If you want to learn how to fix a clogged bathroom sink, begin with the first step: figure out where the blockage might be. Once you know where it is, you can handle any kind of bathroom sink clog.
Here are 3 incredibly easy DIY methods for unclogging a bathroom sink.
Where is My Bathroom Sink Clogged?
Your clog could be anywhere along the three main sections of a household drain system:
- In the fixture drain
- In the drain stack, which services multiple fixtures
- Or in the main sewer line, which carries waste out of the house and property
If your sink is backed up, first check the other drains in your home. Something is probably stuck in a drain stack if more than one is clogged. And if all your drains are clogged, the problem is even further down the line, probably in the main sewer line. For these two “deeper” clogs, you’ll probably need a plumber.
However, the problem often occurs close to a fixture because the drain pipe and trap near the fixture are narrower than the stack and main sewer lines. Fortunately, this makes it easier for homeowners to get to the problem and fix it themselves.
How to Fix a Clogged Bathroom Sink
Here are 3 incredibly easy ways to unclog a bathroom sink. It should take less than 1-2 hours for even a beginner to perform each of these methods. No special skills are needed but you should have a screwdriver, plunger, and auger on hand.
1. Clean the Strainer
- Sometimes, clearing a sink is as easy as removing the strainer (also called a drain or sink “stopper”) from the drain opening.
- Pull the stopper up and clear away soap, hair, or other debris that clogs the opening or dangles into the drain. Hair is the most common culprit.
- Replace the stopper once cleaned and test the drain.
- If that didn’t work, move on to Method #2.
2. Plunge the Sink
Before you can plunge or auger a bathroom (or kitchen) sink, you must remove the strainer. In a bathroom, some strainers lift straight out. Others require a slight turn before they lift out. With some, you must pull out the pivot rod before the stopper will come out. In any case, you’ll need to do this first. Once done, move on to these steps:
- A plunger uses water pressure to push out obstructions. And it uses suction to bring them back up.
- The plunger’s seal must seal tightly around the drain opening.
- Water in the sink helps create a seal; petroleum jelly around the rim of the plunger also helps create a watertight seal.
- Stuff a rag into any openings, such as the overflow drain, then push and pull rapidly with the plunger.
- More detailed instructions on how to properly use a plunger are in the Related Resources section below.
3. Auger the Sink
- If plunging fails, fit an auger down the drain.
- Cranking the auger handle rotates a stiff spring that bores through stubborn blockages.
- The auger might push a blockage through or it might snack a blockage that you can pull up and out.
- In the Related Resources seciton below, we include an in-depth article on how to properly use an auger to remove a clog.
There are lots of methods homeowners and plumbers use to unclog a drain. But the easy ones — those drains that are clogged nearer the fixture — can almost always be unclogged with one of the above 3 methods.
- How to use a plunger correctly
- Here’s how to use a drain auger properly
- How to naturally unclog a drain
- Are chemical cleaners safe? The truth!
- Everything to know about a sink trap
- How to clean out a trap
- 5 Easy Ways to Unclog a Kitchen Sink
- How to Use a Drain Snake to Unclog a Bathroom Sink
- How to Unclog Hair from Drain (2 Tips)
- 5 Ways to Clean Hair Out of Your Shower Drain
1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.