5 Natural Ways to Unclog a Bathroom Sink
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Posted June 1, 2017
Sometimes a clogged bathroom sink requires more than the old school plunger or a dose of Drano. In fact, we’re going to teach you ways to unclog your drain.
Bathroom sinks can be tricky as hair, soap scum, toothpaste and other grooming chemicals can form a nearly impenetrable clog. But before you call out a plumber, there are a number of alternative methods of unclogging that are extremely easy and, best of all, inexpensive.
5 Natural Ways to Unclog a Bathroom Sink
Although we are focusing on bathroom sinks, many of these drain unclogging techniques can be applied to other drains as well.
The following methods are tried-and-true and none of them contain abrasive, poisonous chemicals:
1. Baking Soda and Vinegar
This is an old method of unclogging drains that has proven to be very effective in bathroom sinks. Simply mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar in a measuring cup.
This mixture will start to fizz immediately and should be promptly poured down the drain. The fizzing action is what helps remove the hair and grime so effectively. Let it sit for about an hour, then flush it out with hot water.
2. Baking Soda and Salt
Another effective combination is baking soda and salt. Mix 1/2 cup of each and pour the mixture into the drain.
Wait about fifteen minutes and then pour boiling water down the drain as well. All three components create a pretty aggressive chemical reaction and can unblock some of the tougher bathroom sink stoppages. Click here for 31 Surprising Uses for Baking Soda.
3. Boiling Water
This works surprisingly well with certain bathroom clogs – especially stoppages due to soap scum. Boiling water is most effective when there is a slow drain and not a lot of tepid water already sitting in the sink. Fill up a kettle or large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Pour the water into the drain in three or four different stages. If this method is going to work, the results should be fairly quick.
4. Wet and Dry Vacuum
A wet and dry shop vacuum is an ideal appliance to help with particularly stubborn clogs. You might need to create a seal for the hose to effectively suction out the blockage (such as the top of a plastic soda bottle or a plunger head). Set your vacuum to the highest liquids setting and let the shop-vac do the rest. The powerful suction is usually strong enough to dislodge whatever is clogging the plumbing.
5. Wire Hanger
This method is saved for last because it is the most involved. If you can unclog your drain using one of the methods above, you can avoid this project. If not, using a wire hanger should clear up the most stubborn of clogs.
Materials: wire hanger, pliers (to help bend the wire), rubber gloves, and container to catch excess water.
Use the image below as a reference:
- Turn off the water, clean out everything underneath the sink, position a bucket for excess water, and close the stopper completely.
- The next thing you need to do is remove the stopper in the bathroom sink. To do this, get under the sink and release the stopper by squeezing the spring clip to remove the pivot rod from the clevis strap. Once the pivot rod is removed from the clevis strap, the stopper should pop right up and out of your sink.
- This is where is gets gross, so make sure you have your rubber gloves on. With the stopper loosened, you can pull it out of the sink drain. This is where you need to clean the stopper mechanism of all dirt, hair, and debris. Do NOT turn on your bathroom sink to do this! If you need water, use a different sink to clean the stopper. Bleach and rubbing alcohol should help.
- After cleaning the stop-up mechanism, you will want to grab your wire hanger and bend it into a shape that will help you hook globs of hair and gunk. Think the shape a backscratcher or fishing hook. Once you have the right shape, lower the hook into the drain and once you feel a blockage, start twisting and moving the hanger to catch as much gunk as you can.
- Try to remove as much gunk as you can with the wire hanger. You can also use an old toothbrush to help clean the interior sides of the pipe. Some hair and gunk may also be able to be pulled out through the opening where the pivot rod was removed.
- If you think that there is a big clog in the P-bend of the pipe, where you can’t get to with the hanger, then you may need to unscrew the P-bend section of the pipe. This may or may not be necessary, depending on the seriousness of the clog.
- Put everything back together again. Run some hot water down the drain to test the results of all your hard work. After reassembling all of the pieces, while you are down there, inspect everything for leaks and corrosion.
Cleaning the Trap – The u-shaped pipe underneath the sink is called “the trap” and is a good place to start if you’re having trouble with a difficult clog. This method might sound a bit complicated, but it’s pretty simple and merely requires a bucket and a plumber’s wrench.
Put the bucket underneath the u-shaped pipe (to catch the water) and then loosen the slip nuts at both ends of the pipe. Remove the pipe and, if possible, empty whatever is inside into the bucket.
You might need a wire to dig around inside the pipe to remove the debris. After you’ve thoroughly cleaned out “the trap,” run some water through it and then reattach.
Watch this video to learn how to unclog your shower/tub drain:
If you try these methods and still can’t unclog your bathroom sink, contact Hiller today! Our professional plumbers will tackle your problem with 100% money-back guarantee.