The 4 Best Finds for Unclogging Kitchen Sink Drains

published Aug 1, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

The drain in my rental kitchen LOVES to clog. I don’t know what it is. I’m SO CAREFUL not to let anything down there (aside from soap and water) — no grease, no rice, not even a single coffee ground. And yet, it backs up like the Hoover Dam. I used to ask my amazing Super to come help (hi, Adrianno!), but after the third or forth time, I became too embarrassed. I tried making my own drain cleaner (see: How To Make Your Own Drain Cleaner) and it worked a little, but clogs always come back.

I eventually got rid of the drain stopper that came with the apartment (the holes were so wide!) and replaced it with this one from OXO (which I’m obsessed with). And I’ve become quite the expert when it comes to store-bought solutions. Here are some of the best finds for unclogging your kitchen sink’s drain.

These came highly recommended by one of our writers. They’re definitely best for preventing clogs in the first place, but I have had some luck with these for minor clogs, right as they’re starting. Just drop one down the drain once a month and they’ll slowly dissolve while they break up grease and grime.

My apartment building was built in the 1800s (although the pipes are clearly not quite as old), so I hesitated to put any sort of chemical down the drain. (In fact, some plumbers advise against chemical-laden drain cleaners even for NEW pipes, as they can eat away at the pipes over time.) But then I found this stuff, which claims to be safer than other options (it doesn’t have sodium hydroxide). It gets results quickly and, not surprisingly, is a bestseller on Amazon.

Credit: Amazon

Drain snakes can end up costing you a pretty penny. Why not start on the cheaper end with this zip tie-like pack that’s just $6? Simply push it down the drain, wiggle it around and pull it back up. The jagged teeth on the side should catch large pieces of food and even, um, hair.

Credit: Amazon

If you really need to call in the big guns, this is the cheapest (yet still well-reviewed) auger I’ve been able to find. (Some can legit cost $50 or more!) It has 25 feet of cable, which means it can really get deep in the pipes to find whatever’s clogging them up. For just $21 it’s worth trying it yourself before you have to call a plumber.

Have you found anything you swear by? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!