Fixing a Clogged Sink

Everyone gets a clogged bathroom sink from time to time. It’s inevitable, as things like hair, soap, makeup and random other things get rinsed down on a daily basis. Fortunately, unclogging it is pretty easy and can be done in no time. There are a few different methods you can use, but they all start with the same first step.

Keep in mind that you’ll want a wad of paper towels or a plastic bag to hold the gunk you pull out!

Remove the Stopper

The stopper does a pretty good job of keeping you away from the clogged pipe, so you’ll need to remove it before moving on. Simply grab it and pull up to see if you can lift it. If you can, great- your life is easy. If you can’t, then you’ll need to do a little work under the sink to release it. There’s a pivot rod holding the stopper in place, and they’re held together by a nut. Remove the nut, and then you should be able to slide the stopper off the pivot rod.

And yes, the bottom of the stopper will probably be kinda nasty, so you will want to put it in your plastic bag or on the paper towels.

Now let’s talk about the various options you have to unclog the sink:

Method #1: The Bent Wire Hanger

This is probably the most popular way to unclog a sink, and for good reason. There’s a good chance you have a wire clothes hanger around the house you don’t need. This is a perfect tool for cleaning out drains because it provides a solid, long tool you can maneuver and hook the gunk with.

The first step is to remove the straight piece of the hanger. You can either cut it with wire cutters or keep bending it back and forth until it breaks. If you have to bend it, use pliers- it will get pretty hot and could hurt your hand if you do it without a tool.

Next, bend one end into a small handle- this isn’t required, but it will help you hold it. Then bend the other end into a very small loop or hook. You want it to be small enough that it won’t get caught in the drain, but it needs to be large enough that it can catch the gunk in the drain.

Holding the handle, stick the hook into the drain and start fishing around. If you have a flashlight, you will be able to see much better and can find the clog quickly. Once you hook it, simply pull it up, put the nastiness aside (in your bag or on the paper towels), and then dive back in.

Once you can’t find anymore, you’ll want to flush some hot water down to make sure it runs correctly. Note that you may want to put the stopper/pivot rod back in place first, just to make sure you don’t splash water out of the open pipe under the sink.

Method #2: Vinegar and Baking Soda

Some people love this method, others haven’t had as much success. It mainly depends on what is clogging up your sink. If hair is the culprit, this method may work, but another method will probably work better.

If you decide to give it a try, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • 2 cups of white vinegar (heated up)
  • 2 cups of boiling hot water

The first step is to pour the baking soda down the drain, followed by the vinegar. It will fizzle and bubble up, indicating that it’s eating away at the mess clogging up the drain. Wait 1-2 minutes, and then pour the hot water down the drain.

If a horrible smell comes from the drain, you can put a few drops of lemon juice down the drain after you’ve rinsed the baking soda and vinegar away.

Method #3: Plunger

Most people only think of using a plunger for the toilet, but it can work wonders on a clogged bathroom sink as well. The important thing is to start by using a wet washcloth to plug the overflow drain at the top of the sink, and put some petroleum jelly on the bottom of the plunger, where it touches the sink. These will help create an airtight seal so the plunger can do its job.

Run some water down the drain, then turn it off and place the plunger over the hole. Use the plunger several times quickly to suck up the clog, then grab the clog with a pair of pliers.

Try running the water again- if it’s still slow, repeat the process.

Still Having Trouble?

There are other methods you can try, such as pouring a lot of boiling hot water down the drain, using a wet and dry vacuum to suck up the clog, or manually taking the pipes apart and cleaning them.

But if you try several things and aren’t having any luck- consider calling a plumber. While a clogged bathroom sink isn’t usually something to worry about, it’s also extremely annoying and will only get worse if it’s not fixed!