Stopped Up Kitchen Sink: What NOT To Put Down The Drain

Stopped Up Kitchen Sink: What NOT To Put Down The Drain

Environmental Impact of Improper Disposal

Have you ever found yourself dealing with a stopped up kitchen sink at the worst possible time? 

If so, you’re not alone. 

Many homeowners in Conway, SC, and beyond face this frustrating issue due to common, yet avoidable, mistakes. 

In this article, we’ll delve into why you should never pour oil, fats, or grease down your kitchen sink and provide practical tips to keep your drains clear.


Common Causes of a Stopped Up Kitchen Sink.
Photo from iStock – Credit: Denis Shevchuk

Common Causes of a Stopped Up Kitchen Sink

Dealing with a stopped up kitchen sink can be a major inconvenience, but understanding the common causes can help you prevent it from happening in the first place. 

Here are the primary culprits behind clogged kitchen sinks.


Fats, Oils, and Grease

One of the most notorious causes of a stopped up kitchen sink is the buildup of fats, oils, and grease (FOG). 

When these substances are poured down the drain, they may initially flow through the pipes as liquids. However, as they cool, they solidify and adhere to the pipe walls. 

Over time, this accumulation can create significant blockages that restrict water flow. 

The solidified grease can trap other debris, worsening the clog and making it more difficult to remove​.


Food Scraps and Organic Waste

Food scraps are another frequent cause of kitchen sink clogs. 

While garbage disposals can handle certain types of food waste, they are not foolproof. 

Some items, such as coffee grounds and eggshells, can cause blockages. 

Coffee grounds tend to clump together, forming a thick sludge that sticks to the pipes. 

Similarly, eggshells can break into small, sharp fragments that contribute to clogs. 

Starchy foods like pasta and rice are also problematic; they swell with water and create a sticky mass that can block pipes.


Non-Food Items

Non-food items are a major no-no for your kitchen sink.

Items such as paper towels, wipes, and other trash should never be flushed down the sink. 

These materials do not break down easily and can cause severe blockages. 

Even products labeled as “flushable” can contribute to clogs because they do not disintegrate quickly enough to pass through the plumbing system without causing issues.

By being mindful of what goes down your kitchen sink, you can significantly reduce the risk of encountering frustrating clogs. 

In the next section, we will discuss why fats, oils, and grease are particularly harmful to your plumbing system.


Why Fats, Oils, and Grease are Particularly Harmful

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) are among the most harmful substances that can go down your kitchen sink. 

They are particularly problematic for several reasons, which we will explore below.


Chemical Properties and Pipe Interaction

FOG substances are notorious for their chemical properties, which cause them to solidify as they cool. 

When fats, oils, and grease are poured down the drain, they may initially flow easily through the pipes as liquids. 

However, as they cool, they begin to solidify and adhere to the inner walls of the pipes. 

This solidification process creates a sticky coating inside the pipes that can trap other debris, leading to substantial blockages over time​​.

The interaction between these substances and the pipes is a gradual but persistent process. 

The buildup of FOG narrows the diameter of the pipes, reducing the flow of water and increasing the likelihood of clogs. 

This narrowing can eventually lead to complete blockages, necessitating more intensive methods to clear the pipes​.


Long-term Damage and Costly Repairs

The long-term consequences of pouring FOG down the sink can be severe. 

Persistent FOG buildup can lead to significant damage to your plumbing system. 

Over time, the solidified grease can cause corrosion and leaks in the pipes. 

This corrosion weakens the structural integrity of the plumbing, potentially leading to pipe bursts or severe leaks that can cause water damage to your home.

Moreover, dealing with severe blockages caused by FOG can be expensive. 

In many cases, homeowners may need to call professional plumbers to address the issue, and extensive blockages might require replacing entire sections of the plumbing system. 

The cost of such repairs can add up quickly, making it far more economical to prevent FOG from entering the pipes in the first place.

Understanding the specific harm caused by FOG highlights the importance of proper disposal methods, which we will discuss in the following section.


There's a drain in the metal kitchen sink, showcasing the drainage installation in a home kitchen.
Photo from iStock – Credit: Piotr Wytrazek

Prevention Tips

Preventing a stopped up kitchen sink starts with adopting proper disposal habits and maintaining your plumbing system.

Here are some essential tips to keep your drains clear and functioning smoothly.


Proper Disposal Methods

To avoid clogs caused by fats, oils, and grease, it’s crucial to dispose of these substances correctly. 

