Clearing a Clogged Bathroom Sink

Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
January 17, 2019

A slow draining sink.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


  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. A pile of salt and baking soda piled in a sink drain.
  3. 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.
  4. Adding vinegar to the baking soda and salt cause the mixture to foam up.
    Adding vinegar to the baking soda and salt cause the mixture to foam up.
  5. 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.
  6. Adding boiling water to help clear blocked drain.

  7. 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.
  8. A collection of dirt and drain flies that came up from the drain as it cleared.
  9. 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.
  10. Clearing a Clogged Sink Drain

  11. 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.
  12. The sink is not draining the next morning.
  13. We first placed a dishpan and towel under the sink, to catch the water that was definitely going to drain out.
  14. Placing a dishpan under the ptrap to catch any liquid.
  15. 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.
  16. A dishpan full of dirty water and clogged hair.

  17. 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.
  18. A large wad of hair that has been removed from the drain.
  19. 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.
  20. Placing thread seal tape on the threads before putting the ptrap back together.

  21. 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).
Clearing a Clogged Sink Drain
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21 Questions

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December 1, 2012

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?




Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
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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January 19, 2010

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

By Jay from Reston, VA


January 19, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try with a mix of :
2 cups water + 1/4 cup vinegar + 2 Tsp. soup
Mix in a bottle and spray into the sink hall

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 418 Posts
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. 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, 2011

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


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January 28, 2011

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

By Icu3 from Columbus


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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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
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, 2014

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?


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January 26, 2015

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 8, 2010

How do I unclog a drain?

By Laurie


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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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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 288 Posts
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, 2013

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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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?


May 5, 20160 found this helpful

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

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More Solutions

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

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, 2012

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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