Why Is Your Sink Gurgling When It Drains?

If you're used to water draining out of your sink quietly, then gurgling noises will make you stop and think. If you can hear gurgling through the drain, then this is a sign that you have a problem. Why does this happen and what can you do about it?

Why Sinks Gurgle

Gurgling sinks typically have some kind of blockage in them. The water you drain away should be able to run through your pipes freely; however, if it gurgles as it goes, then it is coming up against an obstruction somewhere in your system.

The noises you hear here are usually down to air that is trapped in the obstructed area. As water drains away, it sucks the air in. When this happens, the air makes these noises which you hear through your drain.

In some cases, sinks gurgle because they have a build-up of materials in them. For example, a kitchen sink may have some grease, oil or food particles in its pipes that aren't flushing away. Or, if you hear gurgling from a bathroom sink, it might be clogged with soap scum or hair.

Sometimes, a sink or sinks will gurgle because a sewer or vent pipe has a blockage. For example, vent pipes, which are there to remove fumes from water waste, sometimes get blockages in them which make noises through your plumbing system.

How to Fix Gurgling Sinks

If you have a simple part blockage, say if your kitchen sink is a bit greased up, then you might be able to get rid of the gurgling sounds by cleaning out the pipe. You can use chemical cleaners for this or plumber's tools like augurs and snakes. Homemade cleaners, like baking soda and vinegar mixes, also sometimes deal with smaller blockages.

If cleaning out the drain doesn't work, then you may have a bigger problem on your hands. For example, you might not be able to reach a bigger or more solid clog that is further down your system.

Or, if you have a problem in your sewer or vent pipe, then regular cleaners aren't likely to affect the blockage. They won't have the reach.

If you think you have this kind of problem or can't unclog the sink yourself, then you need to call a plumber. They can check your system for you, find the source of the problem and then fix it before the damage gets any worse.