Why Is My RV Sink Not Draining? (How to Unclog RV Sink)

The biggest change you may experience will be buying an RV or travel trailer and exploring the nation. Once inside those RVs, you may notice that the change did not happen everywhere. You still have to unplug drains when they get clogged.

Why is my RV sink not draining? The first possible reason is that you do not have a garbage disposal under the sink and large food items went down the drain instead of into the trash can. A good plumber’s snake will take care o that problem quickly.

To learn more about unclogging RV sink drains just continue to read our article. it explores the issue bringing you all the information you should know. Unclogging drains is a messy job at times but someone has to do it.

Why Is My RV Sink Not Draining?


Let’s start with the most common problem that may cause this. There may be a valve on the drain lines to the gray water or black water tanks that were not opened. This design may not be on all RVs or travel trailers but it is worth exploring.

With so many valves underneath the vehicles, it is easy to understand why someone would forget to open that particular one up and let the water flow. But that is not the only reason why an RV sink won’t drain.

This is one of the mysteries of RV life. Some people think that moving into an RV will relieve them of the same issues they hated when they were living in their traditional house.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the same sink issues you face in your home will be around in your RV. The causes for these same issues will be the same. For your kitchen sink, it can be large food items, or utensils, or other objects that accidentally get tossed down the drain.

Since the drain lines are small, they can clog up faster. It will take the same plumbing skills you used at home to clear the drain of these items. For the bathroom, it can be soap, hair, or other bathroom items that mistakenly go down the drain and stop before they hit the holding tanks.

Clearing these drains can be a little tougher as the access parts are either under the cabinet or under the RV or travel trailer. The care you took to keep your home’s drains clear is the same care you need to use in your RV or travel trailer.

What Can I Use To Unclog My Kitchen Sink In My RV?

The first solution would be manual labor. You will either have to use a pair of tongs, needle-nose pliers, or tweezers to get the hair out of the shower drain. It is not fun work but those are the best options.

For the bathroom and kitchen sinks, removing the P trap will be the best option. Make sure to have paper and towels lying on the floors to protect the cabinets and floor from any spilled water.

With the P trap removed, you can stick a long enough object inside to push the clog out. Then just simply place the P trap back where you got it and do not forget to tighten it up securely.

Other solutions would include using baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. The first two ingredients will create a chemical reaction that should eat away at the clog and the hot water should be able to push it down to the holding tank.

Or you can use a plunger to use pressure to force the clog to the holding tanks. The drawback to this option is that many RV and travel trailers drain pipes cannot handle a lot of pressure. use this method with care.

A better option would be the plumber’s snake as long as its length is long enough to get the clog wherever it may be. Just be careful not to cut the sides of the drainpipe with any sharp edges that may be on the snake.

These are the best non-commercial drain cleaners you can use. We will get to the commercial methods in the next section.

Can I Use Drano In My RV Sink?

This is an interesting question as Drano has been used to unclog traditional home drains for decades. It has been a successful commercial drain cleaner over that time period. Plus, it is not that expensive to use.

However, there is a problem with using this solution in an RV or travel trailer. Drano is classified as a caustic chemical and the ingredients in that commercial product can damage the seals and the holding tanks on your RV.

Bleach is not good either for the same reason. There are some good commercial products that clear your drain that are safe for you to use in those weaker RV pipes. Liquid Plumber is one as it is not a caustic chemical product.

Then some experts say to use Calgon water softener combined with dishwashing soap. These two products together are said to help clean out those clogs without damaging your disposal system.

Some people have stated that you should not use boiling water with the clog still in place. The clog will block the hot water from moving and the heat from the water can melt those softer RV drain pipes.

Finally, if all of these solutions are not working for you, you can buy a flush valve that should do the trick. There are several models on the market and they are said to be effective. The flush king or a wand-style rinser are good options.

How To Unclog RV Sink

This will depend on where the clog is located. If the clog is in your P trap, then all you have to do is get the right pair of pliers or wrenches and loosen the connectors. Before you pull the trap off, place an empty bucket underneath to capture the water that will come out of the drain.

