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How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink That’s Clogged on Both Sides

Clogs in any of your home’s drainage systems are problematic, but there’s nothing quite as annoying as walking in to find your kitchen sink clogged on both sides. It’s full of soggy food scraps that refuse to drain away, so you run the garbage disposal and flip on the tap water… only nothing happens. My kitchen sink is clogged on both sides. Now what do I do?

If you’ve found your kitchen sink backing up on both sides, do not attempt to fix the issue by yourself until you properly understand how your double sink works. This critical first step can make DIY fixes more successful. 

The Anatomy of Double Kitchen Sinks

One of the most popular basin style sinks today is the double basin sink. Generally these basins are the same size, but they don’t have to be. One can be smaller than the other and there are even models with unequal depths.

Double basin sinks offer a lot of versatility to your kitchen, allowing you to use the separate sides for different purposes. One side can be for food prep while the other is for dishes; one side can be for soaking dishes while the other can be for washing them; clean dishes can dry on one side while the other is kept open; and usually, if one side clogs up, the other remains clear.

Unfortunately, that last advantage isn't guaranteed. Finding your kitchen sink clogged on both sides is entirely possible, largely due to the anatomy of installation; while they may seem separate, both basins are connected. If you find your kitchen sink backing up on both sides, start by looking underneath the sink to better understand the drainage system. 

Typically, both sides of a double basin sink drain separately. Often one side drains into the garbage disposal while the other drains downward, but the two separate drains intersect at the main drainage line. This is where you may find the source of your clog.

Why Your Kitchen Sink is Clogged on Both Sides

Due to the anatomy of a double basin sink, if you find your kitchen sink clogged on both sides rather than just one side, it’s usually due to a clog in your garbage disposal or a blockage in the main drainage line.

Usually kitchen sink clogs are caused from excess food scraps, congealed oil and grease, or poor use of the garbage disposal. If you have a double basin sink, be sure to only put food down the drain with the garbage disposal to help prevent clogs from happening. 

How to Unclog a Double Kitchen Sink

If you already have a clog in your kitchen sink, then here are three ways to get it cleared up all on your own:

1. Plunge It

If you’ve found that your kitchen sink clogged up both sides, using a plunger on the drain can be enough to dislodge any small blockage. A simple plunger with a flat rim can seal over your sink’s hole to apply the necessary pressure to clear away any clogs. Don’t plunge the side of the sink with the garbage disposal since you could cause damage to it.

2. Clean the P Trap

The main drainage line and the P-trap are the most common place a clog occurs, resulting in a kitchen sink clogged up both sides. Clear out the cabinet under your sink and then place a bucket under the drains to catch any drainage that may fall. Use a wrench to remove the pipe, then check for any trapped debris. Clear any trapped debris and then replace all the piping.

3. Use a Sink Snake

If neither of these methods cleared up your double sink clog, you can try using a sink snake. Always wear gloves to protect your hands before feeding the cable down your sink and deep into your drainage line, then retreating it. Repeat the process multiple times to be sure you clear away the clog.

Sink Still Clogged?

If you’ve tried these fixes and are still dealing with a clog in your double basin sink—or even if you don’t want to go through the trouble of resolving your double sink clog on your own—feel free to give John C. Flood a call. Our experts will gladly do all the dirty work and get your sink working again.