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Clearing a Clogged Bathroom Sink

Category Plumbing
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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December 1, 20121 found this helpful

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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December 3, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hair dye is a liquid. It would not have clogged your sink. Most likely hair has clogged your sink. Have you tried using a drain cleaner such as draino or liquid plumber?

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December 4, 20120 found this helpful
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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.

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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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By 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 19, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try with a mix of :
2 cups water + 1/4 cup vinegar + 2 Tsp. soup

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Mix in a bottle and spray into the sink hall

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January 20, 20100 found this helpful
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Pour some Dawn dish detergent in the drain. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. Follow it with a kettle of hot water and use the plunger. Put your finger in the air vent or plug the hole so the plunger can get suction. Works for me!!

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful
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Thanks to all for their suggestions. I tried the vinegar and baking soda and detergent and hot water ideas to no avail because the drain was too far gone. Finally had to use the pipe wrench solution and clean out the trap by hand, which was filled with thick black sludge. I will try the suggestions for keeping the drain clear now!

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January 21, 20100 found this helpful
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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.

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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
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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, 20110 found this helpful

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
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Throw in some baking soda about 1/4 cup add to that vinegar about a cup. there will be a chemical reaction which should loosen the debris clog. With that then allow hot water to rinse drain. Hope this helps.

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December 12, 20110 found this helpful
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You may have to go into the pipes under sink they should screw off have a bucket to catch water if any and clean out the pipe.Try plunging first block the overfill drain if you have one just put a small dry cloth to plug the hole.

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December 14, 20110 found this helpful
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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.

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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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December 16, 20110 found this helpful
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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.

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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!

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By 0 found this helpful
January 28, 2011

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

By Icu3 from Columbus

Answers

January 28, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try a foaming drain cleaner. One that says it will remove hair and sludge (gunk) such as liquid plumber.
Good luck.

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Anonymous
January 28, 20110 found this helpful
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It's really easy, I promise! Being that it's a bathroom sink it's probably just hair with gunk buildup clogging it. In most cases the clog is just within an inch or so below the sink level. Instead of continuing to use chemicals, especially if the pipes are not PVC, just remove the sink draining stopper, take some sort of heavy duty wire (like a wire clothes hanger) and make a small fish hook style hook at one end of the wire and then put it down the drain and start pulling the hair and gunk out. If it's one of the kind of sink stoppers that you can't get removed by turning and lifting then you'll just have to have a little more patience with maneuvering the wire down and back out with the hair and gunk build up. Take a deep breath if you have a weak stomach when you see whats doing the clogging. ;-)

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January 29, 20110 found this helpful
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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
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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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March 13, 20140 found this helpful

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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January 26, 20150 found this helpful

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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By 0 found this helpful
January 8, 2010

How do I unclog a drain?

By Laurie

Answers

January 8, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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 14, 20100 found this helpful
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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

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November 28, 20130 found this helpful

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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By 0 found this helpful
May 2, 2016

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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Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

January 17, 2019

My bathroom sink had been draining slowing for a while and it was finally time to figure it out. I found a recipe on ThriftyFun for homemade Drano, using salt, baking soda, vinegar and water. It didn't go quite as planned but we were successful in the end.

Link: Homemade Drano

Steps:

  1. First, I added 1 cup of plain salt, pouring it down the drain and letting it mound up. I then put a cup of baking soda on top of the pile.
  2. Next, I added 1/2 cup of vinegar. I used apple cider but white would work just as well. It foamed up for a while.
  3. This is after boiling water was added to the drain. I used a full electric kettle, probably about 2 quarts. I was a bit concerned about the porcelain cracking, as is reported sometimes with toilets. I think it is the temperature difference that causes the porcelain to expand. But the sink seemed fine.

