How to Repair Your Sink

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By Alexander Hamilton

Your sink might just be one of the most critical features in your kitchen. When your sink is out of commission, your entire kitchen loses functionality, and you’ll struggle to cook, clean, and stay hygienic. Here’s everything you need to know to get things flowing smoothly again.


Common Sink Problems


Most common sink problems are easy to manage on your own.


Low Water Pressure


The aerator, a little screen covering the end of the faucet, aerates the water, as its name suggests. Over time, mineral deposits can block the screen, a common problem in areas with hard water. To fix this issue, unscrew the aerator by hand or use pliers. Gently clean the aerator by hand or soak it overnight in vinegar to remove limescale. If the screen is damaged, you can also replace it. Screw the aerator back onto the faucet, and you’re done!


If your water pressure is still low, you might have a more serious problem outside the house, and it’s time to call a plumber.


Slow Drain


A slow drain can be a nuisance whether you’re preparing food or washing dishes. Before reaching for the drain cleaner, which can corrode your pipes, check the trap. First, place a small bucket or bowl beneath the trap to catch any water that spills. Then, unscrew the two nuts holding the P-trap in position, and pull the trap straight down to remove it. Check the trap for buildup, like grease or food debris, and remove it. You can use a scrub brush to clean it, rinse it thoroughly with clean water, and replace it.


If the water continues to drain slowly, you likely need professional help to determine where the problem is and the best way to address it.




A clog can render your kitchen sink unusable. A kitchen sink plunger might just be the tool you need. If you have a double-basin sink, you’ll need to block the opposite drain before plunging. Next, create a tight seal with your sink plunger and begin plunging the sink using quick up-and-down movements without breaking the seal. Periodically, break the seal to see if the clog has cleared. When it does, the sink will drain. After the sink empties, run hot water through the drain to flush the pipes thoroughly.


Clogs aren’t always close to the drain, however, and if you cannot dislodge it with your plunger, a plumber might need to snake or auger the lines.


Jammed Garbage Disposal


Garbage disposals can be handy, but they can get jammed. Before trying to deal with a jam, cut the power at the source: Unplug it, disconnect it, or shut off the breaker. Grab a flashlight, and see if you can spot the jam. If you see an object, you can remove it as long as the power has been switched off. After the object has been removed, switch the power back on and reset the disposal. If the problem persists, call a plumber.


You can tackle most minor kitchen sink mishaps with DIY solutions, but serious problems require professional help. If a simple fix doesn’t work, call a plumber right away. Improper work can cause more problems, which can lead to more expensive repairs.


Preventing Sink Problems


Most sink problems are preventable. In the kitchen, remember to never put grease or oil down your sink drain. These will harden, build up, and clog. Use a strainer to keep small bits of food and other objects out of the drain, and clean it daily.


Similarly, run your garbage disposal with care. When you run it, remove the sink stopper and check that only food items are in the sink. Run the disposal with cold water, and leave the water running when you start the disposal. Avoid adding large amounts of food at a time, and leave the water running for 10 to 15 seconds after all the food has been ground up so that the drain line is well flushed. Grind ice or citrus periodically to freshen and clean the disposal.