3 Quick Fixes for Common Sink Issues

An aerial view of a stainless steel sink with a faucet and drain.

Your kitchen sink is one of the most frequently used items in the room. That means if there’s a problem with it, you’ll want it fixed immediately. And while our sinks are typically durable and reliable, there are common issues that tend to arise, putting a snafu in your day—and in your dinner plans. Keep reading to learn about common kitchen sink problems, how to fix them, and when to call a professional.

1. Low Water Pressure

A faucet aerator.

When your sink's water stream loses pressure, it can turn washing the dishes into even more of a pain—and a longer one at that! A clogged aerator is usually the culprit behind this crime. A buildup of dissolved minerals like calcium in the small openings of an aerator can be at the root of this problem. Households with hard water or water that is high in mineral count are particularly susceptible to low water pressure. To solve this, remove the aerator (it's the tip of the faucet) by taking pliers and gently unscrewing it from the rest of the faucet. (Wrap your pliers in duct tape prior to use to avoid scratching the fixture.) Then, take the piece apart, separating it by component. Place the pieces in a small container filled with white vinegar for six hours or more. Remove the piece, reassemble it, and then reinstall it onto your faucet. If the aerator was the reason behind the weak stream, this should solve the problem. If the problem persists, consider calling a plumber to ensure you don’t have a pressure issue or a clogged pipe.

2. Clogging

A pair of hands on a p-trap under a sink.

A clogged kitchen sink is not something you’ll want to let linger. Sinks are equipped with a trap in the shape of the letter P, known as a p-trap, that prevents odors and sewer gases from making their way into your kitchen. You can find this under your sink, and it’s easily recognizable due to its shape. While a p-trap is quite helpful, the shape of it allows it to become filled with grease and dish soap, which can eventually lead to a clog. If you’re noticing symptoms of a clog, check the trap by placing a bucket under it, and then loosening the slip nuts with a small pipe wrench. Once it's removed, it’ll be obvious if there is a clog. To clean the clog, invest in a “hand snake,” found at your local hardware store. Push the snake into the pipe and crank the handle, which will spin the device, scraping any trapped gunk out of the pipe. Once you’re confident you’ve cleared all the debris and cleaned the p-trap, reattach it and your sink should be clog-free!

3. Rusting

A rusty sink drain.

Because sinks are used so frequently, it’s common for them to become rusty. When this begins on the outside of your sink, it’s something you’ll want to address immediately as it’s an indication that rust has already formed inside, which is not something you want to let linger since it affects the quality of your water. A rusty sink is usually caused by iron in the water, which may be the case depending on where you live or whether you have well water. To prevent this problem, use a water softener to rid your water of the dissolved iron, as well as calcium, magnesium, and lime found in hard water. When it comes to cleaning your sink, avoid using cleansers that contain bleach since it increases rust production.

Although it's a good excuse to avoid doing the dishes, when something goes wrong with your sink, you’ll want to address the issue immediately to keep your kitchen in working condition. Remember to always use caution when completing any DIY fixes or projects with your sink and always turn your water supply off before beginning work.