen sink clogged on both sides and can’t bust the clog with a plunger, you will need to disassemble the P-trap, clean it out, and reinstall it. Here’s how:

  • Put a bucket or large container beneath the P-trap to catch water. If you’ve got water backed up into the sink, there could be a lot of water to catch! Be ready!
  • Use a wrench to disconnect the P-trap from the rest of the plumbing.
  • Physically remove the clog from the P-trap using whatever you need to get it out.
  • Dump the water and place the bucket back under the P-trap.
  • Reassemble the P-trap and run water into your sink.

If things are flowing now, you’re good to go! However, some situations may call for professional assistance.

Break up the clog with a plumber’s snake

With both sides of the kitchen sink clogged and no luck after using plungers, cleaning the P-trap, or engaging in garbage disposal adventures, it’s time to bring in the big tools. A sink snake is the best course of action here, and you may want to call a plumber to handle this for you.

A plumber will have the right kind of snake (yes, there are different kinds!) as well as a camera that they can send through the drainpipe to find exactly where the clog is. After finding the clog itself, they can use the snake to break it up and clear the way for proper sink drainage.

How to avoid having a kitchen sink clogged on both sides

After your clog is gone, you’ll be elated and relieved. But you’ll also be really keen to never have this happen again! After all, it was kind of a nasty job. And if you had to call a plumber, there was likely some expense and inconvenience involved.

Here are some guidelines for avoiding a both sides of your kitchen sink clogged:

  • Scrape all food particles into the garbage can before washing dishes.
  • Never put large or hard food scraps into the garbage disposal – this means no lemon peels or pieces of leftover steak.
  • Don’t listen to anyone who says eggshells will sharpen garbage disposal blades! They won’t. And you’ll end up needing a plumber.
  • Don’t put coffee grounds in there either. They might make the sink smell better, but they can cause a clog. Pour them in the garbage instead. You’ll make your garbage can smell better.
  • Avoid washing oil and butter down the drain while washing dishes. Pour excess oil into the trash. Scrape excess butter into the trash. A little oil down the drain is inevitable, but you don’t want it to congeal on the inside of the drain pipe and cause a blockage.
  • Periodically clean your kitchen sink drain using baking soda and vinegar. Pour a cup or so of baking soda down the drain. Wait half an hour. Pour half a cup of plain vinegar down the drain. Wait half an hour. Wash it all down with boiling water.

Still got a clog after following these guidelines? We can help!

If you live in Metro Atlanta and are fighting against a kitchen sink that’s clogged on both sides, give PV a call at 404-798-9672 today or fill out the form below for next level drain cleaning services! We’ll schedule an appointment to break up the clog and make everything flow nicely again.

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