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Clearing a Clogged Bathroom Sink

When the drains in the bathroom are backed up it can be quite a mess to deal with. Clearing the drain helps keep things stay clean in your bathroom. This is a guide about clearing a clogged bathroom drain.
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January 16, 2012 Flag

To unclog a sink, tub or toilet, pour a bottle of bleach in the water over the drain and let sit. Check back in a few hours and it should be drained. Then run some hot water for a few minutes down it. I pour a 1/2 bottle of bleach in each of these every 3 months and run hot water just to keep them unclogged. Been doing this over 20 yrs and never a problem.

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You may also want to invest in some small screen drains to put over drain when you unplug them to drain. Dump the screen drain out after each use and you will prevent anything from going down the line. Throw the screen drain in dishwasher for easy cleaning.

By Kathy from Jefferson, LA

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March 23, 2015 Flag

When the sink in the bathroom drains, the bathtub fills up with mucky black water. Then it slowly drains out of the bath tub.

By Jackie

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March 28, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

One thing you could try, is blocking the drain in the bathtub, putting some water in the sink, and vigorously plunging the sink drain. It may be that a good plunging will dislodge the clog. I used to use this technique when I blocked the drain with gunk from my garbarator, and the other side of the twin sink would fill with foul water. Cover one sink, and plunge in the other.

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March 23, 20150 found this helpful

Appears you need a plumber to clear the drains completely, well beyond what you may be able to do now.

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1 found this helpful
December 1, 2012 Flag

I have a clogged sink. The water takes time to go down. I am thinking it's from hair dye. I once disposed of the remaining hair dye I was using down the bathroom sink. Could it be the hair dye I disposed of? It was 10-12-2012.

The water just started not going down in the last week. We took the drain out and used a liquid cleaning chemical a couple times. Then we took the trap off and made sure it was clean. It was. We are thinking there must be a clog from the wall pipe out. Any suggestions, please?

By JG

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Anonymous Flag
December 3, 20120 found this helpful

I buy 1lb. container of Thrift from a local plumber. It takes about 1/4 of the container to treat a drain. Follow the directions and you will notice a difference almost immediately!

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December 4, 20120 found this helpful

You don't say whether you live in a house or an apartment. If it's a house, I would suspect a clog in the main sewer line. Call a plumber. It could be tree roots that have grown in to your sewer pipe.

It's usually an easy fix for a plumber. They have a cutting tool that they run through your drain system and it chops away all the roots. You will probably have to get this done once every 2 years or so. I had it done for about $150.00. If you don't get it done, the roots will destroy you sewer line and you will have to have your yard dug up and the sewer pipe replaced. Very expensive!

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March 13, 2014 Flag

My bathroom sink is clogged. I plunge it. It drains like a tornado. Next time I use it, it is clogged again. I have also tried drain cleaners and a snake. Now what?

By SP

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March 14, 20140 found this helpful

I believe her sink is clogged, not her toilet as a few comments have suggested. If you have tried drainers and snake it sounds like you need to call a plumber.

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March 15, 20140 found this helpful

I also wonder if there is not something stuck in the pipe, like a bottle cap or something, that you dislodge when you plunge, but that falls back into stuck position after. Try looking down the drain with a flashlight and see if there is something there. You may be able to get it out with a long magnet (if it is a metal something) or some sort of tweezers or tongs. If that doesn't work, I think you should call a plumber.

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May 2, 2016 Flag

My son dropped FLARP noise putty down the bathroom sink! Should I do anything to help remove it or should it be okay to leave the sink alone? Should I go out and buy Draino or something? Maybe pour vinegar down the drain?

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May 5, 20160 found this helpful

This will clog your drain. But White vinegar full strength should dissolve it.

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0 found this helpful
January 26, 2015 Flag

I have plunged, used a zip with teeth, used Draino, and even "Liquid Lighting" (virgin sulfuric acid with 12 buffers) the drain won't drain.

By Cheryl R.

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January 27, 20150 found this helpful

What worked for me is I took a thin piece of wire - one you would use for making flower stems and bent a little hook on the end. When I pulled it out of the sink drain, I could not believe the amount of hair that came out and now the sink drains very well. I hope this will solve your problem. I also did the same thing to the bath tub drain and now it also drains very well.

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January 28, 20150 found this helpful

I would also try the little hook to see if there is hair stopping up the drain. If that doesn't work, I think it is time to call a plumber.

