Dealing with Stubborn Grease Clogs in Kitchen Drains

A pipe clogged or sewer with thick fats, oil and grease

The kitchen sink drain is one of the most common areas where clogs occur due to grease buildup from daily cooking activities. Understanding how these clogs form, recognizing the signs, and knowing how to address them can save you time, money, and a lot of headaches. By following the tips and solutions provided in this blog, you can effectively manage and prevent grease clogs in your kitchen sink drain.

Understanding Grease Clogs in Kitchen Drains

Grease clogs are a common issue in kitchen drains, primarily caused by the improper disposal of cooking oils and fats. When you pour liquid grease down the sink drain, it doesn’t stay liquid for long. As the grease cools, it solidifies and adheres to the inner walls of the pipes. Over time, this accumulation of grease narrows the pipe’s diameter, making it harder for water and food particles to pass through. This gradual buildup eventually leads to a clogged drain, causing slow drainage and potential backups.

The severity of a grease clog depends on several factors, including the amount of grease disposed of, the frequency of disposal, and the overall maintenance of the plumbing system. Regularly pouring hot water down the drain can help to some extent, but it is not a permanent solution. Only a professional drain cleaning or, in severe cases, a drain replacement service can truly fix a grease-clogged sink.

Signs Your Drain is Clogged with Grease

Recognizing the signs of a grease clog early on can prevent a minor inconvenience from turning into a major plumbing issue. Here are some telltale signs that your kitchen drain is clogged with grease:

  1. Slow Drainage: If water takes longer than usual to drain from your sink, it is a clear indication that there is a buildup restricting the flow. Slow drainage often worsens over time as more grease accumulates.
  2. Gurgling Noises: When water tries to flow past a grease clog, it can create gurgling or bubbling sounds. These noises occur because the water is struggling to move through the narrowed passage created by the grease buildup.
  3. Unpleasant Odors: A foul smell coming from your sink drain is often caused by decomposing food particles trapped in the grease. This odor can be particularly noticeable when water is draining slowly or not at all.
  4. Standing Water: If water is pooling in your sink and not draining, it is a sign of a severe grease clog. This situation requires immediate attention to prevent further complications.
  5. Recurring Clogs: If you frequently experience clogged drains, especially after cooking, it is likely due to grease buildup. Regular clogs indicate that the problem is not being fully resolved and that there is a persistent issue with grease in the pipes.

DIY Solutions for Clearing Grease Clogs

When faced with a grease-clogged drain, there are several DIY solutions you can try before calling a professional plumber — but keep in mind that you might not see the desired results if you’re dealing with severe grease buildup:

  1. Boiling Water: Pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain can help melt and dislodge minor grease blockages. This method is simple and can be repeated a few times for optimal results. Be sure to pour the boiling water slowly to avoid splashing.
  2. Dish Soap and Hot Water: Add two tablespoons of liquid dish detergent to a large pot of boiling water. Pour the mixture down the drain to cut through the grease. Dish soap is designed to break down grease and can help clear minor clogs when combined with hot water.
  3. Baking Soda and Vinegar: Mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of white cleaning vinegar. Pour the baking soda down the drain first, followed by the vinegar. The fizzing action can help break down the grease buildup. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse with hot water.
  4. Salt and Boiling Water: Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add a generous amount of table salt and stir until dissolved. Carefully pour the boiling saltwater down the drain. The combination of hot water and salt can help dissolve the grease and clear the blockage.
  5. Enzyme-Based Cleaners: These cleaners use natural enzymes to break down organic matter, including grease. They are safe for pipes and the environment. Follow the instructions on the product for the best results. Enzyme-based cleaners are an excellent alternative to caustic drain cleaners, which can damage pipes over time.

Using Enzyme-Based Cleaners

Enzyme-based cleaners are a good option for dealing with stubborn grease clogs in kitchen drains. Natural enzymes help break down organic matter, including grease, into smaller particles that can be easily flushed away with water. Unlike chemical cleaners, enzyme-based products are safe for your pipes and the environment.

It’s important to remember that enzyme-based cleaners are not a magical solution. They might help in a pinch, but the only way to truly clean grease buildup is by through professional tools like hydro jetting.

To use an enzyme-based cleaner, follow the instructions on the product label. Typically, you will need to pour the cleaner down the drain and let it sit for a specified period, allowing the enzymes to work their magic. After the waiting period, flush the drain with hot water to wash away the dissolved grease. Regular use of enzyme-based cleaners can help maintain clear drains and prevent future grease clogs.

When to Call a Professional Plumber

While DIY methods may effectively handle minor grease clogs, most times, professional help is necessary. If you have tried multiple solutions and the clog persists, it is best to call a professional plumber. We have the expertise and tools to address severe clogs and ensure your plumbing system is functioning correctly.

A professional plumber can also identify underlying issues that may be contributing to recurring clogs. For example, there could be problems with your plumbing system’s design or damage to the pipes that need to be addressed. By consulting a professional, you can avoid further damage and costly plumbing repairs in the future.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Grease Clogs

Preventing grease clogs in your kitchen sink drain is the best way to avoid the hassle of dealing with a clogged drain. Here are some preventive measures to keep your drains clear:

  1. Avoid Pouring Grease Down the Drain: Dispose of cooking oils and fats in a container and throw them in the trash. Even small amounts of liquid grease can solidify and contribute to a clog.
  2. Scrape Plates Before Washing: Remove food particles from plates and cookware before washing them in the sink. This prevents food waste from accumulating in the garbage disposal or the drain and combining with grease to form clogs.
  3. Use a Sink Strainer: A sink strainer can catch food particles and prevent them from entering the drain. Regularly empty the strainer to keep your sink drains clear.
  4. Flush Drains with Hot Water: After cooking, pour hot water down the drain to help dissolve any grease that may have entered the pipes. This simple step can prevent grease buildup over time.
  5. Regular Maintenance: Schedule regular drain cleaning services to keep your plumbing system in good condition. Professional maintenance can help identify and address potential issues before they become major problems.

Schedule Your Drain Cleaning Service Today!

If you’re dealing with stubborn grease clogs in your kitchen drain or want to prevent future clogs, it’s time to schedule a professional drain cleaning service. Same Day Plumbing offers expert drain cleaning services in Toronto to keep your kitchen sink drain clear and functional. Our experienced plumbers use advanced tools to remove grease buildup and ensure your plumbing system is in excellent condition.

Don’t wait until a minor clog becomes a major headache. Contact Same Day Plumbing today to schedule your drain cleaning service and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a smoothly-running kitchen drain.