How to unclog a bathroom sink?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 2, 2024

A clogged bathroom sink can be a major inconvenience. Fortunately, there are several effective methods to address this common issue. This guide will walk you through various techniques to unclog a bathroom sink, from simple home remedies to more advanced methods.

Identifying the Cause of the Clog

Before attempting any unclogging method, it's essential to identify the cause of the clog. Common causes include:

  • Hair buildup
  • Soap scum accumulation
  • Toothpaste debris
  • Foreign objects

Understanding the nature of the clog can help you choose the most effective solution.

Initial Steps: Simple Home Remedies

Using Hot Water

Sometimes, a simple flush with hot water can dissolve minor clogs caused by soap scum or toothpaste.

  1. Boil a kettle of water.
  2. Carefully pour the hot water down the drain in a slow, steady stream.
  3. Wait a few minutes and check if the water drains properly.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

This classic home remedy is effective for many types of clogs.

  1. Remove any standing water from the sink.
  2. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain.
  3. Follow with half a cup of white vinegar.
  4. Cover the drain with a plug or cloth to contain the reaction.
  5. Wait 15-20 minutes, then flush with hot water.

Mechanical Methods


A plunger can be highly effective for dislodging stubborn clogs.

  1. Ensure there is enough water in the sink to cover the plunger's cup.
  2. Place the plunger over the drain, creating a tight seal.
  3. Vigorously plunge up and down several times.
  4. Lift the plunger to see if the water drains. Repeat if necessary.

Drain Snake

A drain snake, or plumber's auger, can reach deeper clogs.

  1. Insert the snake into the drain until you feel resistance.
  2. Turn the handle to break up or retrieve the clog.
  3. Slowly pull the snake out, removing any debris caught in its coils.
  4. Run water to check if the clog is cleared.

Chemical Solutions

If home remedies and mechanical methods fail, you may consider using a chemical drain cleaner. Exercise caution, as these products contain harsh chemicals.

Choosing the Right Product

Select a cleaner specifically designed for bathroom sinks and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Avoid mixing different products, as this can create dangerous reactions.


  1. Pour the recommended amount of cleaner into the drain.
  2. Wait the specified time, usually 15-30 minutes.
  3. Flush with a large amount of hot water.

Advanced Techniques

Cleaning the P-Trap

If the clog persists, it may be located in the P-trap, the curved pipe beneath the sink.

  1. Place a bucket under the P-trap to catch water and debris.
  2. Use a wrench to loosen the slip nuts on either end of the P-trap.
  3. Remove the P-trap and clean out any buildup inside.
  4. Reassemble the P-trap and run water to check for leaks and proper drainage.

Removing the Drain Stopper

Hair and debris can often accumulate around the drain stopper.

  1. Lift the stopper to expose the drain opening.
  2. Use a flashlight to inspect for visible clogs.
  3. Remove any debris with a wire or small brush.
  4. Reinsert the stopper and test the drain.

Preventative Measures

To avoid future clogs, consider these preventative measures:

  • Use a drain cover to catch hair and debris.
  • Regularly flush the drain with hot water.
  • Periodically use baking soda and vinegar to maintain clear pipes.

When to Call a Professional

If you've tried multiple methods and the clog persists, it may be time to call a professional plumber. Persistent clogs can indicate more serious issues within your plumbing system.

There you have it—an array of methods to tackle a stubborn bathroom sink clog. From simple home remedies to advanced techniques, there's a solution for every level of blockage. The next time your sink drains slowly, you'll be well-equipped to handle the situation.

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