What to Do if the Kitchen Sink Still Clogged After Snaking


A clogged kitchen sink is undoubtedly one of the commonest plumbing issues homeowners face. The good news is there are several ways to fix the problem, and you usually would not need a plumber. One of the most effective of these ways is snaking.

But, you can have a kitchen sink still clogged after snaking. As you can imagine, this can be hugely frustrating, especially after investing significant time and energy into the snaking process.

There are multiple reasons you might be experiencing these problems. For starters, the clog may be further down the rain than the snake can reach. Also, you may simply be using the wrong type of snake. Whatever the reasons, there are ways around it, and I’ve examined them thoroughly.

Kitchen Sink Still Clogged After Snaking

Why is A Sink Still Clogged After Snaking

The whole point of snaking is to unclog a clogged drain. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes the problem persists, even after you have meticulously snaked the drain. Be rest assured that it’s not an uncommon problem.

The first step to fixing this problem is understanding why it’s there in the first place.

Perhaps the most typical reason snaking is not fixing your clogged drain is the clog being further down the drain. Often, people snake from the top, and the problem seems to disappear. But that’s because the clog is close to the drain cover. If it’s farther down, then snaking up top would not solve anything.

Another reason is using the wrong type of snake. There are different snakes for different purposes. You may be on a fruitless expedition if you try to unclog a drain with an unsuitable snake. 

Finally, you may just be doing the whole process wrong. It’s not atypical nowadays, particularly with the newer devices.

Can Snaking a Drain Make it Worse?

Unfortunately, yes. Frequently, snaking is regarded as the final fix to a stubborn clogged drain. Although it has a high success rate, the process can worsen the drain.

Here’s how.

Many drains in homes have pipes that have been galvanized or coated to prevent rust. When snaking, there’s always the inherent risk of the snake looping in on itself and scratching the pipes. While these scratches may seem minor on the surface, they open the door to rust and corrosion. This will constitute a menace in the future.

Rust is not the only risk to pipes, though, as snakes could lead to the chipping of pipes. This is commoner with older, weaker pipes. In extremes, the pipes may be broken completely.

Aside from hurting pipes, snaking could also hurt you. This usually happens when the handler is inexperienced with snaking or mishandling powered tools.

How to Fix Clogged Kitchen Sink Properly

Okay, to the part you’ve been waiting for – how to fix a drain still clogged after snaking. Below are the methods to help you rectify the problem.

Method 1: Snake From Under the Drain

Most people go from the top when trying to unclog a drain with a snake. That’s not surprising, as it usually works when the clog is relatively close to the drain cover. However, if the clog is further down the drain, any snaking done from the top may be futile.

A solution is to snake from under the drain rather than the top. In fact, professionals often try this straight away when trying to snake a drain.

Tools required

  • Snake (Motor-driven)
  • Towels
  • Bucket
  • Pipe wrench
  • Flashlight
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Warm water

Step 1: Turn Off the Water Supply

To start with, turn off the water supply. This is essential as removing the pipe when water is flowing can cause water to splash around your kitchen floor.

Also, you should place a bucket below the pipe to collect trapped water. Removing the P-trap can get very messy quickly, so always have a towel on the floor in case things go wrong.

Step 2: Remove the P-trap

Take apart the P-Trap under the kitchen sink drain. You can do this using a pipe wrench to loosen the nuts. You may not even need a wrench if the pipe is plastic; your hand will suffice.

Step 3: Inspect the Pipe

After you have successfully removed the pipe, inspect it thoroughly. Look for hardened debris along the sides of the pipe. If you don’t notice anything unnatural, then the clog is further down the drain.

You shouldn’t stop your inspection at the inside of the pipe. Look at the point of attachment of the pipe for any debris. If it’s all clean, then the clog is even further down.

Step 4: Push Cable Down the Drain

Unfasten the screw at the top of the snake and pull out about 10-15 inches of the cable.

