6 Ways to Clean Overflow Holes in a Sink Like a Pro

How To Clean Overflow Hole In a Sink
  • Author: Amanda Arnold
  • Posted On: January 6, 2022
  • Updated On: November 14, 2023

Have you noticed a small hole at the top of the sink that some people call a water point?

Well, this is the overflow hole in a sink.

It’s a secret channel running along the sink basin’s underside. This sink overflow plays many crucial functions like fast draining, etc. But sometimes, due to lack of maintenance, overflow sinkholes can also experience blockage. This blockage affects the sink functionality, and that’s when we start searching for ways to clean the overflow sinkhole. 

Before exploring the cleaning methods in detail, be mindful that overlooking its maintenance can be a nightmare. An overflowing sink can be more trouble than you think, as it compromises the functionality of your kitchen. It serves as a ground for microorganisms affecting your kitchen hygiene. Also, it causes a foul odor that is intolerable. That’s why preventing blockage and cleaning overflow holes is essential. 

Let’s find out more about this common kitchen problem and find solutions to deal with it. 

What is an Overflow Hole in Sink and its Purpose? 

As described earlier, an overflow sinkhole is a small cavity in your sink. It is connected to the drain pipe at the back of the sink. It is a preventive measure that is important for the maintenance of your kitchen sink.

Getting a sink with an overflow hole is not essential. But have you ever wondered why having an overflow hole is important for you? It is simply because of the functions it performs. These include:

  • It helps to drain your kitchen sink faster by providing an additional path leading to the drain pipes.
  • Other than this, if you leave your kitchen faucet running unintentionally, it also minimizes the chances of your sink overflowing.

6 Methods to Try for an Overflowing Sinkhole Cleaning  at Home  

We are often considerate about preventing and cleaning overflow sinks.


But what about the overflow hole?

Just like your sink, an overflow sinkhole is also exposed to food residues, grease, solid leftovers, mineral buildup, etc. It may result in its blockage and cause problems without even being noticeable. That’s why it’s essential to clean it just as you clean your kitchen drains. Otherwise, you will end up replacing your kitchen sink.

When finding a suitable cleaning option for your sinkhole, people often prefer home-based solutions. And why not when they are cheaper and easy? 

Some of the easy solutions for cleaning overflow sinkholes are using:

  • Boiling water
  • Vinegar and baking soda 
  • Toothbrush or pipe brush 
  • Using a Plunger
  • Zip Tie or Flexible Wire
  • Chemical Drain Cleaner

1. Use Boiling Water to Clean the Sinkhole 

It is one of the easiest methods to clear the overflow hole. Here is the step-by-step procedure to clean the overflow hole. 

Gather Supplies

To perform the cleaning, you need to gather the right tools and supplies. Here are a few things that you will need to do the hot water cleaning:

  • Sink-cleaning brush or microfiber cloth
  • Boiling water
  • Funnel made up of non-conductor material.

Clean with Brush or Fiber Cloth

The cleaning process begins with sticking the sink-cleaning rush or microfiber cloth into the overflow hole. Move the brush or cloth several times in and out to clear the buildup.

Place the Funnel

Once you clear it, it’s time to place the funnel at the mouth of the sinkhole. The funnel should be made up of insulators and heat-resistant material to withstand the temperature of hot boiling water.

Pour Boiling Water

Now, it’s time to pour the hot boiling water through the funnel. Pour the boiling water slowly to let it perform the cleaning well. Be careful when pouring the water through it, and don’t splash it.

Repeat it

One-time cleaning with hot boiling water is not enough and you might need several rounds of it.  Make sure you repeat the process multiple times to get the best results.

2. Try Vinegar and Baking Soda – the Ultimate Cleaning Combo 

Have you heard about cleaning your kitchen sink using baking soda and vinegar? 

It is also used for cleaning your kitchen cabinets

It is undeniably a powerful duo. The cleaning action of baking soda and vinegar can even help you deal with the clogged overflow sink and sinkhole. Let’s find out how.

Gather Supplies

The first step of the cleaning process remains the same. You need to collect the right supplies first. Some of the cleaning essentials for overflow cleaning are:

  • Sink-cleaning brush or microfiber cloth
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Boiling water
  • Funnel made up of insulator material.

Clean with Brush or Fiber Cloth

Place the sink-cleaning brush or fiber cloth into the hole to remove the accumulated waste. This initial cleaning will ensure the supply of cleaning agents.

