4 Common Reasons Why Your Drain is Making a Gurgling Sound

You’re washing your hands in the kitchen sink when you notice a gurgling sound.

You’re wondering if there’s a Gremlin in your drain. Most certainly not – but what is it if it isn’t an 80s movie creature?

What Causes Gurgling?

Gurgling occurs when anything obstructs the flow of water or air through your drains. As the water slowly flows down your drains, air bubbles develop and produce a gurgling sound.

The gurgling sound might come from your sink, toilet, or shower, as well as the floor drains. The actual question is, what’s generating the gurgling?

1. Blocked Drain

The most common reason for a gurgling drain is a full or partial obstruction in the sink, shower, or bathtub. There are distinctions to be made, and it is critical to understand how to do so.

Partially Blocked

When your drain becomes partially clogged, a full clog isn’t long behind. The water will drain more slowly than usual, and the gurgling will have started. When you notice a sluggish drain, use drain cleaner to clean it right away.

Completely blocked

If you don’t take care of your partially clogged sink drain, it will soon become entirely blocked.

When water begins to rise in your sink or bathtub instead of emptying entirely, you have a completely blocked drain.

The following are some causes of a complete drain clog:

  • Dirt
  • Hair
  • Skin that has died
  • Leavings from soap
  • Toilet paper accumulation
  • Grease or oils

If multiple drains are clogged, your sewage line is likely clogged. In this situation, contact a specialist into “Scope” or investigate the blockage with a camera.

2. Blocked Sewer Line

A gurgling sound in your toilet is a warning sign that your sewer line is slowly backing up.

Sewer lines can become full of hair and paper towels, causing you to have to plunge the toilet to get the water flowing again.

You may have a sewer line blockage if you regularly plunge your toilet.

A sewer line blockage can also be caused by tree roots growing into the sewer line. Over time, the roots will erode the sewer pipe, causing it to break or clog. For this reason, it’s essential to have your sewer lines inspected regularly.

3. Blocked drain vents

Drains have vents that open up onto the top of the house to prevent the buildup of sewer gas inside drainpipes and the sewer line. If these vents get clogged, which can happen because of bird nests or debris blown onto the roof, it causes the sewage gas to escape down the following best passage—in this case, through the water in the p-trap of the drains, generating the gurgling sounds. Don’t go up to the roof to clean up the vents! You’ll need skilled professionals for this.

4. Damaged or Blocked P-Trap

The p-trap or U-bend is the plumbing fixture under your sink, which prevents sewer gas from escaping to the air in your bathroom or kitchen. When something blocks the p-trap, the gurgling sound is created as the water travels past the blockage.

Some common causes for a clogged p-trap include grease, hair, soap residue, and foreign objects (such as toothbrushes, makeup brushes, toys, and other items).


A blockage in the pipes in your sink, toilet, bath, and shower is never good news. Before calling a plumber, try using a non-clog drain cleaner to see if you can clear the blockage yourself.

If it does not work, or if you’re experiencing a gurgling sound from something other than a clogged drain, be sure to contact one of our experienced professionals to take care of your gurgling problems immediately.

Professor Plumb is an insured, licensed, veteran-owned professional plumbing service with over 20 years of experience under the belt. Contact us right away if you need plumbing services in Columbiana to fix your damaged plumbing system!

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