How to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink That Is Clogged on Both Sides with a Garbage Disposal

Does this scenario sound familiar to the problem in your home?

You run your garbage disposal and find that water is beginning to be backed up into both basins of your two-sided sink. Not just water, but you also see scraps of food appear to float up with the backed-up water. This is not a good sign, and it could lead to more problems for your plumbing pipes if left unattended for a long period. The problem you are facing is a clogged drain line.

The good news is, there are actions you can take on your own to try to troubleshoot your garbage disposal or unclog your drain. The plumbers here at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Cedar Rapids are happy to help you out with this problem, and we want to share some tips with you on how you can fix it. If you are uncomfortable performing any of the tasks we mention, do not hesitate to call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing for a speedy and efficient repair. Our plumbers are available 24/7 and will always provide customer satisfactory drain cleaning.

Why Is Your Sink Backing Up On Both Sides?

If both sides of your double kitchen sinks appear clogged and begin to back up, the likely reason is a blockage in your sink's main drain or you have a clogged garbage disposal. Baking soda and hot water can help unclog your drain and works great as a cleaning agent and odor absorbent.

The cause of a clogged drain pipe could be food scraps or any larger items that were not able to go through the pipe forcing it to be trapped, and as time goes on with this blockage, more debris accumulates causing the pipe to be blocked off completely. Leaving this blockage here is not only bad for your plumbing, but it can also affect the comfort of your home. Your sink will not be operational, and the smell of backed-up food and water will begin to be noticed in the kitchen.

Checking and Cleaning Your Garbage Disposal

  • Unplug your disposal
  • or Turn off the circuit breaker at the main power panel for your disposal

Clear out anything that is in the disposal, you can do this with your hands, but make sure the disposal is completely shut off. Reach into the drain of your sink and feel for any food items that could be jamming the blades, slowly remove all the scraps that can be immediately felt on your hands. After you have cleared out all the scraps on the blades, run your garbage disposal again and see if the water begins to drain from your sink.

If doing this does not clear the water in your sink. Try the next action.

Resetting your Garbage Disposal and Turning Center Crank

garbage disposal

The clog can be caused by your garbage disposal needing to be reset or needing to crank the blades to make sure nothing is blocking them.

Locate your garbage disposal from under your sink.

  • Press the red reset button a few times and see if that works.
  • Take an Allen wrench and turn the center crank clockwise a few times to loosen up the blades, this will alleviate some blockage if they exist
  • Like in the previous action mentioned going back to your kitchen sink drain and see if you can remove any items that you can feel with your hands.

Try to run your kitchen sink again and run your garbage disposal after you have done the previous actions. Does this unclog your drain? If not proceed to the next piece of advice for unclogging your drain.

How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with Baking Soda & Vinegar

What you will need:

  • Box of baking soda
  • Bottle of White Vinegar
  • Something to plug your kitchen sinks drains with
  • Kettle of boiled water

Here is what the process will look like:

  1. Pour half the box of baking soda inside the kitchen sink drain.
  2. Pour half a cup of white vinegar into the kitchen sink drain right afterward
  3. Immediately plug the drain with anything that will fill the hole and prevent any of the fizzings from coming out
  4. Leave the mixture of baking soda and vinegar in the drain to settle for about 30 minutes
  5. While you are waiting, begin to boil a tea kettle of hot water
  6. Once the water has boiled, pour it down the drain to see if this does the trick for relieving your kitchen drain clog

We also recommend taking this action once a month to clean out your drains as a precautionary measure to prevent any future clogs.

Reach For Your Sink Plunger

Keep in mind that the sink plunger is not the toilet plunger, these are two different pieces of equipment, and you should use the right plunger to handle your specific problem for the best results.

Take your plunger and put it in one side of the clogged sink. Take a washcloth or any rag and plug it into the opposite drain of the two basin sink (the side that will not be plunged). Begin applying some forceful pushes to one side of the sink and do this multiple times. Remove the plunger and the plug from both sides and see if the water in the sink begins to drain after this action. Run your garbage disposal and see if the water begins to clear.

If this does not fix the clog in your kitchen sink, try doing the same action again, but on the opposite sides. So plug the side you plunged with, and now plunge the side that was plugged before (doing the same thing but reverse the sides.)

If doing this step does not unclog your drain, you will have to try to remove and clean out the plumbing assembly from under your sink.

Remove and Clean Out The Plumbing Assembly Under Your Sink

Plug the sink drains again with a washcloth or rag before starting this process. This part can be complex if you are not familiar with removing your plumbing assembly. If this is the case, we highly advise calling a professional plumber from our plumbing company to help you with this issue.

You will need to remove the assembly by undoing the joints that are connecting it to your sink. This might be a series of three joints that need to be loosened.

Warning: As you loosen the joints water will begin to leak out, this is the water trapped in the assembly. Slowly let the water drain from the pipe as you can, collecting the water that is leaking in buckets or containers will minimalize the mess that will be caused. You do not want to be cleaning a lot of this backup water yourself, so try to collect as much as you can.

Once you feel you have drained the majority of the water, remove the assembly from its placement under the sink. After you have removed the assembly and drained the water, place a bucket under the pipe that is connected to the drain, and pull the plug that is plugging the sink drains to let out the excess water that was plugged up. Make sure that the water that comes outfalls into a bucket or container.

Remove any debris that may be clogging your plumbing assembly. The culprit is usually small food items that bunched together to clog the drain. Other times it was items too big to be properly broken up by the garbage disposal. Whatever is causing the blockage in your plumbing assembly make sure it gets cleared.

If none of these actions work to relieve your kitchen sink of the clog, then the problem is coming from areas much more complicated than anticipated. At this point, it is best to call a professional plumber to inspect and repair the issue.

Call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Cedar Rapids for the best plumbers in Iowa to handle the job of your fixing your kitchen’s plumbing!