Place the Funnel

Place the funnel into an overflow sinkhole. It will help you to pour the agents through the hole. While choosing a funnel, make sure to go with insulator materials so they can tolerate heat.

Pour Baking Soda

Now, it’s time to place the funnel and pour baking soda. Make sure to add a sufficient quantity of baking soda, depending on the extent of the blockage. You can start with one cup of baking soda. 

Add Vinegar

After adding baking soda, use the funnel to pour vinegar. You can use diluted vinegar (1:1 water vinegar ratio) for cleaning purposes. Now, wait for another 15 minutes and let the magic happen.

Flush with Water

Now, you can add boiling water to the cleaning site to ensure better results. Be careful while pouring the hot water down the funnel. 

Assess and Repeat

The cleaning process will remove all the blockage and eliminate the foul smell. However, if you are not satisfied with the results, you can repeat the process.

3. Use a Toothbrush or Pipe Brush for an Easy Cleaning

Cleaning the overflow opening using a pipe brush or toothbrush is an easy and gentle method.

First, moisten the brush and place it into the overflow opening. Scrub the internal surfaces gently, going back and forth or in circles with the pipe brush. It helps loosen any build-up of mold, debris, or soap scum. Rinse the overflow hole with warm water after giving it a thorough brush to remove anything that may have come loose.

For minor obstructions and routine maintenance, this approach works well.

4. Using a Plunger to Clean the Sinkhole

When clogging the overflow hole, a little washbasin plunger can come in handy. Make sure there’s enough water in the sink so that the plunger cup is sealed off.

To create a seal, place the plunger over the overflow hole and gently press down. The plunger should be pulled and pushed multiple times to generate suction and loosen any debris.

This procedure can help you greatly in cleaning the clogs that are causing slow drainage. Don’t forget to use a plunger made especially for sinks to get a good seal. 

5. Zip or Flexible Wire to the Rescue of Sinkhole Cleaning 

If you want a more focused cleaning, use a flexible piece of wire or zip tie.

To hook and remove debris, place it into the overflow hole and move it around. Use caution so as not to harm the interior of the washbasin.

After the material has been released from the sink, remove the tie or wire, taking the debris with it. This technique works well for clearing minor, localized obstructions in the sinkhole. 

6. Last Resort: Chemical Drain Cleaner for a Clean Sink

As a final resort, you can use a chemical drain. It’s not a green choice, but a chemical drain can work well for stubborn obstructions in your kitchen’s sinkhole.

Select a drain cleaner made for sinks, use it at alternative times, and carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Usually, you have to pour the product down the overflow hole, allow it to sit for a predetermined amount of time, and thoroughly rinse with water.

Chemical drain cleaners can effectively remove all the hair, grease, and soap clogs from the sink. However, you must use this way sparingly, and only when you have already exhausted all your other options.  

Cleaning Sinkhole for Functional Kitchen Sink

Sink overflows are a common kitchen problem. But you can easily prevent these by choosing a sink with an overflow sinkhole. This hole is internally connected to the drain pipes and ensures an efficient drain. However, due to continuous exposure to debris and leftovers in kitchen sinks, there are chances of blockage.

But don’t worry because a clogged overflow hole can be repaired at home. All you need is a few kitchen ingredients and you can get rid of it. However, if none of these remedies work and you still find issues, then make sure to hire a professional for it.


  • How Often Should I Clean Overflow Sink Hole?
    It is recommended to clean the overflow sinkhole once a week. However, this also depends on your sink usage and the condition of your drainage system. Also, keep checking for odor or black gunk accumulation in the hole to find when is the right time for a cleaning job.
  • Do I Need to Protect Myself During Cleaning of Overflow Sink Hole?
    Yes, make sure you take necessary precautions when cleaning overflow holes using water or vinegar. Wear gloves while pouring down the cleaning agents because your hands are at risk of getting injured.
  • Can I Use Bleach to Clean Overflow Sink Hole?
    No, it is not recommended to use bleach to clean an overflow sinkhole. This could be damaging for your drain pipes leaving you with a bigger mess.
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Author: Amanda Arnold

Amanda has been working with ConstructionHow since 2021. Her experience spans over 5 years in the creative niche such as home decor and trends, landscaping, renovations, and custom architectural values. As a home designer expert, she has a keen eye for the latest home improvement trends with accurate facts that readers find impossible to ignore. Being invested in home-building trends is how she has gained her lucrative expertise exploring more to bring a positive ambiance for all homeowners (and even tenants!). Currently, she lives in a beautiful beach home, a source of fascination for her.