Your bathroom sink drain comes in constant contact with waste and chemicals daily. Sooner rather than later, there will come a time when you will need to unclog your bathroom sink drain. One of the first things I had to rectify after moving into my new home last year was unclogging my bathroom sink drain. I remember washing my hands after a long day of unpacking and cleaning, and watching my sink fill with water the longer I kept the faucet open. Slowly but surely, the water drained from the sink. Giving me some solace that I did not have a complete blockage. Sink blockages are of two types – complete and partial.
In a partial blockage like mine, your sink will drain, but not at the highest level of efficiency. In such cases, you can use any of the various solutions mentioned below to unclog your sink drain. Being that the clogs are small and liquid can drain through them and flush them out, you don’t always need to open your pipes.
Conversely, in a complete blockage, there will be no drainage at all. The best solution in that scenario is to get your hands dirty and clean your pipes. It is not advised to pour solutions or other liquids down your drain if you suspect a complete blockage. Liquids can collect in your pipes and remain stagnant, adding to the already present clog. Avoid using chemical cleaners at all costs during a complete blockage to avoid damage to your pipes.
IMPORTANT TIP – Chemical cleaners can damage PVC pipes. There are numerous other ways to unclog your sink instead of using chemicals. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, use them at your discretion if need be.
Whenever dealing with a sink clog, your first step should be to remove the bathroom sink stopper. Removing the stopper gives you the ease of access to your sink drain. Many solutions to unclog your bathroom sink drain required pouring liquids or solutions through your sink drain, with the stopper removed, it makes the process easier.
Additionally, after removing the stopper, you are bound to notice some gunk stuck near your sink drain. Gunk is the combination of all the waste products that drain through your sink. Using a cloth or paper towel, wipe any gunk within reach of your fingers.
There are numerous remedies to unclog your bathroom sink drain. Given that I had PVC pipes, I refrained from using chemical cleaners as they can damage my pipes. Observing the drainage of your sink, you can make a good guess about the clog’s location.
Prominent locations for bathroom sink clogs are –
- Sink Drain
- Drain tailpipe
- Main drain line
Drainage in my sink was consistent but slow. And water only began to fill in my sink a few seconds after I opened the faucet. This gave me the impression that the clog was somewhere further than my tailpipe. If there were a clog in my sink drain, water would start collecting in my sink the moment I opened the faucet.
Hence, as I mentioned earlier, the first step in understanding your clog location is to observe your drainage. Banking on my hunch of the clog being in my P-trap, I got to work to unclog my bathroom sink.
Whenever you work with plumbing, it is best to shut-off the main water valves. These are located under your sink. Additionally, place a bucket under your pipes to collect any water or waste. I have provided a list of tools that I used to unclog my bathroom sink drain. Depending on the clog type, you have, review the list, and have the necessary tools at your disposal before beginning.
Average Cost To Unclog Bathroom Sink Drain
Unclogging your sink is an inexpensive task if you only need to clean your pipes. Depending on the clog’s location and severity, the total cost will vary between $20-$100
Locating the clog and following the required unclogging method can take up to an hour. It is essential to be patient in the process and firmly re-attach all pipe connections when needed. Additionally, multiple clogs can be present in your pipes. Take time to thoroughly inspect your pipes.
Tools & Materials
Removing Clog With Boiling Water
Heat from boiling water can dissolve small clogs in your pipes.
- Take 1 liter of water in a pan and keep it on the stove until it comes to a roaring boil
- Pour the water slowly into your sink drain. Maintain a constant stream of water until you have poured all the water.
- If the water is removing the clogs, you will notice your sink draining better than before.
- Repeat this process once or twice to remove the clog completely.
- Conversely, if your sink continues to fill with water, stop pouring water.
- Let all the water drain and try the next method to remove the clog.
Removing clog with Natural Remedies
Chemical clog removers are effective in dissolving clogs. However, with overuse, they can damage your pipes. If you have PVC pipes, avoid using chemical cleaners. Instead, use the combination of baking soda and white vinegar.
