If you’re wondering why your kitchen sink is not draining, draining slowly, or giving off an odor, you may have a clogged drain. If a blockage is allowed to build up, it can lead to burst pipes and a call to professional plumbing repair services for help. Below are some common causes of clogged kitchen sink drinks. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact Root Shark Plumbing.

1. Grease, Oil, and Fat

While it may seem convenient to dump leftover grease down your sink drain once you’ve finished cooking, pouring grease doing so is far more hazardous than people realize. Grease and cooking oil can cause extensive damage to your drainage system, garbage system, and even sewer system by contributing to blockages. The improper disposal of fats, oils, and grease results in total blockage in your pipes. The grease in butter, margarine, meat fats, lard, shortening, vegetable oil, sauces, and salad dressings can cause dangerous buildup as they thicken and combine with other oil particles in the pipes. If a backup happens, it can restrict water flow throughout your home and prevent your pipes from draining properly.

2. Starches

Starches fed into a garbage disposal can clog a drain. Common starches include
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Noodles
  • Brea
After being mashed up by the disposal, water is added as it is rinsed down the drain and travels down the pipe, these starchy foods can turn into a paste and expand to clog and block any water from flowing past. If you’re peeling more than one or two potatoes, don’t grind all the peelings in the disposal.   Instead, throw the peelings in the garbage can or a backyard compost heap.  If your drain is getting slow or clogged because of an excess amount of starchy foods, use an enzyme cleaner to break down the food particles. Enzyme cleaners are especially important to homes with septic tanks too, so incorporate regular enzyme products into your tank’s maintenance.

3. Soap Scum

Soap scum is the solid white residue that clings to bathtubs, shower stalls, drains, and pipes. It forms when soap and mineral-containing water mix together. When the minerals in hard water react with the fatty acids in soap, they create lime soap, otherwise known as soap scum. Scum builds up over time, attracting mildew and mold. The scum is a nuisance because it can clog your drain. You can clean soap scum from your drains in several ways. Use one of the following methods about once a week. If you clean regularly, you’ll remove scum before it becomes clogged.

Hot Water

Boil water and pour it down the drain. This simple action will melt soap scum clinging to the pipes. Followed by running hot water for a few minutes. 

Baking Soda

Mix baking soda and water in a measuring cup and pour it down the drain. Use the ratio of 1 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 gallon of water on the first attempt. If that doesn’t work, increase it to 1 teaspoon per 1 quart of water. The mixture will quickly eat through soap scum. Baking soda deodorizes the drain in addition to keeping it clean.


If hot water didn’t do the trick, pour ammonia down the drain. Then, pour more boiling water. Flush by running hot water. This method may work if your drain is slow because of scum. Be sure to run the fan and open a window.

4. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds clump together in water rather than breaking down. With time, the grounds can build up inside your sink drains, creating clogs that can prohibit the drains from doing their job. Coffee grounds often contribute to drain clogs, especially in the kitchen. They stick to the buildup of congealed grease and other organic materials that go down the kitchen sink drain pipe. Avoid putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal too. Apart from causing drainage clogs, coffee grounds are a major cause of disposal clogs and jammed garbage disposal systems. However, if you accidentally dump ground coffee beans down the kitchen sink disposal, make sure you run enough water to wash them down.

5. Sewer Line Backup

A sewer backup occurs when wastewater doesn’t properly drain away from your home due to an obstruction or damage. This problem commonly occurs in the main sewer line that connects the house to the city sewers. A sewer backup can occur for numerous reasons, such as foreign object blockage, grease or soap blockage, or damaged lines. Some of the main causes of sewer line backup include
  • Hardened grease
  • Hair
  • Feminine hygiene products and baby wipes
  • Extra-thick toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and facial tissues
  • Dental floss and cotton swabs
  • Products labeled non-flushable
When the sewer line backs up, it causes a backup throughout the entire plumbing system because the water and waste have nowhere else to go. Something that may seem as simple as a kitchen drain backup could actually be a major sewer system problem. 

6. Your Appliances

Appliances can have an effect on your kitchen drain. For instance, your dishwasher and kitchen sink both drain through the same pipe. When your dishwasher discharges water, it is possible for the water to come up from the kitchen sink. To clean dishes effectively, the dishwasher pushes out a lot of water at once. Since your pipes may not be able to handle this high volume of water, some of it goes back up the sink.  Have you noticed that water backs up into your kitchen sink only when the washing machine runs? If so, there is a good chance that the blockage originates from your washing machine pipe. Unblocking this pipe can prove to be tricky, as you will need enough force to dislodge the clog. Contact a plumbing service to ensure that you unclog the pipe without harming any plumbing components.

Schedule Drain Cleaning in Chatsworth, California

Have you noticed a slow drain in your kitchen sink? If so, call the professionals at Rooter Shark Plumbing. We offer complete drain cleaning in Chatsworth, California. Fill out our contact form or call us to schedule a plumbing assessment for your home.