Why is My Kitchen Sink Gurgling

Why is your stainless steel kitchen sink gurgling? How to fix a gurgling kitchen sink? In general, there are two main culprits when it comes to kitchen sink gurgling: the drain, or the vent. A block/clog in either of these can trap air bubbles. When water runs through that part, the bubbles gurgle. Annoying, isn’t it?

You may tend to ignore your sink gurgling at first. But if you let it go, it can grow into a bigger, more money and time-consuming problem.

That is because a clog can have a snowball effect on the waste coming through the drain, and completely block out the passage. Or worse, in a vent block, it can lead to poisonous gases from the sewer spilling out into your kitchen. 

(Foul smell associated with the gurgling indicates it is time you do something about this gurgling issue immediately.)

So what can you really do about it?

A lot of things to do to fix a gurgling kitchen sink actually. The first step to successfully fixing the gurgling issue is to get to the root of the problem.

4 Reasons and Solutions for Gurgling Kitchen Sink:

While it may be either a drain problem or a vent problem, there could also be complications that require specific solutions. So, it is important to figure out exactly what is causing the gurgling sound.

Fortunately, there are litmus tests to figure out what might be causing the nasty.

1. Clogged Drain

Most often than not, you will see that the problem starts with a clogged drain. And no wonder. How many hits of food waste and other stuff does your outdoor kitchen sink has to deal with every day?

Even if there is garbage disposal working, small particles of food and other waste will escape down the drain, and mixed with oil, will form clogs.

A small clog somewhere there is a bend in the pipe (like the P-trap) may hoard air bubbles around it, causing water to gurgle when it runs around it.

The way to check whether it is really a clogged drain is this: when you run water it may fill up the sink and then drain out slowly, causing air bubbles to come out.

If that happens, there are a couple of things you can do.

Solution 1:

Get your hands on a quality sink strainer with an anti-clogging shield to keep food debris and other junk out of the pipe’s way.

Solution 2:

Firstly, run hot water for a few minutes. But sometimes, the clog is so big that the sink starts to flood, so running water may not be an option anymore.

Solution 3:

So, the easiest and quickest fix is to open the P-trap. But wait, let’s read the instructions first.

The P-trap is the U-shaped bend directly under your sink, connecting to the drainage and the vent pipe. This part of the drain keeps some water in it. This water keeps any sort of fumes/foul-smelling gas from wafting up the drain or the vent pipe into the kitchen.

So once you have found the P-trap, push a bucket under it to collect this water when you open it up. Water will pour down, count on it, and so will some waste that was trapped in the U-bend.

If you had lost something precious down the kitchen sink once upon a time, this is the time to dig for it in the P-trap. See, that is its purpose: trap anything solid that may fall down the sink. This is also why it is probable that the clog was formed in the P-trap.

Clean out the P-trap with a brush or a wire hanger, whichever is handy. Once you have replaced the P-trap, hopefully, the gurgling sound has stopped. Run water to check it.

If gurgling persists, then we turn to the vent pipe.

2. Blocked Vent Pipe

This problem does not happen as often as the drainage blocks, but it’s still a possibility.

Sometimes, the vent isn’t installed properly. It happens. If your drain is the standard 1.5 inches, then the vent should be installed 3.5 feet from the lower part of the trap. If not, bring in an expert to realign the vent pipe.

If the alignment is correct and you still notice a blockage in the vent pipe, here are some possible reasons:

Since the vent opens on the roof, a small bird might have built a nest there. Or something like leaves or windblown seeds could have fallen down the pipes, and are clogging it.

Thus, the air pressure inside the vent goes up, and the foul-smelling drainage gas pushes against the water in the P-trap. This water was supposed to block the fumes from the drain, but can’t do it anymore because of increased pressure.

So, in the end, the kitchen sink gurgles and stinks. Here are some possible ways to fix the issue:

Solution 1:

Simply clear out the vent pipe. You may want to rent a sewer auger for this. Make sure that the auger reaches all the way down to the sewer. Then force high-pressure water down the vent, and thus flush out the main vent in your home system.

This should clear out the gurgling. What if it doesn’t? Well, there are a couple more reasons why your kitchen sink may be producing that awful sound and smell.

Solution 2 (applicable when the vent is actually an air admittance valve):

Nowadays, instead of venting the main pipes, a small thingy called an air admittance valve is installed right after the P-trap.

If this valve is clogged or broken, then too, the sink will gurgle. Fortunately, it is very easy to fix. You unscrew the air admittance valve by hand and replace it!

3. Sink Clog Past the P-Trap

If the above-mentioned reasons don’t explain why your sink is gurgling like a remorseful frog, the drain might be clogged past the P-Trap. It’s more common than you think. Assuming the clog begins really far into the line, you can use the following method to unclog the trap-


Here, you can opt for chemical solutions. Before going all out and buying acids, let’s open the kitchen cabinets and take out these two things: vinegar and baking soda. 

Lot’s of it, mind you. If you have run out, well, then run out to the grocery store and buy some. You need about 180gm of baking soda at the first try itself.

Pour that baking soda down the drain (through the kitchen sink), followed by a cup of boiling hot water. The trick is to imagine nastiness washing away with the mixture of baking soda and water so that you know to pour them both one after the other in quick succession.

Wait for a little while and then get more baking soda. This time, it is to be followed by a cup of vinegar, so do them in quick succession again.

The kitchen drain might begin to froth around its mouth, but let’s plug it in and wait a few minutes. Then pour more hot water, continuously. Hopefully, that awful clot is cleared away now. If your kitchen still gurgles, then maybe the whole drainage system is in trouble.

4. The Whole Drainage Is in Trouble

Even after doing all this, the gurgling sound persists and there is a foul smell wafting up the sink, the whole drainage system might be in trouble.

Check to see whether the same is true for other utilities like the toilets. If yes, then it is time.


As much as it pains me to say this, at this stage, there is really nothing you can do yourself unless you are an expert. That is the hard truth. There is no deferring it anymore: call the plumbers.

Wrap Up

Despite the dire note on which the last point ends, a gurgling kitchen sink isn’t often that big a deal. Usually, it is just a classic case of a block in either the drain or the pipe.

Remember always that, more often than not, such problems are flushed out by running hot water for a few minutes. That should be your foremost step when the kitchen sink is acting up. Then, check and clean the P-trap before anything else.

Updating yourself with these tricks and tips not only makes you more self-reliant or saves you from sudden accidents: the most important benefit of knowing such stuff is that it saves you money.

That’s pretty much it for this segment. Hope at least one of our hacks has fixed the gurgling kitchen sink.

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