After you are satisfied with the length you have pulled out, fasten the screw on the snake and spin the cable through the drain. Ensure the cable goes down the T-fitting and not up into the vent.

Step 5: Break Up all Clogs

Keep pushing the cable down the drain, observing for any obstructions down the drain. Once you feel one, loosen the screw on the snake and extend the cable even more. After tightening the screw, resume the pushing process to break down any clogged areas.

Continue this till you break up the clog or reach a larger pipe. Your cue – significantly improved freedom in rotating the cable around the drain.

Step 6: Remove the Cable

After you feel that tension is relieved on the cable and it moves more freely, you can remove it from the drain. Carefully pull the cable out, doing so in bits.

For every 2 feet of cable, you pull out, and clean with a towel. If you pull out a clog, dispose of it in the bucket. After you have pulled out all of the snake cables, clean its tip to remove debris.

Step 7: Wash the Drain With Vinegar and Baking Soda

Return the P-trap to its original location. Run water through the drain to confirm that the drain is unclogged.

After this, pour a half cup of vinegar and baking soda down the drain and close drain openings to allow the compounds to act. After a few minutes, flush with warm water.

Method 2: Change the Snake

There are different sizes of snakes on the market today. You will be permitted to just buy the first one you see in the hardware store down the street. And that makes sense, as the small ones would be perfect for most household needs.

The smallest of the snakes you can get in terms of size is known as top snakes. It measures no more than 25 feet in cable length. However, if you run into a tough clog during snaking, you may need a bigger snake.

Of course, you should try your best to break down the clog with the snake you have first. You can use the push-and-pull method, where you, well, push and pull! All you have to do is draw the cable out two feet and extend it by four feet. Do this patiently till you feel the clog break.

But if it feels like a lost cause, then you may just need a more powerful snake. Those are expensive, so you may have to rent one from a plumber.

When handling snakes you are not familiar with, read all of the instructions. All of it. Some snakes can put your health at risk if handled improperly. If you find the process particularly difficult at any point, contact a professional for directions. 

Method 3: Call a Professional Plumber

Is your kitchen sink clogged, tried everything? It may be time to get a professional to handle matters. There’s really no shame in this, as some clogs are deep into the piping system. Attempting to fix it yourself can result in even more issues.

Further, whenever you’re fixing the drain, and you notice leaking, stop immediately. The snake cable is strong and can damage old and weak pipes. If you mishandle the snake, you can also force it into the vent rather than the T-fitting.

How Do You Unclog a Deep Clogged Kitchen Sink

How Do You Unclog a Deep Clogged Kitchen Sink

There are several ways to unclog a clogged kitchen sink. However, that list gets markedly shorter when the kitchen drain is deep clogged.

Essentially, the difference is the location of the clog. Mostly, the clog would be close to the drain cover. But for deep clogging, you’d have to go beyond the P-trap and far into the drain.

Let’s brush up on the steps to take to unclog a deep clogged kitchen sink.

Step 1: Try Boiling Water

You can allow boiling water to sit in the sink for a few minutes. When it cools, scoop it out and redo the process. It may take a while, but you can accomplish a lot without removing pipes or spinning cables.

Admittedly, it gets a lot trickier when the clog is deep in the drain as the water may lose temperature fast. However, it’s still a fair shot and could just work.

Step 2: Use a Plumber’s Snake

This is the most effective method you can try on your own. Get a suitable plumber snake and push it deep into the drain after removing the P-trap. You want to keep pushing till you break down the clog or reach a wider pipe.

Step 3: Call a Plumber

If the kitchen sink clogged snake doesn’t work, you may need to call a plumber. This is because they also have more experience with deeper clogs and better tools.

How Do You Know if Your Main Line Is Clogged

How Do You Know if Your Main Line Is Clogged

Your main line is the sewer line. As with kitchen sinks, they can also get clogged. Below are tell-tale signs that your main line is clogged.

Slow Draining

Slow draining is one of the first indications of clogging. If drains around your house start draining slowly, there may be a partial clog in your sewer line.

