How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink: 2 Effective, Natural Methods
4 min read • November 1st, 2023
4 min read • November 1st, 2023
Is your bathroom sink is sluggish? If so, you can try a few effective DIY remedies before calling in a professional.
In this video, Master Plumber Ike Bagley shares how to unclog a bathroom sink with two natural and effective methods. You’ll learn how to use a plunger to eliminate standing water and how to clean a P-trap, which will keep your drains from clogging in the future. If you’re interested in learning how to clean your sink with a snake, read our other article.
If your bathroom sink is clogged, it’s likely due to an accumulation of soap scum, hair, toothpaste or anything that might fall into your drain during everyday use. The buildup turns into biofilm, which can easily clog your drain.
The best way to keep your drains from clogging is to avoid flushing any hair down your sink. You can also run clean water every so often to flush the pipes. This will prevent biofilm and bacteria from becoming lodged in your drain.
Using a plunger is the first thing you should do to clean your drain. Simply fill your sink with water and plunge it like you’re plunging a toilet.
1. Put a bucket beneath the P-trap (located under your sink) to catch water that will leak when you disassemble it in the following steps.
2. Disassemble the P-trap by removing the nuts on either end of the trap with pliers. You’ll turn the lower nut (the one toward the back) to the left (counterclockwise) and the top nut to the right (clockwise). Once the nuts are loose, finish removing them by hand. Once you remove the nuts, water will come out of the P-trap.
3. Pull the P-trap off the pipe by gently working it away from the pipe, twisting back and forth. It might feel tight but don’t yank it.
4. Disassemble the nut behind the pop-up assembly. Twist the nut clockwise by hand, and remove it by pulling the pop-up rod out of the assembly.
5. Pull the pop-up (located at the bottom of your sink) out of the assembly. Next, stick a wad of toilet paper into the drain. Use a screwdriver to push it down, forcing the build-up out of the bottom of the pop-up assembly.
6. Clean the biofilm off of the pop-up with a rag. Then, clean the P-trap. Wipe the beveled edges and threads (where it seals to the pipe) with a rag. Also, wipe the threads of the pipe where the P-trap attaches. This will help it seal to the P-trap. If the P-trap is caked with biofilm, take it outside and run a hose through it. If it looks relatively clean inside, reattach it to the drain.
7. Paint pipe thread sealant against the bevel and threads of the P-trap and drain pipe.
8. Line up the P-trap with the drain pipe. Make sure it’s correctly in place before screwing the nuts back on. Take your time. If you rush this step, you could break the fixtures.
9. After the P-trap is in place, tighten the nuts by hand. Finish tightening with your pliers by giving it a small crank. Be sure not to over-tighten.
10. Insert pop-up into the sink. Look beneath the sink for the bottom of the pop-up. Push the pop-up rod into the back of the assembly, then tighten the nut. (At this point, you’re doing everything you did to disassemble the fixtures in reverse.)
11. Make sure everything is connected and operating as it should. Move the pull rod (located in between the faucet valves) up and down to ensure it’s attached to the pop-up. The pop-up should also move up and down, confirming the linkage assembly is connected correctly. Tug on the pop-up to make sure it’s firmly hooked to the assembly.
12. Turn the sink on. Look underneath and feel under the P-trap and around the connections to make sure it stays dry.
13. Double-check there are no leaks by closing the pop-up and filling the sink with water. Then drain it, inspecting the P-trap with your hand once again. If you notice any moisture, you could have a leak. If so, you’ll need to disassemble the P-trap and realign it with the drain pipe to get a better seal.
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