How To Fix Kitchen Sink Clogged Past Trap: 6-Step Guide


There is nothing more annoying than rinsing your dishes or washing some veggies just to find that your kitchen sink doesn’t drain anymore.

Unless the stopper has accidentally fallen in place, the reason is only one: a clog in the drain pipes. 

A clog confined to the trap is very easy to clean. But if you’ve cleaned the trap and the problem persists, you’re dealing with a clog past it. 

Getting rid of a kitchen sink clog that has gone past the trap generally requires the use of several clearing methods. You should: 

  • Clean the trap properly. 
  • Try to wash the clog down the drain with sodium bicarbonate and white vinegar. 
  • Employ a plunger to dislodge a larger clog. 
  • Try a chemical plunger. 
  • Snake out a particularly stubborn blockage with a plumber’s snake. 
  • Call in a plumber if nothing else works.

Fixing A Kitchen Sink Clogged Past Trap 

While a clog deep down the drain could be a cause for distress, kitchen sink blockages are generally easy to fix if you intervene promptly. 

What You’ll Need

Clearing a clog that has traveled past the P-trap is generally a multi-step process method that requires the use of several different products. Gather everything below before you get started:

  • Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • White vinegar
  • Chemical plunger 
  • Sink plunger 
  • Plumber’s snake
  • Pliers or adjustable wrench 
  • Bucket 

1. Clean The Trap 

When the kitchen sink – or any other sink – is clogged, the only way to tell whether the clog is in the trap or further down the line is by taking off the trap and inspecting it. While you’re at it, you should also clean it properly.

Although most fixture traps nowadays have smooth surfaces that are considered self-cleaning, some of the stuff clogging your pipes has likely deposited on the trap, too.

To do this: 

  1. Turn off the water to the sink from the fixture’s shutoff valve (or, alternatively, the main shutoff valve if the kitchen sink doesn’t have one). This prevents a flood if someone accidentally turns on the water while you’re working on the trap. 
  2. Unfasten the nuts connecting the trap to the sink’s tailpiece and wall stub. Place the trap in a bucket. 
  3. Fill the bucket with hot water and add a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. Let it sit for a few hours, preferably overnight. Rinse the trap thoroughly, inspect it to make sure it’s free of clogs and debris, and install it back in its place. Turn on the water.

2. Unclog The Drain With Sodium Bicarbonate And White Vinegar 

Once the trap is back in place, it’s time to deal with the actual clog. 

More often, deep clogs in the kitchen sink drain are the result of improper disposal of grease and oils. These substances accumulate on the pipes and congeal.

Once mixed with cleaning chemicals and other organic substances, they can turn into soap and can be difficult to remove.

However, grease and oil are relatively easy to get rid of with a homemade solution (you likely have all the ingredients in your home already). Here’s what to do: 

  1. Pour a cup of sodium bicarbonate or baking soda down the drain. Let it sit for a few minutes. 
  2. Pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain. When vinegar and sodium bicarbonate mix, they produce a fizzy reaction that breaks up grime and grease. Let it sit for ten to 15 minutes. 
  3. Turn on another faucet in your home and allow the water to heat up to maximum temperature. Fill a large pot or bucket with hot water and pour it down the drain. Never use boiling water for the purpose – an extreme temperature (as well as the thermic shock) can damage the PVC pipes.

You can now run hot water in the kitchen sink. Not only will this wash down any remaining debris and baking soda, but it also allows you to check if the sink is still clogged.

3. Use A Plunger 

If the sink is still clogged, grab a plunger and proceed to remove the clog mechanically. 

To do this, cover the overflow holes (if your kitchen sink has them) with a rag. Place the cup of the plunger over the drain hole, making sure it covers it perfectly. Run a small amount of water in the sink so that it covers the cup. 

Push the cup down to create a seal, then move the plunger’s handle up and down to pump the cup (while keeping it firm over the drain hole all along). 

Pull the plunger away after about six to seven pumps and check for drainage. 

4. Try A Chemical Plunger 

Sometimes, oil and grease deposited on the pipes mix with minerals in hard water and other food debris, creating impossibly stubborn clogs. 

If the methods above didn’t work, it’s time to pull out the heavy guns and use a chemical plunger. 

There are numerous products you can use, including the famous Liquid-Plumr. These chemicals are designed to burn down organic matter deposited on the pipes, cleaning the drains almost instantaneously.

However, they could damage the pipes, too, so they should only be used as a last resort. 

Follow the instructions on the bottle or powder packet to use the product of your choice. If it doesn’t work, you might have to snake the drain. 

5. Snake The Drain 

Plumbing snakes are tools designed to remove clogs by either pushing them down the drain or pulling them out. There are different versions out there, but they all work in a similar fashion. 

To snake the drain, you have to remove the P-trap first. Then, push the snake slowly down the drain while rotating it. This motion wraps the debris around the snake, making it easy to pull out. 

In the case of larger or hard clogs – such as a small utensil or toy – the snake might be able to push it down to a larger pipe and fix the blockage.

Generally, you have reached the clog when you start to feel resistance as you’re pushing the auger. As soon as you feel resistance, start rotating the snake vigorously until you feel it pass through the clog.

Pull the snake out, clean it, and repeat the steps a few times to get rid of the blockage. 

6. Call In A Plumber 

Sometimes, removing a clog by yourself is just not possible. There is little to do at this point other than call in a plumber to assess the situation and remove the blockage.

How To Prevent Clogs In Kitchen Sink? 

Preventing is always easier than fixing a clogged drain. Once you’ve removed the blockage, follow the guidelines below to prevent future clogs: 

  • Avoid flushing oil and grease down the kitchen drain. These are the most common reasons for clogged kitchen sinks. Moreover, oil and grease that end up in wastewater can become pollutants in rivers and oceans. 
  • Don’t flush food scraps down the kitchen sink. Use a drain strainer or install a garbage disposal to prevent larger chunks of food from getting down the drain. 
  • Clean the drains regularly with baking soda and white vinegar. Not only do these products dissolve build-up, but they also eliminate any bad odors

Final Thoughts 

Removing a clog past the P-trap can be as easy as pie, or it might need professional cleaning. This is why you should keep the drain clean and avoid flushing food down the pipe. Hopefully, this guide can help you remove the clog and prevent future build-up.

Roxana Bikfalvi

Roxana is a copywriter passionate about home improvement and interior design. When she’s not writing, you can find her upcycling old furniture or remodeling interiors. She has written for numerous home improvement blogs before joining PlumbJoe.

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