Is your Kitchen Sink Clogged by a Fatberg?

Have you found that your kitchen sink is draining slowly? Maybe you have noticed that your sink gurgles and makes strange sounds when draining. Worse still, does your kitchen sink have an unpleasant smell? If you have tried many different home remedies and nothing is working your kitchen sink could be clogged by a fatberg.

blocked sink by fatberg

So, What is a Fatberg?

A fatberg is what you get when items that aren’t meant to go down your drain do. It is a hard congealed substance that can form in your sink over time. 

Typically they occur in your kitchen sink and waste disposal. This is because a fatberg is made of non-biodegradable solids. So when you pour any oils, food or accidentally get a wet wipe down your sink you might be forming a fatberg in your pipes.

What Causes a Fatberg

Often we find that fatbergs are caused by things people believe to be fine pouring down the drain. Additionally, it can be items that are flushed down your toilet too. These are the main culprits for a fatberg:

  • Cooking fats and oils
  • Makeup and wet wipes, even the ones labelled as flushable!
  • Food 
  • Cotton buds 
  • Nappies 

Anything that cannot be easily broken down and dissolved in your sewage system will lead to a fatberg over time. Therefore, our recommendation is simple. Throw items that cannot be flushed or drained into a bin, never throw them in the toilet or in your kitchen sink.

How to Remove a Fatberg 

If you want to know how to remove or dissolve a fatberg without a plumber then here are a few suggestions. 

Clearing fatbergs using boiling water

You may be surprised to know that a lot of the time boiling water is enough to unclog your drain. If it is only a minor fatberg problem you might be able to resolve it by using your own kettle. The heat will break down any congealed waste or at least loosen it a little.

You might even see good results from simply just repeating the process. If you notice each time your pour boiling water down the sink it drains faster, then it is working. However, if you cannot tell the difference move on to the next method.

Clearing fatbergs using caustic soda

You can use caustic soda with boiling water to get even better results and get rid of the same fatberg problem. 

It is important to note caustic soda is corrosive so handle it with care. We highly recommend that you wear gloves if you plan to use caustic soda

As for how to use it. Place a few teaspoons of caustic soda on your sinkhole and then pour either cold or hot water over it. It is important to note that you don’t mix other chemicals with caustic soda. So if you use this method we would wait a few hours before trying another solution.

Clearing fatbergs using drain cleaner or acid

Drain cleaners and acids come in a variety of strengths. However, if you use them take all the precautions. It is important to wear gloves, a mask and goggles. Drain cleaner contains a mixture of highly dangerous chemicals. If you use them incorrectly then you risk damaging your eyes, skin, digestive tract, kidneys and liver. Many of which can be permanent damage. So if you plan on using this keep it away from your kids and pets

Every drain cleaner should have a set of instructions on them for use. Therefore, if you follow them the job should be completely safe and you can remove much larger drain blockages. Typically the steps go something along the lines of:

  1. Dry down the sink area
  2. Pour down a specific amount of the drain cleaner directly into the sinkhole
  3. Leave for a specific amount of minutes
  4. Pour cold water slowly down the drain
  5. You can repeat steps 2-4 again as many times as you want

When you do use a drain cleaner specifically a strong one like sulfuric acid do not ignore any safety advice. Even just inhaling the fumes can be dangerous!

Clearing fatbergs using a drain rod or snake

This is a particularly useful method if you have worked out that the blockage is not budging. If the fatberg has solidified on the side of a pipe this method can really help. 

Essentially you are using a bit of force to break down the fatberg and dislodge it. By sending a drain rod down your sinkhole you physically break down the blockage. Just be careful not to apply too much force as you could damage your pipes. We also advise wearing gloves as this method can spread a lot of mess. 

If you are using a drain snake it can also pick up the blockage. Drain snakes work by slowly feeding a line down the pipes. The reason it’s called a drain snake is because of the locking and rotating system which you use when hitting angles in your pipes. By locking the length of the drain snake and then using the spinning lever it can go deeper into your pipes despite the awkward angles. You do this when you hit something hard, which typically indicates a new pipe angle. You then unlock the snake when it feels free to move again. Anything slightly soft and loose is normally a cause of a blockage and can be removed from drawing in the line. Here’s a useful step by step guide to using a drain snake if you prefer a visual approach.

How to Prevent Fatbergs

If you managed to clear out a fatberg on your own then you will want to know how to reduce the chances of it happening again. With continuous maintenance, you can prevent a fatberg from clogging your kitchen sink in the future. 

Regular drain maintenance is simple. Every week just pour a little bit of boiling water down your sink. If you drink tea or coffee just imagine you need water for one more mug then pour that down the sink. Every month you can use a little bit of caustic soda to get rid of any larger substances.

Think about the 3 P’s when using a toilet. Pee, poo and toilet paper are the only things you should flush down the toilet. Anything else goes in the bin. 

Still Unable to Remove the Fatberg?

If you have tried all these previous steps and are unsuccessful then you will want the help of experts. At First Response Drainage we employ a team of specialist blocked drain engineers. We offer a fast and efficient drainage service which starts for as little as £25.90.

We provide 24-hour support, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to London and home counties like Hertfordshire. You can get in contact with the First Response Drainage team in under an hour with no call out charge. Make sure you call us on 0800 043 4860 if you think you have a fatberg clogging your sink.