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0 found this helpful
January 19, 2010

How can one clear an extremely slow bathroom sink drain without using caustic chemicals?

By Jay from Reston, VA

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, at your hardware store ask about a product that is a long flexible plastic rod that has little upward teeth on it. All you do is stick this down your drain and pull up. It is unreal what you will pull up, works great and no chemicals. Sorry i cant remember the name of it but they will know what you are talking about at the hardware store. Have a great day..Deby

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January 23, 20100 found this helpful

I keep a plunger used only for my sinks. I usually put some Dawn or another grease cutter and add boiling water. After a few minutes, I use the plunger and it has always worked for me. I hate using chemicals.

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December 12, 2011 Flag

How does one unclog a bathroom sink in which the stopper cannot be removed from the sink?

By BF

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December 12, 20110 found this helpful

A plumber once told me the best way to clear a clog or slow drain in a sink is with a plunger. If you can't get the sink to flow better then you will have to take apart the pipes underneath. And that is what a plumber will do if you call one.

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December 14, 20110 found this helpful

I had a bathtub that was so slow and you could not take the plug out. From one of the catalogs I got a drain opener thing. It is yellow plastic and had jagged plastic things on the end. You snake that under the plug and I was amazed at how much hair I got out of the drain. It runs like new now. It is a very long yellow plastic. I hope you can picture this - it was really effective!

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January 28, 2011 Flag

My bathroom sinks keep clogging up, repeated use of Drano is not working. Help!

By Icu3 from Columbus

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January 29, 20110 found this helpful

When mine starts running slow I take the U joint under the sink off and clean it out as that is where most of the hair and 'gunk' builds up. Be sure to have a bucket or other sizable pot or pan to catch any water that may be there.

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January 29, 20110 found this helpful

You need a really good plunger. I had the same trouble and a relative told me of a plunger they'd gotten that was really good. It was not one of the expensive ones either. Once I got it I tried it on my stubborn sink and "low and behold" it worked. For the first time in years after using draino etc. on the sink, my drain was working like brand new. I shudder to think how much damage I did to the pipes with all the expensive drain cleaners.

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April 2, 2011 Flag

There is always water in the drain hole in my bathroom sink, right up to the top of the drain. Water drains fine, but never completely, therefore it seems to always have black moldy stuff in the drain that flushes up in the sink anytime the water is turned on.

I have tried cleaning the drain, but there is nothing plugging it. I have used many commercial and green cleaning methods, which cleans the drain for a while, but since water (and anything rinsed down the drain) always sits at the surface, it doesn't take long to become "cruddy" again. How can I get the water to drain farther down the pipes?

By RocknChr from Central NE

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April 2, 20110 found this helpful

re: "The worse scenario would be leach bed lines have tree roots interfering or if you have those older tiles that might be broke and needing upgraded."

I had to have new weeping tiles put in around the foundation of my house. I have a basement. My bathroom sink drain was doing the same thing as yours. After the new weeping tiles were installed, the drain was fine.

This installation required all of the ground being dug up around the foundation, old ceramic clogged weeping tiles removed and new installed.

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April 4, 20110 found this helpful

I just finished with this problem, it is probably hair in the drain) Go to the store and buy Liquid Plumr Power Gel. Pour 2 cups down drain (it will go through standing water)Allow to work for 15 min and then flush with hot water from tea kettle. I did this and my drain is draining now. If necessary repeat the process! Good luck!

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0 found this helpful
November 1, 2012 Flag

Will washing baby powder down the drain cause drainage problems down the line?

By Ray

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November 4, 20120 found this helpful

How much baby powder are you putting down the drain? It doesn't dissolve, but I can't feature that you could put enough down a drain to cause problems. However, I knew of a fellow who eventually plugged his toilet because he tossed his daily piece of dental floss into the bowl, and over the years, it all balled up and plugged the toilet.

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February 16, 20150 found this helpful

My husband created the "Dental Floss Monster" by flushing his floss daily for about 5 years. We couldn't figure out why his toilet was backing up, while mine (separate baths) where I flushed tampons never did. When he snaked the toilet, it looked like an old unraveled hemp rope - grossest thing ever. And of course, I'm saying, "You flush dental floss?" (He quit, of course.)

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0 found this helpful
November 28, 2013 Flag

How do I unblock a bath\bathroom sink when water comes back up the bath plughole and smells disgusting?