Multiple Drains Clogged Simultaneously

If you have multiple drains clogged simultaneously, then there may be a problem with your main line. All other drains inside your house are typically open to the main line.

When there’s a problem with this line, it is only natural the others start acting up. Hence, several clogged drains at once.

Sewage Standing in Sewer Cleanout

The main line may be clogged if there’s sewage overflowing in and around your sewer cleanout.

The cleanout is typically located just outside your house, meaning you should always keep watchful eyes around your immediate premises.

Can a Sewer Line Unclog Itself?

Unlikely, but not impossible. Note that mainline clogs are a lot more complex to fix than other smaller drains. This ultimately eliminates the idea of doing it yourself. However, you may not need anyone to do it at all on some occasions.

It is so difficult because main line clogs result from dead branches and broken pipes, which are usually deep in the drainage system. Technically, for dead branches and the like, the line can unclog itself if the pressure builds up enough. Of course, the pipes have to be able to withstand the pressure.

In contrast, there’s little to no hope of it self-fixing for broken or deformed pipes.

How Do You Clear a Main Line Block

How Do You Clear a Main Line Block

Clearing a clogged main line block is a lot trickier than if your kitchen sink drain is clogged. You have to be extra careful in following the steps below.

Step 1: Find the Drain Pipe

First and foremost, find the drain pipe. It should be just outside your home. Be careful around the pipe as sewage may have leaked and softened the ground. Plus, there’s a risk of the pipe exploding.

Step 2: Loosen the Drain Pipe

Using a wrench, loosen the cap on the drain pipe. Never open the pipe directly.

Step 3: Relieve Tension on the Pipe

When the cap is loose enough, open the cap quickly and leave the premises of the pipe immediately. This is because the tension on the pipe is quickly lost and may propel sewage several inches into the air.

Step 4: Use a Snake

When the main drain has drained out, push a snake into the drain. It goes without saying that you would need a bigger snake than with kitchen sinks. Push the cable until the clog is broken.

Step 5: Clean the Pipe

Finally, flush down the pipe with water to remove residual debris. Be careful about this to prevent splashing into your face.

If the sewer is still clogged after the snake, get in touch with a plumber. Don’t go further if you don’t feel comfortable.

What Happens if Drano Doesn’t Go Down the Drain

If Drano doesn’t go down the drain, it is clear the drain is still clogged. Luckily, there are fixes for this. Start with baking soda and vinegar for 30 minutes. Flush it with warm water after.

If that doesn’t work, you could use a plunger. The suction pressure can unclog the drain and allow for easy Drano passage. Still no positive result? Turn to a plumbing snake. Push it down the drain and spin. Hopefully, the clog breaks down.

In the case all of these do not work, contact a professional plumber.

Home Remedy for Clogged Drain With Standing Water

Standing water is common when a drain is clogged. If left unchecked, it can remain there for days, and start breeding microorganisms. There are ways out, though.

First, clear off the standing water from the sink. This is critical before proceeding to any other step. You should wear a glove and scoop all the water out.

After the sink is free of standing water, plunge to unclog the drain. For clogs close to the drain cover, this would work well. If the clog is further down the drain, you may need a plumbing snake. You can start at the top and then move to the bottom if the results are not favorable.

Key Takeaway

Clogging is a common plumbing problem. One of the go-to fixes for a clogged sink is a plumbing snake. While it has a high success rate, it doesn’t always work. If you have a kitchen sink still clogged after snaking, you may need to snake from under.

You can do this by removing the P-trap and pushing the snake cable deep into the pipe. After the clog is resolved, wash with baking soda, vinegar, and warm water.

While we are all for doing it yourself, don’t hesitate to call a plumber if it gets out of hand. Moreover, take necessary safety precautions before starting the snaking process.

Lisa Burks

Hi, I'm Lisa Burks, founder of the Sink Formula blog, and plumber of 5 years experience.

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