Instead of pouring them down the drain, collect used cooking fats, oils, and grease in a container, such as an empty can or jar. 

Once the container is full and the contents have solidified, dispose of it in the trash. This simple step can significantly reduce the risk of blockages in your pipes​.

For food scraps, composting is an excellent alternative. 

Items like vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells can be added to a compost pile, where they will break down naturally and provide valuable nutrients for your garden. 

By diverting organic waste from your kitchen sink, you not only prevent clogs but also contribute to environmental sustainability​.


Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your kitchen sink and pipes in good working order. Here are some effective maintenance tips:

  1. Hot Water Flushes: Periodically flush your kitchen sink with hot water. 

This helps dissolve minor grease buildup and keeps the pipes clear. 

Simply boil a pot of water and pour it down the drain slowly.

  1. Baking Soda and Vinegar: Use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clean your drains naturally. Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of vinegar. 

Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes, then flush with hot water. 

The chemical reaction helps break down grease and other buildup​.

  1. Strainers and Traps: Install strainers in your sink to catch food particles and other debris before they go down the drain. 

These simple devices can be very effective in preventing clogs. 

Clean the strainers regularly to ensure they remain effective.

By following these prevention and maintenance tips, you can keep your kitchen sink and plumbing system in top condition, reducing the likelihood of clogs and costly repairs. In the next section, we’ll cover what to do when you encounter a clogged sink.


What To Do When You Have a Clogged Sink

Even with the best preventive measures, clogs can still happen. Here’s what to do when you encounter a stopped up kitchen sink.


DIY Methods

Before calling a professional, try these simple and effective DIY methods to unclog your sink.

Boiling Water

Boiling water can be surprisingly effective at dissolving minor grease clogs. 

Bring a pot of water to a boil and carefully pour it down the drain in stages, allowing it to work through the clog. Repeat if necessary​​.

Plunger: Using a plunger can help dislodge stubborn clogs. 

Fill the sink with enough water to cover the plunger’s bell, create a seal, and plunge vigorously. 

This method can create enough pressure to clear the blockage​​.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

A natural alternative to chemical cleaners, this method uses a chemical reaction to break down clogs. 

Pour one cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of vinegar. 

Cover the drain and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Then, flush the drain with hot water.

Check the Garbage Disposal:

If your sink has a garbage disposal, it might be the source of the clog. 

Ensure the disposal is turned off, then check for obstructions. 

Use an Allen wrench to manually turn the disposal’s motor if it’s jammed, or press the reset button on the bottom of the unit if it has overheated.

Plumber’s Snake

For more stubborn clogs, a plumber’s snake (or auger) can be very effective. Insert the snake into the drain and twist it to break up the clog or pull it out. 

This method is particularly useful for deeper clogs that other methods can’t reach.


When to Call a Professional

Sometimes, DIY methods aren’t enough. Here are signs that you need professional help:

  • Persistent Clogs: If the clog persists despite your best efforts, it might be deeper in the plumbing system and require professional equipment to remove​​.
  • Slow Drainage: Slow drainage can indicate a buildup in your pipes that needs professional cleaning to prevent future clogs.
  • Water Backup: If water is backing up into other fixtures, such as the dishwasher or other sinks, it’s a sign of a more significant blockage in your home’s plumbing system.

Professional plumbers, like those at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Myrtle Beach, have the tools and expertise to handle severe clogs efficiently and safely. 

They can also provide routine maintenance to keep your pipes clear and functioning optimally.


Environmental Impact of Improper Disposal

Improper disposal of fats, oils, and grease not only affects your plumbing but also has significant environmental consequences. 

When these substances enter the municipal sewer system, they can cause major blockages in public sewers, leading to overflows that contaminate local water bodies. 

These overflows can introduce harmful bacteria and pollutants into rivers, lakes, and oceans, posing risks to wildlife and human health. 

Additionally, managing these blockages increases the operational costs for wastewater treatment facilities, which can lead to higher utility bills for consumers. 

By properly disposing of kitchen waste, you contribute to a healthier environment and more efficient waste management systems.


Community Focus: Conway, SC

Local Impact

Residents of Conway, SC, like many homeowners, often face the frustration of dealing with a stopped-up kitchen sink. 

The unique climate and local water conditions can sometimes exacerbate these issues, making it even more crucial for residents to be aware of the common causes and prevention methods for kitchen sink clogs.