By Mags

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November 29, 20130 found this helpful

I use a large pot of boiling water with a good shot of dish soup. Pour in sink and let set for a min. and take a toilet plunger and push the water down the drain. You may have to do it more than once. No need for chemicals.

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0 found this helpful
January 8, 2010

How do I unclog a drain?

By Laurie

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January 8, 20100 found this helpful

A plumber once told me if you can't clear out a drain with a plunger you need a plumber.

A bathtub normally has a trap that collects gunk going through the drain. If you can access the trap you can clean it out and your problem is solved.

A sink clogs in the pipe that is shaped like a sideways S. Sometimes this pipe is connected with easily turnable tabs/nuts and you can clean out the clog after removing it and easily put it back. It usually makes a mess when you remove it so put down some towels.

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January 10, 20100 found this helpful

Try pouring some baking soda in there. Then follow it with vinegar.

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January 28, 2011 Flag

How do you unclog a bathroom basin?

Lynne

Answers:

Unclogging a Bathroom Sink

At my local flea market I bought those sink/tub screen strainer things.They're in each sink and tub in my home.They catch everything before it heads down the drain even an earring I dropped. (11/20/2008)

By keeper60

Unclogging a Bathroom Sink

I used to be an apartment manager and one of the things I had to do for my tenants was unclog sinks. The one thing I found to be the best way was to get a wire hanger, cut it and straighten it. With a pair of pliers make a small hook at one end, stick the hook end into the drain and slowly and carefully push it down as far as it will go. Then slowly pull it back up twisting it several times back and forth. Do this several times and you will be amazed at how much gunk and hair you will pull out. Once you have cleaned it, run some hot water in the drain for a bit. I did this will tub drains as well. They will often stay clean for months or years afterwards. I did this to my tub last year and it still drains quickly. (05/17/2009)

By SusLuvsVintage

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January 19, 2010 Flag

I have a bathroom sink that is extremely slow in draining and backs up. I've heard of certain things like boiling water and dishwasher soap poured down as a possible remedy. However, that did not work. Does anyone have any more ideas? I'm just a homeowner trying to save money. Thank you.

By dleo1144 from NH

Answers:

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

Try using one cup of ammonia, poured into each drain, then follow with a pot of boiling water (be careful not to spill on yourself, kids, or pets).
I read this tip somewhere here, to remove the sticky soap scum that clings to drains. It worked wonders.(07/23/2009)

By fatboyslimsmom

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

First I would get something to poke down the drain, like an open bobby pin and check to see if there is any hair blocking the drain. You'd be amazed how much hair can be in there, then do the following:

Use a 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Pour the soda down the drain and then quickly pour in the vinegar and close the drain. Let is sit for approximately 5 minutes and then flush with hot water. (07/23/2009)

By PICO

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

My bathroom sink does the same thing. My husband cleared it the first time by pushing a straw down into the drain which cleared it up for several weeks. I keep the straw under my sink and now do it myself when it becomes sluggish. My spouse thinks mine is mostly due to me cutting my bangs every ten days or so which combined with the soap and toothpaste causes a buildup of gunk in the drain.

My drain has the a fairly long (about five inches) plastic type of stopper that you open and close with a lever on the faucet. There is a metal cross bar at the bottom of the plastic piece and that is where all the stuff accumulates to cause my drain problem. (07/23/2009)

By Kathryen

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

The overflow pipe that vents to the top of your house will get clogged with hair, grease, lint, and other debris. Have your hubby, or other responsible adult, go on the roof and pour drain opener down that. My mom had this problem and every time Roto Roter came they did just that and it always worked. (07/24/2009)

By grannygirl

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

I've found that pouring anything down the drains doesn't do much good unless I take a clothes hanger and get all the the hair and gunk that's built up. (07/24/2009)

By TXBetty

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

Pour straight Clorox down the drains. The Clorox will eat away anything that is is the pipes stopping them up. Do not ever use Clorox if you have a septic tank though. The Clorox eats the good bacteria in the septic tank and can cause your septic tank to back up in your house through the drains (my aunt learned this the hard way). Good luck to you and keep us posted on what you end up doing and how it turns out for you. (07/24/2009)

By Paula Jo Carr

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0 found this helpful
July 21, 2009 Flag

How do you clear a sluggish sink?

