How To Unclog A Backed Up Kitchen Drain (It Worked!)

Ok, so remember how we didn’t have a kitchen for 113 days? And remember how excited we were to cook? Well, we were SO psyched to have our kitchen back (and better than ever) that we invited a few of our fabulous-chef-friends over to show our kitchen a little action. The four of us quickly whipped up some veggie hummus from scratch to nosh on while we cooked the main event: a delicious thai curry chicken and veggie dish over jasmine rice. Amazing.


But somewhere between the appetizer and the main course our kitchen rebelled. As in both sides of the sink refused to drain. And then we noticed that the dishwasher was filled with about 3 inches of nasty standing water as well. We had a full-on clog.


So we proceeded with dinner sans sink and it was fun and fantastic. In fact, it was so good it was almost worth the 4 hours we spent the next day taking apart the pipes, snaking the drain, and breaking up the nasty veggie ball that had clogged up the works the night before. (We may never eat zucchini again).

Sink Man

But we’re happy to add drain-snaking to our metaphorical toolbox, and to pass along a great clog-busting tip: boiling water. We dumped gallon after gallon of boiling h20 down the drain and about the 5th or 6th time the clog fully broke up and the water rushed down the drain like a mini tornado. Victory!

And we learned a valuable lesson: the garbage disposal has to be ON if stuff’s flying down the drain. Or it’ll just slip right through without getting chopped up and hang out about 5 feet under the floor in the pipes and have a little dinner party of its own.

So now we know.


  1. Cristina says

    hey love your kitchen have actually picked out the exact same cabinets and counter top for our remodel.(have not started yet.. gulp)You said you used Home Depot,may I ask what brand of cabinet you used.
    congrats on the kitchen.
    great taste!

  2. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey Cristina,

    We used Home Depot’s “Bel Air” cabinets by KraftMaid and Stonemark granite in “Pashmina.” KraftMaid cabinets aren’t the cheapest cabinets, but we’ve heard that they really hold up and stand the test of time, which is exactly what we’re looking for in kitchen- reliability and durability.

    The granite was also a huge draw for us because Home Depot’s granite is the only granite that never has to be resealed thanks to PermaShield technology, which keeps the stone protected and stain free for life (and comes with a great warranty). Hope that helps. Good luck with the remodel- and have fun!


  3. Lauren says

    Hi Sherry,

    Your kitchen looks great. We are considering Kraftmaid cabinets – maple in Dove White. Also, looking at granite from Home Depot. Does the Perma Sheild really hold up? We love our red wine and I’m worried about a ring on the light colored granite.


  4. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey Lauren,

    In our whole week of experience, I have to say the PermaShield seems to be fantastic. We’ve spilled everything from tomato sauce to acidic orange juice on the granite and as long as you wipe it up within a reasonable amount of time it’s just dandy. I think even without the PermaShield it would be fine because you’d just remember to seal it once a year (spray it with this windex-like stuff) and it has the same effect.

    Unless you think you’ll spill wine on it and leave it there overnight I don’t think you’ll really have a problem. I’m already into the habit of wiping down the counters before I leave the kitchen for the night. Only takes a sec.

    Oh and I’ve heard that bleach doesn’t hurt granite, so if you do get some red wine markings you can try leaving bleach on the counter for a few hours and supposedly it can lift the stains. Hope that helps!


  5. says

    We’ve had the same sink and dishwasher filling at the same time (and actually dishwasher leaking), just as we start a DIY “quick” kitchen makeover (cabinet painting, vinyl floor laying, wall color changing, etc). I think there may be a clog in ours as well (from the previous owners, which makes it wayyyy more gross than our own veggies)…thanks for the boiling water tip, I think I’ll hit that up tonight!

  6. Haley B says

    WOW!!! You two know it all and how to do it all…..and well make it look fun, beautiful and amazing, but to my point.

    I have had a stopped up bathroom sink drain for weeks. After trying two bottles of Drain’O and baking soda with vinegar all that was really left was me attempting to play plummer. Living alone as a single girl who has never taken pipes apart before, I was a little nervous, but excited to attempt it. Luckily I saw your post titled “We’re Felling Drained” about unclogging a sink……so I am happy to report that after weeks of annoying clog-age a few pots of boiling water has done the trick!
    THANKS you two!

  7. Lauren says

    I recall looking on your website a few months ago and reading about unclogging a drain with vinegar and baking soda? I can’t seem to find it on your website…I was wondering what that trick is to unclog a drain? Thank you!

  8. Kim S says

    So did you need to do the whole drain-snaking, pipe-taking-apart thing? Or did the boiling water do the trick on its own? We’re having a sink drainage issue right now, and with Christmas weekend fast approaching, we reaaaaally hope we don’t have to call a plumber!

    • says

      I guess it’s hard to say if it was just the boiling water or a combination of all of the tricks, but we have had luck with boiling water by itself since. So we’d suggest giving that a try first. It took us a few pots so you might have to be patient. Fingers crossed for you!


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