Food put down a sink drain can quickly cause a clogged pipe, especially if the sink lacks a garbage disposal. Foods like pasta can tangle up the blades of a disposal and then harden in the pipes, causing a clog. Water can cause the pasta to swell, which further blocks the pipe. There are a few methods you can use to dissolve pasta in your sink drain without having to open the pipes or call a plumber.
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Fixing a Clogged Drain Pipe
To fix a sink that is clogged with pasta, you can take several approaches. The first relies on hot water and dissolution of the pasta. Begin by turning on the sink faucet to hot, and let it run down the drain for a few minutes.
Then, boil a few pots of hot water, and pour it into a larger pot or heavy cleaning bucket. Mix 1/4 cup of dish detergent into one to two gallons of boiling water.
Carefully and slowly pour the boiling water mixture directly down the drain. Run more hot tap water down the drain. Look down into the drain; you may need a flashlight to light up the drain and see clearly. Look for pasta still in the drain, a sign of a possible remaining clog. In addition, if the water continues to drain slowly, the clog likely remains.
Continued Problems With Clogs
If the clog remains, measure 1/2 cup of baking soda, and pour it down the drain. Measure 1/2 cup of vinegar, and pour it down the drain as well. Immediately cover the drain opening with the sink drain stopper. You may hear noise or bubbling, which is normal. The noise and bubbling is due to the vinegar and baking soda combining carbonic acid. This acid then breaks down into CO2 gases, which causes the bubbling and noises.
Allow the baking soda and vinegar mixture to sit in the drain for a few minutes. Slowly uncover the drain, and run more hot water down the drain. Repeat as needed to fully dissolve the pasta.
Using a Garbage Disposal
If your kitchen sink has a garbage disposal, run it a few times while running hot water down the drain. If you sink lacks a garbage disposal, put a straining drain cover over the drain. This allows water to flow through but traps food and waste.
Important Safety Considerations
When attempting to clear a clog in your sink, it's critical to observe certain safety precautions. First, do not stick metal objects or your hands down into the drain, especially in the case of those with garbage disposals. This can be extremely dangerous and could result in serious injury.
Chemicals are also a concern, particularly since you are working in your kitchen. Any chemicals that you use should not come into contact with food or surfaces you will eat off. Additionally, never mix chemical drain cleaners with the baking soda and vinegar mixture, if you've used it. This can cause dangerous reactions.
Generally speaking, it's best to perform this sort of drain cleaning when children and pets are situated elsewhere, just in case of overwhelming chemical fumes.
Maxwell Payne has been a freelance writer since 2007. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in integrated science, business and technology.