With the bucket in place, pull the P trap off and get a nice long, strong tool and poke it into the trap’s opening. The clog should come out with a little prompting but not much. Make sure to do this step over the bucket so you do not create a mess on the floor of your kitchen or bathroom.

If the clog is in the shower drain, you would need long thin tongs, long pair of tweezers, or needle-nose pliers to reach the hair and other items blocking the water flow. This will take some time unless you are lucky, the whole clog will come out at once.

Then, the kitchen sink will be similar to unclogging the bathroom sink. The lone exception will be that you will have more room to work. Again, make sure to have the bucket in position when you remove the P trap.

If the clog is not at that location, but further down the line, you can try using a plunger. But the pressure needed for the plunger to be effective may be too much for the drain line. It is best to go with the better option, the plumber’s snake.

The plumber’s snake is probably the foolproof method to use. That is if the one you buy is strong and sturdy. Those weaker more flexible ones just won’t do if the clog is very tough.

Why Is My RV Sink Leaking?


Like the clog drain lines, there are many issues that are the source of this problem. These sources will be the same for both the kitchen and bathroom sinks. The first reason would be that the rubber or plastic washers have worn out or have been damaged in some way.

When you are parked and have turned the faucets off, unless you stop the water supply from the outside source, the pressure is going to remain on those faucets. This pressure can cause the washers to get damaged or wear out. When they do, they may leak.

The leak will start off small but as the washer wears out even more, it will grow if you do nothing about it. Water leaks are not something you can delay in repairing. The leaking water can cause more damage to the cabinet, your flooring, and even your rugs or carpet.

It is best to replace those washers and that is the only solution to this problem.

Another source for a leaking sink may be a bit lower and in the waterline. RV pipes are not the strongest in the world and if something sharp or heavy knocks up against them, a hole can be created.

When you turn the water on, that hole lets water out and ruins that area of your RV. Replacement or duck tape is your only solution when this happens. If you have a leak in the sink area itself, it could be that the caulking seal under the sink got a hole in it.

Water will travel following the easiest path and when it finds that hole, it will go through it. Then you end up with wet items underneath the sink including the cabinet floor or whatever is there.

To fix this problem, you can just do a spot repair with more caulk, or simply remove all the caulking and replace it with new. If you do this option, you would have to take the sink off which means taking off the drain pipes, the water lines, and the holders underneath the sink.

Why Does My RV Sink Smell Like Rotten Eggs?


You can blame the black water tank if you want but that may not be the source of the odor. it can be the source the black water tank does not have a monopoly on spoiled rotten egg smells. Make sure none of your eggs spoiled during your journey but those are not usually the source, either.

While leaks in the sewage system can create this smell, and often does, it may not be the source either. Double-check to make sure there are no leaks in the system or in your holding tanks.

Then the source could be the air conditioning unit sucking up fumes and distributing them throughout your RV. Possible bur more likely a rare source. When you have eliminated all possible logical sources, there will still be one source that you may have overlooked.

Check your anti-siphon trap vent device that is under your sink. The spring that holds the seal in place and blocks fumes from coming up through your drain can wear out. When it does, the seal can’t work like it is supposed to.

To stop the problem you will either have to replace the spring or the complete anti-siphon trap vent device. The drawback to replacing the device is that it may be out of stock everywhere you look. You may be stuck with the odor for a few days until you can find a store that has them in stock.

Unclogging The Items No One Wants To Unclog


There will be times when your toilet and black water tank will clog up. With the toilet, the plumber’s snake or the plunger will be your best tools. As long as your stomach holds out.

The black water tank will have to be unclogged from the outlet valve in reverse. That means hooking up a sprayer and shooting water back into your tank.

Some Final Words

Unclogging sinks and toilets in RVs are the same as it is when you live in your traditional home. They will occur and it is best to be prepared with the information given above so you are ready when it happens to you. Just don’t use caustic solutions.

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