Larry from Elgin, IL

Answers:

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

I have a small size plunger that I use regularly on our kitchen and bathroom sinks. I've never had to use any chemical decloggers. It's not always pleasant to see what comes up when you plunge, but it's better than putting all those pollutants into the water supply. And it saves a lot of money. You can buy a sink-size plunger for under five dollars. (11/24/2008)

By Ree 127

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

My plumber suggests that once per month I put Dawn dish washing liquid in the drain of the sink and follow it with a large pot of boiling water. It must be Dawn; other brands aren't as good. This works for me and I have never had another slow drain since doing this. I squeeze about 1/4 cup of Dawn before the boiling water. (11/24/2008)

By sdw209

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

1/2-3/4 box of baking soda and 1/2 gallon of white vinegar. Let it foam and do it's magic and leave for an hour. Follow it with lots of very, very hot water. Does wonders for our sink. (11/25/2008)

By manintveld_nl

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

When all else fails use boiling water poured down the drain. (11/25/2008)

By texman

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

The baking soda and vinegar is a secret ingredient that a lot of plumbers use. Make sure you do not stand right over the sink drain when you pour the vinegar in over top of the baking soda because the fumes do come up and it's not a pleasant experience. (11/25/2008)

By floridagal

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

You definitely don't want to use "any" chemicals (Drano or similar) unless you have all PVC pipes. The chemicals corrode metal pipes. (11/25/2008)

By Deeli

Clearing a Sluggish Sink

My plumber told me long ago, that once a month pour a cup of white vinegar down your drain, to help the flow, and also helps with smells. (11/25/2008)

By Glinda

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0 found this helpful
November 20, 2008 Flag

How do you unclog a bathroom sink?

Kathleen from Doylestown, PA

Answers:

How Do You De-Clog a Sink Drain?

I have used the baking soda and vinegar remedy. Also, I have used ammonia for kitchen sinks as it dissolves grease, but I LOVE the Nair idea for the bathroom! I will definitely try that the next time I get a slow draining bathroom sink. Thanks! (09/24/2008)

By MiraY

How Do You De-Clog a Sink Drain?

If you go to mrsfixit.com it tells how to do that very thing and lots of other great info. Very easy, did it following her instructions but don't remember the instructions. If your husband is like mine you have to learn to do some stuff yourself. (09/25/2008)

By loridawn1956

How Do You De-Clog a Sink Drain?

It may just be clogged with hair in the drain. Our sink has the drain cap that can screw off, and when I removed it I noticed some hair in the drain. I got a piece of wire, bent the end and started to fish out the hair. What I thought were a few hairs ended up to a huge ball of hair. After a few minutes all the hair was gone and the drains flowed freely. (09/26/2008)

By PICO

How Do You De-Clog a Sink Drain?

Sometimes I use Dawn and sometimes I use baking soda and vinegar and sometimes I use "Rid X", but it depends on the clog as to what is going to work. Hot water is hotter if you heat up sugar water and pour it directly down the drain. I do this in combination with the other "cures" when necessary. I never use bleach nor any harsh chemicals.


If these easy solutions do not work, your plumbing may not be getting enough air. Two home solutions are: use your shop vac and vacuum out your system by using duct tape to gradually reduce the size of your vacuum hose to dishwasher supply line size (feed this tube down the hole into the toilet tank or into the drain part of the toilet or sink or into the vent on top of your house); the other solution is to buy a "studor vent" (which works by gravity so be sure to install it upright) and talk to your journeyman plumber at Home Depot several times so that you use the easy fernco technique to install it.


This will give your system more air without having to open up your walls and replace old vents and sometimes keep you from having to go on the roof. I am an old woman journeyman plumber and often forget the words for things, but I can help you if you are patient with me. Sometimes I think baking soda and a cheap gallon of distilled vinegar from Save-a-Lot are really just giving the system temporary air (but I am not sure because this is also a very powerful cleaning and deodorizing combination, I know, because I first majored in science). A shop vac, used to suck out your system, sometimes works all by itself, also.

(09/30/2008)

By DebbyLynn

Unclogging a Bathroom Sink

I bought a product for less than $5 that I think was by the Drano company. Anyway, you covered the water vent and turned the can upside down and shot air into the clogged sink and it was amazing! The sink had been really jammed with hair and toothpaste. It is still clear and works great. (10/13/2008)

By Tracer5497

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September 24, 20080 found this helpful
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