Why Your Sink Drain Gurgles… And 4 Easy Steps to Fix It


Does your kitchen serve as the heart of your home? Are cooking and gathering in the kitchen a pastime in your household?

If so, your kitchen sink likely gets the most use out of any other sink in your home. After all, it bears the brunt of heavy grease, food, and other waste.

With all that said, it’s no wonder you can hear your kitchen sink gurgle from time to time. But why does your kitchen sink gurgle? Is it problematic? And how can you fix it?

In this article, we’ll explore all the reasons why your kitchen sink is gurgling and what you can do about it.

That way, you never have to put cooking and socializing in the kitchen on pause due to a gurgling sink.

Understanding Why the Kitchen Sink Gurgles

When a kitchen sink starts to make gurgling sounds, more often than not, a food clog may be to blame.

Anytime a clog occurs, the air gets trapped in the pipe. As the trapped air and gas bubbles attempt to release themselves from the clog, bubbly and gurgly sounds can ensue.

Your vent pipes, which help release sewer gas, may also be to blame. Because they’re attached to the drain pipes, gas bubbles can create gurgling sounds when there is an obstruction in the adjacent vent pipes.

What can obstruct your vent pipes? It’s important to note that, although the vent pipes help release sewer gas from your plumbing system, they tend to run up into the roof. Up there, these pipes become susceptible to blockages caused by dirt, debris, and even pests.

Clearing A Slow-Draining Sink

What if your kitchen sink has always drained slowly? A slight buildup of debris is the likely culprit, and if not addressed properly, it can eventually lead to a full-blown clog.

If you notice your kitchen sink draining more slowly than usual, pour boiling water down the drain. This is a simple fix for minor buildup in the sink, but it may not be effective against tougher grime.

You should also check the garbage disposal. Chances are there may be some food and debris accumulation that you can easily clear away by turning on the garbage disposal and running hot water down the drain.

Using a plunger is a fast way to unclog smaller blockages and slow draining sinks

For a kitchen sink that continues to drain slowly, try using a standard sink plunger with a flat bottom to dislodge a stubborn clog.

Fixing A Gurgling Sink

Proper drain maintenance is essential to preventing clogs. Anything from lint and hair to gunk and grease can obstruct and clog up your pipes if they’re not regularly cleaned and maintained.  with a drain cleaner.

Choosing the right drain cleaner is a good place to start with your drain maintenance regimen. There are all types of drain cleaners on the market; some chemical-based, others not. So, which ones are most effective at preventing and fixing clogged sinks?

Chemical Drain Cleaners vs. Enzyme Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners are cheap, easy to use, and eliminate clogs faster than enzyme drain cleaners and other natural solutions. However, chemical drain cleaners can produce toxic fumes and pollutants. They can also cause long-term corrosion and damage to your home’s plumbing system if used frequently.

Unlike traditional chemical drain cleaners, enzyme drain cleaners contain bacteria that break down waste and debris and eliminate mold and mildew. Enzyme drain cleaners are also safer to use on your plumbing system; however, they are not as readily available as chemical drain cleaners, and they can also take longer to yield results.

Caution: avoid pouring bacteria killing chemicals like soap, detergent, ammonia, bleach, etc. down the sink if your home has a septic system. This will work fine on homes connected to the sewer, but these chemicals poured into a septic system will kill the bacteria responsible for breaking down solids. The result is a poisoned septic system that no longer functions. Not pretty!

There are also natural alternatives to chemical and enzyme drain cleaners. Some popular homemade drain cleaning solutions include baking soda and vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice, as well as baking soda and salt.

Baking soda in clogged drain
Baking soda and salt can help clear blockages without damaging your plumbing

Clean Your Pipes Monthly or Bi-Monthly

How often should you use a drain cleaner on your kitchen sink? The answer can vary.

Some suggest applying a drain cleaner to your kitchen sink and the rest of your plumbing pipes every one to two months. In some households, the sinks and pipes can seemingly go longer without having a thorough cleaning.

A good rule of thumb: Anytime your bathtub, kitchen sink, or any other plumbing fixture takes longer to drain, this is usually a telltale sign that a clog has started to form.

Applying a hefty dose of drain cleaner (usually half a bottle for minor clogs, or a full bottle for major clogs), letting it sit, and running hot water will normally do the trick. However, if your kitchen sink continually experiences clogs and obstructions, professional cleaning and inspection by a plumber may be necessary.

Use Drain Strainers & Run Hot Water After Each Use

A drain strainer can prevent debris from falling into your kitchen sink. You can also use drain grates, filters, and screens in your shower, as well as your bathroom or utility sinks.

It’s also a good idea to run hot water down your kitchen sink after every use. The hot water can help break and push down grime and other debris that may have accumulated while you cooked or scrubbed the dishes.

After a particularly heavy-duty cooking session, it’s beneficial to add baking soda to your kitchen sink after you’ve finished cleaning all of your dishes. Let the baking soda sit for a few minutes, and then rinse it with hot water. You can also do the same with a cup of vinegar and let it sit for up to 30 minutes before adding hot water.

Don’t Dispose of Certain Foods & Substances in Your Kitchen Sink

With a garbage disposal, you can toss anything down the kitchen sink, right?

Think again!

Grease is a big no-no when it comes to disposing of foods down your kitchen sink. Animal fat-based grease, such as bacon grease, is hard to remove and can coagulate the walls of the kitchen sink and adjacent pipes.

There’s a whole assortment of foods and items that can easily form blockages. Here are the different types of foods that can cause a kitchen sink clog:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Tea leaves
  • Rice, pasta, & other starches
  • High-fiber foods with skin (artichokes, apples, corn husks, etc.)

Even if you run hot water down the drain after disposing of these foods, small amounts of them can accumulate over time and create a nasty clog, so it’s better to toss them into the garbage before washing the dishes.

Wrapping Up

If your kitchen sink is currently making gurgling sounds, now is the time to take swift action and fix the issue before larger plumbing problems arise.

Which of these methods will you use to prevent and fix a gurgling kitchen sink? Let us know how they go and tell us about your experience!

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more