I have a clogged kitchen sink (single bin with garbage disposal). When you run the garbage disposal, it drains the sink but when I turn it off, the water comes back up and fills the sink.

I tried:

  1. plunger
  2. vinegar and baking soda rinse
  3. boiling water
  4. p-trap wasn’t clogged
  5. Rigid Powerspin auger (no gunk or residue was on the cable when I reeled it back)
  6. instant power hair & grease drain cleaner & hot water (2x)

Any other ideas at this point?

  • 1
    slab on grade, kitchen on slab? how many feet of auger did you push? Mar 29, 2022 at 6:16
  • What do you mean by slab? I did 25ft. I’m a newbie who just googled stuff. Our kitchen is 2nd story of a townhome. Mar 29, 2022 at 7:09
  • 1
    "Slab" - no basement/crawlspace, just a slab of concrete on the ground.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 29, 2022 at 11:39
  • Yeah no basement. Mar 29, 2022 at 14:39

4 Answers 4


So the key point in your question is this:

...but when I turn it off, the water comes back up and fills the sink

Where is that water going? Well, the disposal works like a pump and pushes the water out. Since there is a clog somewhere the water is likely being pushed up a vent line or perhaps another drain line in your home.

Once you shut off the disposal the pumping stops and gravity pulls the water down out of the vent line and back into your sink.

So where is the clog? It's BEYOND the vent line. Where is the vent line? Hard to say for sure since these are often buried in the wall.

How do you fix it? You're going to need a drain snake/auger to feed into the drain line until it gets to the clog and dislodge or remove it. It may be too far into the drain to get at it with an inexpensive hardware store drain auger. In other words, you may need to call a plumber who has the appropriate equipment to find the blockage and remove it.

  • 2
    It's also possible that the auger is going up the vent rather than down the drain.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 29, 2022 at 12:58
  • Indeed. That's the value of a professional drain snake/auger that has a TV output. The plumber can see what's going on and act accordingly.
    – jwh20
    Mar 29, 2022 at 13:01
  • 1
    There's always the vanishingly small chance that the vent for the sink is a stack pipe that exits through the roof. That could provide another opportunity to explore what is happening and, perhaps, clear the blockage. Or to plunge (Sorry.) off the roof.
    – HABO
    Mar 29, 2022 at 14:22
  • imgur.com/a/MvvBlwN This isn’t it is it? Mar 29, 2022 at 16:25
  • 1
    @getrichordiediying More like this. (Source.) Since it is supposed to vent sewer gases out and relieve vacuums in the drain lines in the building it wouldn't exit from the side of a building where the gases may waft over to a window.
    – HABO
    Mar 29, 2022 at 19:21

I removed mine by using my air compressor with a tire inflator gun. Slowly build up the pressure and out came a cup of shredded chicken that must have got siphoned into the hose a few feet.


You're washing dishes, and suddenly, the water starts creeping back up in your kitchen sink. It's a common headache that many homeowners face, and understanding the reasons behind it is crucial. Let's delve into the possible causes, easy DIY solutions, and when it's time to call in the professionals.

Possible Causes

Grease and Food Buildup

Ever wonder where that lost teaspoon of cooking oil goes? Over time, grease and food particles can accumulate in your pipes, causing a slow drain and ultimately leading to water backup.

Impact on drainage: The buildup restricts water flow, leading to water pooling in the sink.

Blocked or Clogged Pipes

Pipes can become blocked due to various reasons, such as hair, soap scum, or foreign objects finding their way into the plumbing.

Identifying signs of blockage: Look out for slow drainage, gurgling sounds, or unpleasant odors emanating from the sink.

Issues with the Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal can be a source of trouble. Malfunctions or misuse can result in a backup.

Common malfunctions: Jammed blades or a malfunctioning motor can impede the disposal process.

Faulty Plumbing Vent

The plumbing vent plays a crucial role in maintaining proper pressure within the pipes. A malfunction can disrupt drainage.

Its role: The vent allows air to enter the pipes, preventing a vacuum that hinders water flow.

  • This feels like it was copied from a web site somewhere. If so, that's perfectly acceptable, just give credit where credit is due. If not, my apologies.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 17, 2023 at 17:19
  • Feels like chatgpt to me. Nov 18, 2023 at 0:21

If you put leafy greens like lettuce or cabbage into the disposal they will many times clog the discharge piping. You should remove the discharge piping and look there for a partial plug. Every time my wife put that stuff down the disposal the discharge piping plugged.

  • I don't know why someone down voted my answer when what I wrote does actually happens. My answer is from an actual experience and not just a guess. If you don't want answers that are from actual experiences then I should just delete your site and let the other "great minds" with some very weird answers control this site. I can't wait for someone to comment
    – d.george
    Mar 29, 2022 at 18:46

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