The best method to unclog a clogged bathroom sink may depend on what’s clogging it. You can flush soap scum clogs with vinegar and baking soda or tweeze hair. For bigger clogs, a plunger or drain snake work best. Figuring out why your drain is clogged is the best way to figure out how to unclog it.
Below are six methods that address how to unclog a sink drain. Most of these apply to kitchen sinks and showers drains too. Roll up your sleeves and get started. If your bathroom sink is completely clogged or your sink is full of water that won’t budge, your Los Angeles plumbing experts are on hand to help.
Why is my bathroom sink clogged?
There are four common reasons why most people’s bathroom drains clog. Figuring out which one of these problems you have will give us a place to start. Look for:
Clumps of hair
When hair enters your sink drain it clumps together and gets stuck on the walls and tangled in the drain’s components.
Use a long tweezers or a zip-it tool to remove hair. If neither works, try disassembling the whole drain. (see “clean the p trap” below)
Soap scum is especially prevalent where there is hard water. It can build up in your pipes over time and foster mold and mildew.
Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain or use baking soda and vinegar to dislodge built up soap scum. If it still doesn’t budge, plunge with warm water.
Something stuck in p-trap
The p-trap is the curving pipe beneath your bathroom sink that connects to the wall pipe. It prevents harmful sewer gasses from coming up through the sink drain.
Disconnect your bathroom sink p-trap and clean out the hair and any large items that may have gotten stuck within (see details below).
Rust, corrosion, and other common pipe damage can lead to a slow drain or a clog over time.
Replace old, rusted pipes before they become bottled necked with debris. Plunge or snake them for temporary relief.
Unclogging your sink
After you’ve figured out why you have a clogged drain, try the method we recommended for your problem above. If you can’t figure out what your drain’s problem is, then try each of these methods in order.
1. Baking soda and white vinegar
- Unscrew the drain cover and remove the sink stopper.
- Measure out a ½ cup of baking soda and 1 cup of white vinegar.
- Sprinkle the ½ cup of baking soda into the drain.
- Pour the cup of vinegar down the drain.
- Let the mixture sit in the drain for several minutes, until fizzing stops.
- Rinse hot water into the drain.
- Repeat the process up to three times.
2. Remove bathroom hair clog
- Remove the stopper.
- Use a flashlight to look down the drain.
- If you can see hair, use a long-nosed tweezers to retrieve it directly.
- If you can’t see hair, use a zip-it tool or bend and insert a wire hanger to retrieve it.
- Slide the tool up and down the drain as far as it will go naturally. Don’t attempt to force it.
- Push the tool in at different angles. Try to move it around the drain to catch more hair.
- Repeat the process several times, rinsing with hot water as necessary.
- Use a cup plunger.
- Remove the stopper.
- Seal the sink overflow outlet with tape or a rag.
- Place towels or rags on the floor around the sink.
- Fill the sink with warm water.
- Use the plunger’s cup to create an airtight seal over the drain.
- Pump the plunger’s seal up and down several times with quick, sharp movements.
- Test the drain to see if you’ve cleared the clog.
- Repeat a few times as necessary.
4. Clean the p-trap
- Put a bucket under your p-trap and wear rubber gloves.
- Loosen the slip nuts by hand or with a pliers as necessary.
- Remove the p-trap by hand and dump the water into the bucket.
- Remove objects and grime lodged in the trap.
- Clean the p-trap with a bristle brush.
- Put the p-trap back together and test the drain.
- Use automated drain snakes (called plumber’s snakes or plumber’s augers) if possible.
- Place towels or rags beneath the sink.
- Remove the p-trap.
- Remove the stopper.
- Thread the snake into the wall drain manually.
- Uncoil the snake using the handle.
- When you reach the clog, rotate the head up-and-down and back-and-forth.
- Pull the snake out and reassemble the sink components.
- Check the drain.
6. Dissemble the drain
Bathroom sink plumbing for Los Angeles’ worst clogs
We hope you’ve learned how to fix a clogged bathroom sink. If you’ve tried everything and are still up to your elbows in water, contact the pros at Mike Diamond. Some clogs are stubborn or so far down your line that they require extra finesse. We know how to dislodge these tough clogs and get your drain flowing again.