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May 15, 2022

How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink - 8 DIY Methods That Work

Is your bathroom or kitchen sink clogged? It can be a hassle when you’re faced with a stubborn clog in your bathroom sink. Many bathroom sink clogs are a result of any combination of hair, dirt, and skin flakes that bind with soap scum that accumulates on the walls of the drain pipes. It can be easy to unclog a bathroom sink with DIY methods – just follow the quick tips we have available on this page, and watch our short video for help. These DIY drain clearing methods range from simple household solutions to more creative techniques on helping you bust those tough drain clogs.

The best method to unstop a bathroom sink may depend on what’s clogging it. You can flush soap scum clogs with vinegar and baking soda or for bigger clogs, a plunger or drain snake work best.  Finding out why your drain is clogged is the best way to figure out how to unclog it.

What are The Main Causes of Bathroom Sink Clogs?

  • Soap Scum
  • Hair
  • Hygiene & Grooming Products
  • Damaged Pipes or P-Trap
  • Main Line Clog
  • Oil or Grease

8 Ways to Unclog a Bathroom Sink

If you find yourself needing to do a quick DIY drain clear, it is important to know a few quick and easy methods to unclog your sink. These methods should work on any clogged drain, such a kitchen sink or bathtub – not just bathroom sinks.

1. Enzymatic Drain Cleaners

Many plumbers recommend the use of enzymatic drain cleaners to clear clogged drains. Chemical drain cleaners may be effective at cleaning your drainpipes thoroughly, but at the cost of causing potential damage to the system over time. The strong chemical content can harm the insides of the pipes and also release dangerous fumes. Enzymatic drain cleaner don’t have chemical components, but instead contain bacteria cultures as well as concentrated enzymes that respond to the presence of organic substances. The enzymes or bacteria that are found in these cleaners will feed on organic materials that range from your hair to food waste to mold. The organisms then digest these waste substances and reproduce & spread the good bacteria throughout your drainage system.

2. Baking Soda & Vinegar to Clear a Drain Clog

A tried & true method of clearing drain clogs, and one using materials most likely to be found in your kitchen cabinets, is the baking soda & vinegar method.  When baking soda & vinegar react, it creates a neutralized reaction that helps to flush material clinging to the pipes in your bathroom sink. all you need to do is mix around 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar in a cup. You’ll have to immediately pour this solution down the drain to be effective. Rinse with hot water after about an hour.

Lifestyle How to Clean White Shoes Using Supplies From Your Pantry 112 scaled

3. Unclogging a Sink Drain with a Plunger

Did you know that some plungers are designed to specifically be used for unclogging sink drains? Sink plungers do not have a “flange” on the end, and instead have a wider mouth for effective sink clearing.

To clear the drain clog, simply place the plunger over the drain and use it like you would when plunging a toilet. This may cause clogs to back up out of the sink, so be prepared to clear & clean it out after plunging.

sink plunger vs toilet plunger AWesleyFloyd Shutterstock

4. Use Boiling Water to Unclog a Drain

Using boiling water to unstop a bathroom sink is a highly effective method that helps to flush clogs through your pipes. This method works best with clogs caused by soap scum, and for sinks that aren’t already full of standing water. All you need to do is simply bring a pot of water to a boil, and then slowly pour it down the drain once it has reached a rolling boil. You may have to repeat this a few times to fully clear the drain clog. Boiling water won’t hurt your pipes in the bathroom sink, and you can repeat this method as many times as needed.

5. Unclog Your Sink with a Drain Snake

Drain snakes or “plumber’s snakes” are tools that can be purchased at your local hardware store. Drain snakes have a coiled metal wire with a broader gap at the end. To use it, you must simply turn a crank to rotate the wire as it moves through your drain pipe.

If the clog is caused by a dense, but shred able obstacle, the drain snake can break it up enough to enable flow. An obstruction like hair might be snagged or corkscrewed by the auger, enabling the operator to pull it away. As the auger rotates, it also flails against the interior walls of the pipe, scraping off soap scum, hard minerals and oil.

Tip: You may need to remove your P-Trap to remove any clogs built up to that point.

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6. Use a Wet Dry Vacuum to Unstop the Sink

Do you have access to a wet/dry vacuum (think ShopVac)? If you do, or if you can get to a hardware or big box store that offers rentals, this can be a very effective method at quickly clearing a clogged drain. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to remove a clog using a wet/dry vacuum.

  • Set up your wet dry vacuum for wet use. You will need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper usage. Proceed to place the hose end at the entrance of the drain, then create a tight seal around the end of the hose and the drain. Then you’ll need to turn on the vacuum to the highest setting. This pressure from the vacuum should dislodge the clog in your bathroom sink.

If you are unable to unclog your sink or other drain using a ShopVac or Wet Dry Vacuum, then you might have a more serious problem that requires you to call a professional plumber near you.

7. Clean out the P-Trap

One common reason for sink clogs is due to material like hair and soap scum becoming lodged in the “P-Trap” under the sink. It is quite literally shaped like the letter “P.” A P-trap is a plumbing fixture that has several purposes. It traps debris that has drained from the sink and prevents it from forming a clog deep within the plumbing system, and the most critical task of the p-trap is to prevent noxious gases such as methane from making their way into a home. These traps also allow homeowners to quickly and easily recover small items that fall down the drain. Long story short, they’re an integral part of modern plumbing design.

Regular drain cleaning keeps p-traps in good shape. It prevents sewer gas from rising up through the drain. After water runs through the drainpipe, some water will remain in the curved section of the p-trap, stopped by gravity.

Unclog a Sink

  • Plumbing codes require a P-trap be installed anywhere there is an open drain line that expels wastewater into a drain waste-vent system.

8. Call A Local Plumber

When the above methods don’t seem to work, you may have a clog that is too tough to handle with every day tools & cleaners. At this point, you should call a local, licensed plumber like Paschal Air, Plumbing & Electric. If you find yourself in this situation, give us a call at 479-202-8961 so that our expert plumbers can help you flush your problems down the drain!