One Side of My Kitchen Sink is Clogged?!

If you have a typical double bowl kitchen sink, the drain baskets are connected by a pipe, and that pipe is connected to a single drain line. When the drain or one of the pipes becomes clogged, this can cause one of the sinks to back up. Unclogging the sink can take some problem solving abilities, perseverance and basic tools. However, if you’re a capable DIYer, doing this work on your own can save you money and help you avoid calling a professional plumber.

The Plunger Solution

The easiest solution, if it will work, is to plunge the sink with a basic plunger.

  1. Clamp the dishwasher hose, if a dishwasher is present.
  2. Fill the clogged sink with three inches of water. This will create a seal between the plunger and the clogged pipe.
  3. Wet a rag and stuff it into the drain on the un-clogged side of the sink. Alternatively, you can also plug that side of the sink with a drain plug.
  4. Place the plunger over the drain opening, then pump the plunger several times rapidly. On the final plunge, pull up and remove the plunger from the drain. If the sink does not begin to drain freely, repeat this step several times.

If this process doesn’t work, try the procedure below.

Use a Coat Hanger and Plumber’s Auger

If the plunger won’t remove the clog, unbend a coat hanger and use a pair of pliers to create a hook on the end. Next, follow the steps below.

  1. Insert the coat hanger into the pipe.
  2. Manipulate the coat hanger until it goes into the pipe and reaches the drain tee.
  3. Move the coat hanger around in the pipe, then pull the hanger out and run water in the sink to see if the clog is cleared.

If the clog isn’t cleared, you can either repeat the process above or use a plumber’s auger to snake the drain itself. A plumber’s auger is an inexpensive tool found at home improvement centers and hardware stores. This device works like a drain snake, but is different from a snake in that it’s manually powered. Use the following steps to clear the pipe:

  1. Unscrew the P trap from the drain in the sink. This may be done by hand if the pipe is made of plastic, or may require a plumber’s wrench.
  2. Insert the auger into the drain line.
  3. Push the auger farther into the drain until it hits resistance.
  4. Tighten the setscrew.
  5. Turn the crank on the auger.
  6. Loosen the setscrew.
  7. Push the auger farther into the pipe.
  8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 until you’ve cleared the clog.
  9. Retract the auger and reassemble the P trap. Wrap the ends of the pipes with Teflon tape to create a tight seal between the drain and the P trap.


The best ways to prevent clogs in your sink drain is by using a drain screen to catch food before it goes down into the drain. You can also keep your drain clear by throwing away old cooking oil and grease instead of sending it down the drain.

Contact Terry’s Plumbing

If you’re unable to clear your drain line using the steps above, contact Terry’s Plumbing. We help homeowners in Pittsburgh to clear their drain lines and repair their home’s plumbing. To make an appointment, contact us today at  (412) 364-9114.