How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink
The Clogged Sink Conundrum
- By Mike Bowman
Everyone has had that terrible experience when the plumbing in their bathroom vanity sink is clogged, and nothing short of a professional plumber can get out that giant lump of God-knows-what that is stopping up the sink. Thankfully, these clogs only happen once in a lifetime, and most of the time you can easily unclog your bathroom sink with much less difficulty than you might imagine.
Locate the clog. Find out if the clog is in the drain trap at the top of the sink, or if it is located in the trap underneath. If your bathroom sink won’t drain but the toilet does, you can know that the problem is in the sink pipe itself. However, if all the drains are stopped up, you can know you are in for a serious problem.
Start with the easiest parts of the potential problem. Remove the hair from the drain trap near the top of the sink, using a pair of needle nosed pliers. This should take you a couple of minutes, after which you should run the water to see if it drains.
If the won’t drain properly, get out the sink plunger and try unclogging the bathroom sink plumbing with a few gentle pushes. You will hear the drain burble and bubble if the plunger unclogs the problem.
Remove the P-trap from underneath the sink. If your bathroom sink plumbing is PVC piping, you should have no problem removing it by hand. If it is metal pipes, you may need a pair of large jawed-pliers to get at it. Make sure to put a bucket underneath the pipe to catch the backflow of water. Clean all the gunk out of the P-trap, and make sure that water can flow through it easily before replacing it.
If the drain is still clogged, you will need a special plumbing snake or sink auger. This is inserted into the drain, and you will need to push it further into the drain until you find the blockage. Once you have found the blockage, try to get the auger through the clog and pull it back towards you to clear the drain.
Liquid drain cleaners are great if you can’t figure out where the problem is. However, it is essential that you be incredibly careful with the liquid drain cleaner, as it can cause serious burns on your skin if it comes in contact with it. Wear rubber gloves as you pour the liquid down the drain, and let the cleaner sit for the time specified on the bottle. (Note: Don’t use this liquid if the water is not draining at all, as the corrosive liquid can cause serious damage to the pipes if it sits) Once the clog has been melted, make sure to flush your plumbing system thoroughly to get rid of all the corrosive liquid.
Test to see if the blockage is gone. If none of this has solved the issue, it's time to call your local plumber! For more awesome bathroom repair articles and ideas, be sure to return to our main resources page or contact us!