- Using a funnel, pour about 1/4th cup of baking soda into your drain.
- Additionally, pour about one to two cups of white vinegar into the drain.
- Plug your sink by dropping your sink stopper into the sink drain or use a cloth.
- After allowing the mixture to work for 20 minutes, pour a liter of boiling water into the sink.
- While pouring water into the sink, notice how well your sink is draining compared to before.
- If the drainage has improved, repeat this process.
If natural solvents fail to remove the clog, you can opt to use chemical cleaners. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, use the advised amount to unclog your sink.
Removing Clog with Plunger
Using a plunger to dislodge a clog in your pipes is a useful method. Sink plungers are different than the ones you use for your toilet. They are smaller to cater to the small sink drain opening. Following the steps given below, unclog your bathroom sink drain with a plunger –
- Pour a couple of glasses of water in your sink.
- As the water is draining, plug the drain with your plunger. Ideally, the water should cover 1 -2 inches of the bottom of your plunger.
- Using the plunger, create a vacuum at the sink drain.
- Rhythmically plunge your sink for 15 – 30 seconds. Rather than focusing on applying excessive force, maintain a rhythmic motion while plunging.
- Remove the plunger and check how well your sink is draining.
- If you notice an improvement, repeating the process can help to remove the clog completely.
- If you notice no improvement, let the water drain and try a different method.
Wet Vacuum Method
If none of the above-mentioned solutions have proved to be fruitful, it’s time for you to try the wet vacuum method to unclog your bathroom sink drain.
- Locate the P-trap underneath your sink. It will connect at one end to your sink tailpipe and on the other end to the main drain line.
- If you have PVC pipes, unscrew the slip-nuts by hand. Conversely, for metal pipes, using a wrench is required.
- Plug your sink drain from the top using your sink stopper or a damp cloth.
- Attaching your vacuum hose to the end of the sink tailpipe, ensure that the connection is firm to avoid spilling waste.
- Adjusting your vacuum setting to “wet” pulse your drain a couple of times.
- The clog, being dislodged, will be audible. Continue pulsing the drain until you have been successful in dislodging the clog from your tailpipe.
- Additionally, check your P-trap for debris or waste. Remove any visible waste from the P-trap and clean it thoroughly using soap and water before re-attaching.
- Once you have re-attached all pipe connections, open the faucet and let the water run for a couple of minutes.
- If the sink is draining smoothing, you have successfully unclogged your sink.
- Conversely, if the clog persists, it’s time to snake your drain!
Snaking Your Drain
If your sink is clogged after trying all the above-mentioned methods, it means that the clog is located further down your main drain line. Similar to the previous method, you will need to remove your P-trap to snake your drain. Following the instructions below, use your plumber’s snake to unclog your bathroom sink drain –
- Loosening the setscrew at the tip of the snake pull out 6 to 10 inches of the cable.
- Threading the snake’s tip into your drain stub-out, turn the crank clockwise to feed the snake into the drainpipe.
- As the snake progresses into the drainpipe, you will feel an obstruction. Continue to feed the snake through the clog.
IMPORTANT TIP – The snake tip is designed to corkscrew through clogs and around corners. To remove the clog completely, push the snake through the length of the clog.
- Stop feeding the snake when you feel a reduction in resistance. This means that you have reached the end of the clog.
- Turn the crank counterclockwise to pull the clog out of the pipe.
- Clean your snake thoroughly by removing all the waste from its tip and body.
- Repeat this procedure 2-3 times until you no longer feel the blockage.
- Re-assemble the trap and run warm water for a couple of minutes to flush the line.
Frequently Asked Questions: How To Unclog Bathroom Sink Drain
Which method is the best for unclogging my sink?
The best method for you will depend on the location and severity of your clog. If none of the natural remedies work, your best bet will be to open your pipes and clean the clog.
Can there be multiple clogs in my drain?
Yes, with poor maintenance of your pipes, multiple clogs can emerge in your drain. Following the solutions mentioned above you can remove the clogs.