Conway’s warm and humid environment can contribute to faster bacterial growth in pipes, which can interact with fats, oils, and grease, leading to more frequent clogs. 

Moreover, the local community’s reliance on home cooking, especially dishes involving rich, fatty foods, often results in more fats and grease being disposed of down the sink​​.


Local Services

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Myrtle Beach provides dedicated plumbing services to the residents of Conway, SC. 

Their team of professional plumbers is well-versed in addressing the common plumbing issues faced by the local community, including the notorious problem of kitchen sink clogs.

Services offered include:

  • Drain Cleaning: Using advanced equipment to thoroughly clean and clear drains, preventing and resolving clogs.
  • Inspection and Maintenance: Routine inspections to identify potential issues before they become major problems, along with regular maintenance to keep your plumbing system in top condition.
  • Emergency Services: Quick and efficient emergency plumbing services for those unexpected clogs that need immediate attention.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing emphasizes customer satisfaction and professionalism, ensuring that Conway residents receive the highest quality service. 

Their local expertise means they understand the specific challenges faced by homeowners in the area and can provide tailored solutions to keep your kitchen sink and overall plumbing system running smoothly.

By utilizing local services like Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, residents of Conway can ensure their plumbing issues are addressed promptly and effectively, helping to maintain a comfortable and functional home environment.



A stopped up kitchen sink can be a significant inconvenience, but with proper knowledge and preventive measures, it is largely avoidable. 

By understanding the common causes of clogs, particularly the dangers of disposing of fats, oils, and grease down the drain, and by following regular maintenance routines, you can keep your kitchen sink in excellent working order.

Dealing with a stopped up kitchen sink can be frustrating, but with the right knowledge and practices, you can prevent most clogs and keep your kitchen running smoothly. 

Here’s a recap of the key points covered in this article:

Understanding the Causes

Fats, oils, and grease are the primary culprits behind many kitchen sink clogs. 

These substances solidify in the pipes, leading to blockages that can catch other debris. 

Food scraps, particularly starchy foods and coffee grounds, as well as non-food items like paper towels and wipes, also contribute to clogs.

Preventive Measures

Proper disposal of fats, oils, and grease is crucial. 

Collect these substances in a container and dispose of them in the trash once they have solidified. 

Composting food scraps and using strainers in your sink to catch debris are also effective preventive measures. 

Regular maintenance, such as flushing your drains with hot water and using baking soda and vinegar, can help keep your pipes clear.

DIY Solutions for Clogs

If you do encounter a clog, try using boiling water, a plunger, or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. 

Checking and resetting the garbage disposal, and using a plumber’s snake, can also be effective for more stubborn blockages​.


Professional Help

If DIY methods fail, it’s time to call in the professionals. 

Persistent clogs, slow drainage, and water backup into other fixtures are signs that you need expert assistance.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Myrtle Beach offers comprehensive plumbing services in Conway, SC, and can help resolve severe clogs and maintain your plumbing system​.

By following these tips and leveraging local services, you can avoid the inconvenience and expense of a stopped up kitchen sink. 

Remember, proper disposal habits and regular maintenance are key to preventing clogs and keeping your plumbing system in top condition.



To provide further clarity on keeping your kitchen sink clog-free, here are some frequently asked questions:

  1. What should I do to avoid putting down the kitchen sink?

    Avoid disposing of fats, oils, and grease (FOG), food scraps (especially coffee grounds, eggshells, and starchy foods), and non-food items such as paper towels, wipes, and other trash. These materials can cause significant clogs and damage to your plumbing system​​.

  1. How often should I clean my kitchen sink drain?

    It’s advisable to clean your kitchen sink drain at least once a month. Regular maintenance includes flushing with hot water, using a baking soda and vinegar mixture, and ensuring strainers are clear of debris​​.

  1. Can I use chemical drain cleaners to clear clogs?

    While chemical drain cleaners can be effective, they can also damage your pipes, especially if used frequently. Natural alternatives like baking soda and vinegar are safer and effective for maintaining clear drains​.

  1. When should I call a professional plumber?

    Call a professional plumber if you experience persistent clogs that DIY methods cannot resolve, slow drainage across multiple fixtures, or water backup into other sinks or appliances. These issues indicate more severe blockages that require expert intervention​.

  1. How can I find a reliable plumber in Conway, SC?

    For reliable plumbing services in Conway, SC, you can contact Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Myrtle Beach. They offer comprehensive services, including emergency repairs and routine maintenance, to ensure your plumbing system remains in excellent condition​​.




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