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How to Unclog A Bathroom Sink (6 Methods)

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If you notice the water in your bathroom sink draining slowing, or not at all, there's a good chance you can get the water flowing again without paying a plumber. You may have a clog in your bathroom sink, and although this is an annoying problem, it's not that hard to fix.

This article will give you several methods to unclog your bathroom sink. Whether your sink is simply draining slowly or it's fully clogged, you'll be able to fix the problem yourself and save yourself some money.

Plumber unclogging a bathroom sink by removing the P-trap

How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink

If you notice your bathroom sink is clogged there are 6 ways to get the water draining properly again. Work your way down the list, or pick and choose the method you want to use. Either way, your bathroom sink should start draining properly by using the options below.

Plastic Drain Snake

Plastic drain snakes are inexpensive and easy to use. They also will unclog your bathroom sink if there's a big clump of hair in the plumbing.

Simply remove the drain cover, insert the plastic drain snake into the drain, and wiggle it around. Then, pull the snake back out. Chances are, it'll have a big clump of hair on it! Repeat the process until the drain snake comes out clean and turn the water on to see if your sink is draining properly again.

It's a great idea to keep plastic drain snakes on hand so you can fix your drains when you first notice they begin to drain slow.

Watch the Video

Boiling Water, Baking Soda and Vinegar

Sometimes pouring boiling water down a clogged sink is enough to break through the blockage, but it's not uncommon to need a little more muscle power either.

When this is the case, try using baking soda and vinegar. This is a bit like doing a high school science project, but it's often successful at unclogging your bathroom sink. And the best part is you probably already have these ingredients in your kitchen!

Here's what to do:

  • Remove the drain stopper
  • Pour boiling water down the drain
  • Pour 1-cup of baking soda into the drain - let sit for 5 to 10-minutes
  • Then pour  1-cup of white vinegar into the drain 
  • The combination will create a chemical reaction that'll bubble up - let sit for 5 to 10-minutes
  • Pour boiling water down the drain 
  • Run hot tap water down the drain for 5-minutes

Watch the Video

Use a Plunger

Using a plunger to unclog your bathroom sink is another simple and inexpensive method, although it can get a little messy. You'll need a plunger with a flat base so it makes a good seal, and a rag to block the overflow drain.

Here's what to do:

  • Remove the drain stopper
  • Add some water to the sink basin
  • Block the overflow drain with a rag 
  • Position the plunger on the sink so it covers the drain
  • Push the plunger down firmly and pull it back up a dozen or so times
  • Once the water flows properly down the drain, run hot water for 5-minutes

Watch the Video

Clean the P-Trap

When you look at the plumbing under your sink, you'll see a curved section of pipe. This is the P-trap, and it's role is to block toxic and sewer gases from entering your home through the pipe. It does this by creating a pocket of water.

In addition, if you drop a ring or other small item down the drain, the P-trap will "catch" it and prevent it from traveling further down your plumbing.

Unfortunately, P-traps are a common area for clogs to form. Because of their design, dirt, soap scum, sediment, and dead skin can collect and cause your bathroom drain to slow, and eventually clog.

But cleaning a P-trap is relatively easy to do. Here's how:

  • Fill a bucket or bowl with about 12 ounces of water and place it under the pipe
  • It's a good idea to grab your camera and snap a couple of pictures of your plumbing before you start
  • Wearing plastic gloves, remove the nuts that keep the P-trap in place (use pliers or an adjustable wrench)
  • Water will begin to leak out as the P-trap loosens. Be sure to have your bucket in place to catch the water
  • Dip your flexible wire brush into the water within the bucket, and then into the plumbing to clean out the pipes and P-trap
  • Once the pipes are clear, replace the P-trap and tighten the nuts

Watch the Video

Use a Plumber's Auger

A plumber's auger is often called a; drain snake, plumbing snake, auger, or drain auger. They are a long metal spiral wire that is inserted down your drain. A hand crank is often used to help "catch" the clog, but some models are designed to be used with a drill. 

  • Remove the drain plug and grill
  • Insert the wire of the auger into the drain and lock the locking screw
  • Once the head of the auger wire is fully inside the pipe, release the locking screw and hand feeding the wire into the pipe
  • When you can no longer push the wire into the pipe because it hit a clog, tighten the locking screw on the auger
  • Begin turning the handle on your auger until the head works it's way through the clog
  • Loosen the tightening screw and pull the auger wire from the drain
  • Replace the drain guard and turn on the water to check if the clog has cleared

Watch the Video

Call a Plumber

If nothing else worked, or you simply decided you don't want to deal with the mess or hassle, you can always call a plumber to unclog your bathroom sink for you. The clog may be deeper within your plumbing and require a professional auger, or there may be another issue that's causing the problem. 

Whatever the cause, hiring a plumber is always a good idea. They'll have the tools and expertise to solve your problem.

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