How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink

Is your bathroom sink clogged? The best thing to do is to try and figure out what’s causing the clog. If you can figure that out, you’ll know exactly what to use to remove the clog. For instance, if it’s soap scum, you can use vinegar and baking soda to remove the clog. If it’s a larger clog, you can use a drain snake. Here are a number of ways to clear a drain in your bathroom sink.

How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink

But first, why is the sink clogged in the first place? There are four common reasons:


When hair gets into your drain, it clumps together, and gets stuck in the pipes and on the drain components. Tweezers may work to remove the hair, or you may have to disassemble the drain in order to remove the hair.

Soap Scum

If you have hard water, you may have soap scum, which can build up over time, causing issues with mold and mildew. You can try a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to remove the clog, or pour boiling water into the drain. If neither of those options work, you can try plunging using a common plunger.

Something Stuck in the P-Trap

The p-trap is the pipe that’s curved beneath the bathroom sink. It connects the sink to the pipe in the wall, and prevents sewer gas from coming into your bathroom. You can disconnect the p-trap, and clean it out, if that’s what needs to be done.

Damaged Pipes

Over time, pipes can take a beating. They corrode, get rusty. And have other issues. A damaged pipe can prevent water from flowing freely, and create a clog. You’ll want to replace older pipes before they start to create issues for you. If you do have an issue, you can use a plunger or snake to clear them out.

Unclogging the Sink

If you’ve figured out what the issue is, you can move on to trying to fix it. Remember, it’s important not to use chemical drain cleaners in your pipes. They can cause more damage than they help.

  1. Baking Soda and White Vinegar: First, you’ll want to remove the drain cover and sink stopper. Then, measure out ½ cup of baking soda, and one cup of vinegar. Sprinkle the baking soda into the drain, followed by the vinegar. Let the mixture work for a few minutes, until you hear it stop fizzling. Then, rinse the drain with hot water. You can repeat this process up to three times.
  2. Hair Clog: Again, the first thing you’ll do is remove the drain cover and stopper. From there, look down the drain, using a flashlight. If you can see the hair, you may be able to use tweezers to grab it and pull it out of the drain. If you can’t see the hair, use a zip-it tool or a bent clothes hanger to retrieve the hair. Don’t force either object into the drain, but use different angles, and try to remove as much hair as possible. Again, you can repeat the process as much as you need to, flushing the drain periodically with hot water.
  3. Plunge: Using a common plunger, remove the drain cover and stopper. Place precautionary towels on the floor, around the sink. Fill the sink with warm water, and use the plunger’s cup to create an airtight seal over the drain. Pump the plunger up and down, using quick motions. Test the drain to see if it’s cleared. You may have to repeat plunging several times to remove the clog.
  4. Clean the P-Trap: Wearing rubber gloves, place a bucket under the p-trap, and loosen the slip nut. You should be able to do this by hand, but use pliers if it’s too hard. Remove the p-trap, and dump the water in the bucket. Remove any debris or grime in the trap, and clean it with a bristle brush. Reassemble the p-trap, and test out the drain.
  5. Drain Snake: if possible, you’ll want to use an automated snake for this. Remove the p-trap, place towels around the area on the floor, and thread the snake into the drain manually. Using the handle, feed the snake into the drain, until you reach the clog. When you do reach the clog, rotate the head of the snake back-and-forth, and up and down to dislodge the clog. If you think you removed the clog, pull the snake out of the drain, reassemble the p-trap, and test the drain.

These tips should help you to clear out any clogs you’ll encounter, but if it seems like a bigger issue, don’t hesitate to call the expert team at Emergency Plumbing & Solar. We’re here for you 24/7 at (808) 691-9309 Oahu, (808) 400-8811 Hawaii Island.


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