Wondering how to unclog a bathroom sink? Don’t worry – Western Rooter & Plumbing will show you how to fix your clogged sink in no time at all!
Is your bathroom sink clogged? A clogged bathroom sink is one of the easiest plumbing problems to resolve! All you need is a little bit of knowledge, the right tools, and the willingness to get a little dirty. In this post we will take a look at the most popular and effective ways to unclog your bathroom sink. Unclogging your clogged bathroom sink doesn’t have to be tough (and definitely shouldn’t require you to spend all day!). Ranging from simple chemical solutions (like vinegar and baking soda) to more advanced ones, like snaking your drain, after reading this article you’ll understand a bit more about how sinks work and how to unclog your bathroom sink drain.
Tip: Do you have a stubborn sink clog that keeps coming back? Maybe the problem runs a little deeper than you’d expect. Check out this article on why you should get a sewer line camera inspection & the cost of sewer line inspections.
What causes sink clogs?
- Hair: Washing your face, shaving, and other activities that involve shedding hair over your bathroom sink can be dangerous for your sink drain!
- Grease: Oil and grease can build up on inside surfaces inside your bathroom sink over time making them more prone to slow drainage or even completely plugging up.
- Toiletries & other debris: Things like cotton swabs, dental floss, paper towels (which should never be in your drain in the first place!), etc., all contribute to slower draining sinks by adding bulk to the pipes.
- Soap & soap scum: If you encounter a clogged bathroom sink, chances are the culprit is your soap. Liquid bath soaps create suds that go down the drain and build up in pipes, creating blockages in no time!
- Something stuck further down the line: Your bathroom sink drains down into your sewer line, and if there’s an obstruction further down the line, then it’s not going to be an easy fix.
- Damaged pipes: If your bathroom sink drains slowly or not at all, then a damaged pipe or pipes could be the culprit. To determine whether or not this is the case, calling a professional plumber may be the best option.
What tools do I need to unclog my bathroom sink drain?
Clearing your bathroom sink drain doesn’t require much – just these simple items:
- Drain snake or auger (snake for sinks)
- Bucket & sponge
- Trash can with lid
- Gloves & safety goggles if desired (not required!)
- Rags & towels (things might get messy!)
How do you unclog a bathroom sink drain?
Here are 8 things you can try today to fix your clogged bathroom sink drain. If you’re not comfortable performing any of these steps, please call Western Rooter & Plumbing to get a professional plumber down to your house ASAP to fix your clogged sink drain immediately!
1. Use a “Zip-It” drain cleaning tool to remove hair clumps
9x out of 10, bathroom sink drain clogs are caused by clumps of hair. If this is the case, then a “Zip-It” drain clearing tool should do the trick before even needing to get into the next several steps!
A “Zip-It” drain cleaning tool is a flat, thin strip of plastic that is flexible and has a series of teeth on it – just place the tool inside your bathroom sink drain as far as possible (don’t worry if you can’t get past the clog at first), rock it back-and-forth to loosen up any hair or other debris building up in your pipes, then pull out slowly.
You should repeat this several times. Each time, you may see more and more hair being pulled up from the drain. Repeat until you can stick the tool into the drain and pull it out without seeing any more hair on it.
2. Pour boiling water into the sink drain
Next, try pouring boiling hot water into the sink drain. This should be enough to melt through anything in your drain and clear out any clogs.
To do this, simply boil up a pot of water on the stove. After it’s boiled, carefully pour the boiling hot liquid into the sink drain – making sure not to touch it with your hands! If you can’t get close enough because there aren’t handles or sidewalls on your bathroom sink, then try using a turkey baster instead. This should unclog most drains right away… if not immediately after pouring in hot water, give it some time before trying again.
3. Try using vinegar & baking soda
If the hot water didn’t fix the problem, then the next step is to try using vinegar and baking soda to fix the clog. The chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda will clear out your clogged sink in no time, and here’s how to do it:
Pour ~½ cup of baking soda into the drain. Pour enough vinegar on top of the baking soda that you can see it start bubbling up around the sides of the drain. Let this sit for a few minutes – if possible, leave it overnight to ensure maximum effect! If needed, give your solution another shot after letting it sit.
Note: You might want to try using a funnel when performing this step to make sure no chemicals spill onto your countertop!
4. Try plunging the clogged drain
Did you know plungers aren’t just for toilets? You can use a plunger on your bathroom sink drain to clear out clogs! To do this, simply place the rubber part of the plunger over the top of your drain opening. Push down firmly using both hands, then pull back up to suck obstructions upwards. Give it some time before repeating if needed – and be careful not to push down too hard, as you could damage the pipes if they are old enough!
5. Take apart your P-trap and clean it
The P-trap is the curved section of pipe under your sink. If you can reach it, pop off the P-trap and clean out any hair or debris that may have gotten lodged in there over time!
To do this, simply twist the plastic nut holding down your P-traps on either side of your bathroom sink drain until both pieces are detachable. Once removed, use a small bucket to catch dirty water while washing your pipes with soap & hot water – making sure to get all areas including inside the bend underneath.
Don’t put your P-trap back together just yet, though… there’s one more thing you should try to do to clear your sink drain:
6. Use a drain snake (or a plumber’s snake) to snake your drain
A drain snake – also commonly called a plumber’s auger, plumbing snake, drain auger, or just an auger – is a long metal spiral tool that you thread down your drain to unscrew any clogged debris inside. One side of the snake is shaped like a corkscrew, and the other side has a hand-crank that is used to drill it through obstructions. This is a great option if the previous methods haven’t worked!
Since you have your P-trap removed still from the previous step, go ahead and carefully insert your drain snake into the pipe in the wall where your P-trap used to be attached. Turn the crank to drill forward and, hopefully, unclog any debris inside.
Now re-attach your P-trap and check to see if things have cleared up. If they haven’t, then you should move on to the next step.
Note: We have written an in-depth article talking more in-depth about how to use a drain snake, so give that a read here.
7. Call a plumber!
If you’ve gotten this far, then the problem is most likely so far down the line that you can’t reach it with a traditional drain snake. This means it could be invasive tree roots that have grown into your pipes in search of water and minerals. If this is the case, then you should call a plumber to unclog your bathroom sink drain for you.
Clogged sink drain? Western Rooter & Plumbing can help.
Western Rooter & Plumbing specializes in removing tree roots from drain pipes (hence the “Rooter” in our name!) – so shoot us a message or give us a call if you suspect that a nearby tree is the cause of your plumbing woes! We will send a plumbing technician to your residence to inspect your bathroom sink drain and see if we can’t root out the underlying problem.