How to Unclog a Sink Clogged with Coffee Grounds
The coffee connoisseurs out there will know that nothing tastes as good as a freshly ground, freshly brewed, hot cup of coffee. It’s how many of us choose to start our day, and for real coffee lovers, instant coffee just does not cut it.
Our pipes and electric garbage disposal units are, however, a different story. While both can handle the majority of kitchen waste and scraps with ease, they hate coffee grounds, which people often put down the drain, innocently assuming that the fine texture and consistency will pass through their system with ease.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. The opposite is true.
It’s the fine, loose, consistency that is actually the root of the issue and will lead to clogged drains. Once in your pipes, the coffee grounds can either create an obstruction on their own or stick to whatever else is already in your pipes and make the problem a lot worse. Not good.
It is, of course, good practice to not put coffee grounds down your sink, but if you have, don’t worry, you don’t need a new sink – although here is an awesome list if you are interested.
It’s not the end of the world, and if you follow the steps outlined below, you should have your pipes clean and flowing freely in next to no time. It’s not a complicated process, but it will require a little bit of elbow grease, a plunger, and a few other bits and pieces, you’re likely to have around the house.
Ready? Let’s get to work!
The first thing you’re going to want to do is clear your basin of any existing debris and then fill the sink to about a quarter full. Just enough water so that it will cover the cup of your plunger. If you have a double sink, don’t plunge right away, or you’re libel to cover yourself and your kitchen in water. Instead, move on to step two.
You need to seal the drain of the opposing sink if you have one. You can do this with a metal or a plastic stop. Or stuff it with a cotton towel or dishcloth, either will do the job and ensure you create a good seal for plunging and don’t spray water everywhere. This is important, if you skip this part, you won’t be able to create a vacuum for your plunger, and your drain won’t be cleared.
Here comes the fun part. Time the plunge that drain as if your life depends on it. Think of this as an impromptu workout; give it your all. Make sure you keep a tight seal around the mouth of the drain. Pushing up and down, fifteen to twenty times, or until the pipes begin to clear.
If you’re lucky, that’s all you need to do, but often, coffee grounds can be a little more tricky to get rid of. So if the above didn’t clear your blockage, or you just want to give your pipes a more thorough cleaning, to make sure nothing else is going on, move on to the next step.
Cleaning out the P-trap is not as daunting as it sounds. It’s ever so slightly more advanced than plunging, and you managed that okay, right? It’s a breeze, and we’re here to walk you through it anyway.
Make your way under the sink and remove any bits and bobs you’ve got under there to make your job easier. If it’s dark, grab your phone or a flashlight so that you can see what you’re doing. Now, you’re going to need to find a U-shaped pipe, found it?
That’s what is referred to in the plumbing industry as a “P-Trap.” That’s what we’re going to be working on to get your pipes flowing again, but this can get a little bit messy, so grab gloves and a bucket, and we can move on to the next step.
What you’ll need to do next will require a bit of strength at best, or a pipe wrench at worst. With your bucket underneath the P-Trap (important), turn the nuts counter-clockwise until you feel them start to loosen up. Some water may begin to leak out at this stage, but don’t worry, it’s entirely normal for water to sit in this part of the drain when you have a blockage.
Now you’re going to need to remove the P-Trap. Pull the trap away from the attached piping and get yourself out of the way, as any debris and standing water will fall into the bucket you positioned below. If you missed the bucket step, you will now need a mop and a few more minutes before continuing!
For everyone else, you can now move on to the next step.
Reach into the trap and remove any gunk and coffee grounds you find in there and put them in the trash. Next, run your trap under some warm running water, not from the sink you’re working on, unless your bucket is still in place, and make sure it’s all clean inside and out. While the trap is removed, take a peep in the exposed piping with your phone or light to make sure there aren’t any further blockages. If it all looks good, you can then move on to the next and final step.
Now you need to reattach the P-Trap. The threading can wear on these pretty quickly, so make sure you have it all lined up correctly before you begin to screw it back in, to avoid any accidents and possibly having to replace the trap.
Make sure it’s good and tight and give it all a good once over before running the faucet above. Let it run a few minutes or just long enough to ensure that the blockage has been completely cleared. Now you’re good to go and have a hot, freshly brewed coffee.
Just make sure to put those coffee grounds in the trash next time.