    The initial water is yellow because of the apple cider vinegar but later is due to the clogged pipe. The boiling water would also make it foam up.
  4. I let it sit for about an hour and then repeated the process as it was obviously doing something. Nearly all the water had drained out but there was a lot of gunk that had bubbled up. I had an appointment that afternoon so I figured I would leave it and deal with it when I got home.
  5. Somehow, the sink looked WORSE when I got home. It hadn't drained nearly as much as the first time and wasn't draining at all now. It was also disgusting, with dead drain flies and rusty colored sludge. My husband had left for work but there was evidence that he had cleaned up some new mess in the bathroom. I got out the plunger to see if I could unblock it and discovered what mess he must have cleaned up. Water shot directly out of the overflow drain all over the backsplash. He was at work until late and I have little plumbing experience so I decided to leave it until he got home and discuss it with him later.
  6. Hours later, the water level looked basically the same. I was inclined to go and buy a plumber's snake but my husband recommended removing the P-trap under the sink first. If the blockage was past the trap, we could then snake farther down the pipe.
  7. We first placed a dishpan and towel under the sink, to catch the water that was definitely going to drain out.
  8. The P-trap simply unscrewed, requiring no tools. I probably would have attempted this the night before had I realized how simple it was. The gross dirty water all dumped down into the dishpan.
  9. There was a sizeable chunk of hair in the trap, as you can see. I have long hair and both of my teenage sons do as well. We also have a dog that sheds everywhere. I suspect they have not been too careful about making sure the hair doesn't get in the drain and it accumulated. It probably was mostly on the sides of the drain before I used the homemade Drano.
  10. Once everything was back together, the sink drained perfectly. I'm going to use the homemade Drano recipe on a regular basis to keep this from getting clogged again. I also did my bathtub at the same time, just in case.
  11. Next, I need to bleach the worn porcelain, which has some dirty yellow spots. I'm planning on painting the sink and replacing the faucet, which we purchased months ago. I will post about that when it gets done (assuming it turns out).
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By 2 found this helpful
March 20, 2018

Find the overflow outlet for the sink. Then cover the overflow outlet using duct tape or something similar. Get some water in the sink bowl and use a plunger. The tape over the overflow vents will stop air from entering as you are using the plunger. This will work for a bathtub.

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January 16, 20120 found this helpful

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.

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July 13, 20170 found this helpful

If your sink is not draining you may need to call a plumber but a good plunging may do the trick. This is a guide about how do I clear standing water in bathroom sink drain?

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 8, 20100 found this helpful

How do I unclog a bathroom drain?

Kathy from Fort Myers, FL

Answers:

Unclogging Stubborn Bathroom Drain

Try pouring 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain, then quickly pour 1 cup of vinegar and close the drain as fast as you can. Let sit for about ten minutes and flush with hot water. Sometimes bathroom sinks get plugged with hair that is just below the drain, you can't see it in the pipes. Try using a piece of wire to poke in the drain and pull up any hair that might be there.
Good luck. (09/16/2008)

By LEONA LABINE

Unclogging Stubborn Bathroom Drain

Maybe try using a drain snake.
Good luck. (09/19/2008)

By Denise Houston

Unclogging Bathroom Drain

I read an article in Readers Digest last week about a family who wants to stop spending so much money. He said he went to thriftyfun.com and was told to pour Dawn dishwashing liquid into the drain followed by a lot of boiling water. He said it worked like a charm. Good luck.

Editor's Note: I talked to the author on the phone and told him that had worked for me declogging a kitchen drain. It has been very effective in unclogging toilets, but I've found it does work for other drains as well.

If the drain is clogged with hair however, the hair should be removed with a hook on a coat hanger first, for bath and bathroom sink drains. (10/01/2008)

By sherry noah

Unclogging Bathroom Drain

I have lived in this apartment for 4 years, and always had a slow drain. The other night the handle thing that lowers and brings the drain up, stopped working. The maintenance man said that is what made it drain so slow. It works fine now, since he replaced the drain plug. (10/02/2008)

By Leann

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January 28, 20110 found this helpful

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 Keeper

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 Susan

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January 19, 20100 found this helpful

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 Derek 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 Frances Adams

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 LEONA LABINE

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 Patricia Hamm

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 Betty

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 C.

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