Having a gurgling sink is not only annoying to hear, but it may also cause you to wonder if there’s a bigger issue at hand.
You turn off the water and there it is again – that strange, gurgle noise that sounds like it’s coming from somewhere deep inside your sink’s pipes.
You can’t figure out what it is, what’s causing it, or if it means something is going on that’s worse than just an odd sound.
In order to fix a gurgling kitchen sink, you’ll need to follow establish the root cause and where it’s coming from, figure out what you will need to do to fix it, and then decide when you should call for help
A clogged sink doesn’t mean disaster is lurking, and it may be something that you can solve on your own.
That said, make sure you follow these steps and have the proper tools and materials so you don’t end up with a bigger issue on your hands.
Some plumbing issues are straightforward to repair. Others may need the help of a professional plumber.
I like tackling home repairs, but always do tons of research before I start to make sure I’m not in over my head.
Let’s take a closer look at the above steps and see if you can rid your sink of that gurgle once and for all.
How to Fix a Gurgling Kitchen Sink
When you hear a gurgling kitchen sink, it may make you wonder if something (potentially expensive!) is going on in your pipes.
A gurgling sound simply means something is blocking the kitchen drain and it’s making it difficult for the water to pass.
The “gurgle” noise you hear is actually air bubbles that are created as a result of that blockage.
Most drain blockages are no big deal. In a kitchen sink, the blockage is usually a result of something getting stuck and not being able to move through the rest of the pipe.
Clearing the blockage is normal and pretty strait-forward.
What’s the Root Cause?
Most sink blockages are going to be caused by one of two different things.
Figuring out which is causing the gurgling in your sink will go a long way toward you knowing what you’re going to need to do to fix it.
Most sink gurgling sounds come from something you put down the drain. When you wash your dishes, small pieces of food particles wash off and adhere to your pipes.
Over time, these may build up and result in a blockage, which then causes that gurgling sound.
Another cause can be larger items getting stuck. Egg shells, small fragments of bones, oils, and grease will all contribute to an eventual blockage and the subsequent air bubbles that will make that gurgling sound.
Another way you can get something stuck in your sink is if something gets into your pipes from the outside of your home and blocks a vent pipe.
These pipes run from your house to your roof and help eliminate sewer gas from your home.
If something gets into the vent pipe – such as leaves, bird or squirrel droppings, or storm debris, you will hear a gurgling noise that will let you know that sewer gas is getting trapped in your pipe.
Both of these blockages come from different sources – one interior and one exterior – but they will both result in you knowing that the gurgling you hear means something is blocking off airflow and your pipe’s ability to clear itself out appropriately.
Now, How Do I Fix It?
Once you’ve figured out what the root cause of your gurgling is, you can start a game plan to get rid of the problem.
Like I mentioned earlier, most blockages are going to be able to be fixed pretty easily, and won’t require much more than you following some basic directions.
If Your Blockage is Food-Related
If you’ve determined that the blockage has happened from your end – meaning, some sort of food debris is causing the problem – there are two main solutions to try.
First, pour a ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Wait a minute, then pour 1 cup of white vinegar down the same spot.
You will see a foam begin to appear from down inside the drain. After 5 minutes or so, run some very hot water down the drain.
If the blockage was food-related and not too significant, the mixture should clear it up and your gurgle should be gone.
If Your Blockage is Not Food-Related
If you’ve tried the above with no success, your gurgling problem may be coming from outside, not within.
A blocked vent pipe will not allow sewer gas to escape properly and will result in that funny, gurgling noise you hear. If nothing seems to be stuck in your sink, the vent pipe is probably the problem.
Most vent pipes are located back behind the sink, sometimes even behind the cabinetry.
If you can locate the pipe and gain access to it, a plumber’s snake is going to work best to reach this type of clog, as they tend to be more cumbersome than food waste clogs that are located close to the sink.
For those who are especially handy (and agile!) climbing on the root and sticking the snake down the pipe from up top can also be a viable solution.
After you’ve located and dislodged the clog, you can run water from your garden hose into it to clear away any last debris.
When Do I Call For Help?
Some problems can’t be done alone.
Knowing when to call in the experts will save you time, your sanity, and maybe even money if doing-it-yourself results in bigger issues down the line.
Trying a few tricks of the trade before you call a professional makes sense, especially if you are not the type to shy away from projects like cleaning out clogs.
But – if you decide the problem is bigger than what you can or feel comfortable tackling, a reputable plumber is going to be worth their weight in gold.
Not only can they determine the problem and what is the best solution, but oftentimes they will have the tools that you don’t. And that alone will be worth the phone call.
Summing Up Fixing the Kitchen Sink
There can be a few causes as to why your kitchen sink might be gurgling, and most of them are generally food-related. These, thankfully, are easy to fix and don’t usually require you to call in a professional!
If it’s something else, like a problem with the pipe itself or the vent pipe outside – then it might be time to call in the professionals instead of trying to DIY.