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.
How can one clear an extremely slow bathroom sink drain without using caustic chemicals?
By Jay from Reston, VA
January 23, 2010
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.
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?
March 16, 2014
I meant to say drain cleaners, not drainers!
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?
December 17, 2012
I'm not sure what type of drain you have, but before calling a plumber (who will just run a snake down it if is just a clog), you can take a long narrow object like a kitchen knife and see if you can pull hair out. Keep pulling and pulling. Most of the time a clog is just a build up of hair and why spend the money on a plumber if you can reach it yourself?
How does one unclog a bathroom sink in which the stopper cannot be removed from the sink?
December 16, 2011
If you mean one of the metal stoppers that moves up and down with a lever on the top of the tap, or with a metal plunger, it is removable. It has a hook on the bottom that connects to a hook down in your drain, that connects to the plunger. You just have to turn it sideways to unhook it. Hooking it up again can be a problem, I have found, although my plumber friend did it for me in about 2 secs when he changed out my dripping taps.
Try plunging first. Then try something like Drano if plunging doesn`t cure the problem. If this is a bathroom sink, it likely has hair & soap scum & maybe whiskers clogging up the drain. If you can get the plug out, you can reach down with a wire hook or even an old tooth brush and scoop out the hair.
Do not bother with baking soda and vinegar. The chemical reaction that you get is merely carbon dioxide bubbles and the two products neutralizing each other, making salt water. How is that going to dissolve a hair clog!
By Icu3 2
My bathroom sinks keep clogging up, repeated use of Drano is not working. Help!
By Icu3 from Columbus
January 30, 2011
If the stopper in your sink doesn't pull out, you will need to get under the sink and undo what holds it in. Once you get that out you will probably find a lot of hair and gunk.
When the sink in the bathroom drains, the bathtub fills up with mucky black water. Then it slowly drains out of the bath tub.
March 28, 2015
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.
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
April 4, 2011
At some point you are going to need to change out the P trap. Look under your sink. You will see a nut that is just down from the sink. Then, you will see one just before the drain pipe enters into the wall. Put a bucket under this area. You should be able to do this by hand, turn the nuts to the left. If it is too difficult take a pair of grip plyers and carefully unscrew the nut. Do the same for the back one. You will see a washer that is attached to the pipes. In side the pipe is probably coated with drudge. Don't throw away the P trap just yet Go to a home center and buy one. The bathroom usually has a (1 1/4") diameter pipe, but some have a (1 1/2"). Take your P trap, nut, and washer to the store with you. The kit is about $10.00. Put it back together, making sure you screw the nut on correctly, and don't forget the washer. You just saved about $150.00 in plumbing repairs.
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.
January 28, 2015
It might be that a root has crimped or broken the drain line outside the wall. If you know someone with a power washer, a very quick spritz of that kind of pressure might help, but ultimately it might be time for some professional help. Good luck.
How do I unclog a drain?
January 14, 2010
Just this week I had the kitchen sink/garbage disposal side, back up. I poured a cup of baking soda ( in both sides of the sink ) followed by about 3-4 cups of white vinegar( I just poured if from the gal. jug) in the water that was standing there and turned on the hot water and garbage disposal and that worked right away. I let the water run in the disposal and then poured a couple of tablespoonsful of liquid dish soap with it.
Worked and No Plummer bill. GG Vi
Will washing baby powder down the drain cause drainage problems down the line?
February 16, 2015
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.)
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.
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
How do I unblock a bath\bathroom sink when water comes back up the bath plughole and smells disgusting?
My daughter and I have thick hair and constantly are clogging up our bathroom sink. I could not pull out the hair gunk with a tweezers because it is too deep. A light bulb went off in my head. I grabbed a melon baller and conveniently pulled up the ball of hair! No mess, and no need to call the plumber! No toxic cleaners needed either!
By AmyLucille from Fremont, OH
There are drains specifically for catching hair before it goes down the drain, seems like this would be easier. I see them a lot in catalogs. (09/20/2006)
How to unclog bathroom sink drain, would bleach help? Water just takes too long to drain. I just hope it wont need to be taken apart. if so, maybe a little help there too.
Dave from Galloway, OH
I purchase a gallon of vinegar from the grocery store and pour it down and sink and let it sit. It works for toilets too.
This method always works for me. Start with pouring at least half a box of baking soda into the drain and then proceed to pour an equal amount of vinegar (apple cider works best) down the drain on top of the baking soda. This produces a very fun (kind of like a volcano) action that seems to work at dissolving the scum in the drain. Wait about 15-20 to allow the mixture to really work and then pour very hot water down the drain. I very seldom have to repeat this process a second time and I do this about every three-four months and it seems to keep my drain running smoothly and also smelling nice. (03/07/2007)
Believe it or not, use Nair (the leg hair remover) to unclog the drain. Think about it, it dissolves the hair on your legs, right? Just put a bottle of it down your drain, let it sit for about half an hour, then put hot water down the drain, it will clean it out and keep working on the "gunk" further down the line as it continues to move down the pipes. DO NOT USE THIS ON SEPTIC TANKS! (03/07/2007)
Most likely the clog is hair and other gunk that has collected on the pivot rod that connects to the drain plug. What has to be done is look under the sink unscrew the pivot nut,pull out the pivot rod then lift out the drain plug.Clean the drain plug and the pivot rod and reassemble.Takes only a few minutes.I do it when ever the water starts to fill up in the sink with the drain plug open. (03/07/2007)
My nephew, who is a plumber, told me to pour bleach down the drain at least once a week. (03/08/2007)
By pam from bellwood, il
I haven't used any products for years. Instead, I bought a plunger with a short handle, which I labeled 'sink'. When the drain starts to slow, I just use the plunger. You'll need someone to plug the side holes with a towel. Keep one hand free to keep the sink closer open, plunge with your other hand and it'll work. I spent money, used the vinegar and baking soda, but buying this cheap plunger worked the best and it's still going strong! There's another post going around with clogged toilets and a lot of the replies are to use dish washing detergent. If you do a search, maybe you'll find a good response! (03/08/2007)
I bought an enzyme drain cleaner from the home improvement store. It is safe for septic tanks and old pipes. You just mix a cap full of the stuff with warm water, pour down the drain and let it sit over night. I like using this because it's natural - little bacteria are "activated" and "eat" the gunk in the pipes. Also, this way if you do end up having to take apart the trap, you won't have to deal with harsh chemicals. (03/08/2007)
I need help de-clogging my sink drain. I have a double sink, I just finished a load of clothes and both sides of the sink are clogged. Both sinks are full of water.
Use equal amounts of salt and baking soda. Stir them up and stuff as far down and as much as you can down the hole, then pour HOT water, almost boiling on top - you may have to wait a few minutes but IT WORKS! (12/14/2007)
I have had a few plumber friends who have told me the worst thing you can do to your plumbing is use something caustic like liquid plumber. Besides it's not good for the Earth.
I have purchased a long flat plastic flexible "stick" at ACE hardware stores for less than $3 that has "teeth" on each side. I stick it down the sink or tub drain twist it a smidgen and pull up and out of the drain.
You won't believe what you get, and you probably don't want to know.
Also, I have used an old WaterPik unit that we don't use on our teeth anymore and I squirt it down the sink toward the walls of the drain or plunger and wash away a lot of gunk that slows draining and can become smelly.
How do you unclog a bathroom sink?
Kathleen from Doylestown, PA
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
How do you clear a sluggish sink?
Larry from Elgin, IL
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
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)
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)
When all else fails use boiling water poured down the drain. (11/25/2008)
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)
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)
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)
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
How do you unclog a bathroom basin?
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)
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)