The warning signs are there: pooling water and a gurgling sound. Perhaps there is even a foul odor rising up from the drain. Yes, these point to something every homeowner dreads—a sink clog. Leaving a clog alone and letting it worsen is never a wise decision, because it can open the door to more catastrophic water damage. So, if you want to get rid of those clogs, you need to first diagnose the problem then get to work unclogging your bathroom sink.
Here is everything you need to know to do exactly that.
What Are The Reasons For Clogged Bathroom Sinks?
It may be surprising how swiftly a bathroom sink can get clogged up, but it is generally caused by four things:
Something Caught in the P-Trap
The p-trap is that curved piece right below the sink that is designed to trap noxious fumes from rising back into your home. The p-trap also has water, to create suction, and sometimes it gets congested with other things as well. Smaller items sometimes fall down the drain, like tiny caps, soap, rings, and the like. If these things can get stuck in the p-trap, it could cause clogs.
As the result of a chemical reaction between soap and the calcium and magnesium present in water, soap scum becomes a problem when it gathers alongside hair and other objects in the drain.
When wet, hair clumps together and gets tangled up. Sometimes, it will catch on the walls of the pipes, where it gathers even more hair and soap scum. All kinds of hair can clump in the drain, including facial hair and animal fur. Be sure to clean your drains of hair regularly or use a strainer over the drain to prevent hair from going down.
Corrosion, rust, dents, and even old pipe joints can lead to clogs. While you cannot always prevent pipe damage, especially to older pipes, you can do routine maintenance and also replace any that are beginning to fail. If you can’t call in a professional.
How to Unclog a Bathroom Drain?
Once you have diagnosed the reason behind your clogged drain, you can select the right method for removing the clog easily. If you don’t know the reason behind the congestion, you can run through this list from start to finish—just to be safe.
You will notice that every method on this list uses natural remedies and never chemical cleaners. There is a reason for that. The harsh chemicals used in drain solutions can damage the inside of the pipes, creating an even bigger problem for you to deal with. Plus, the chemicals are not environmentally friendly.
So, with that in mind, here are several ways to unclog a bathroom sink:
Baking soda and vinegar
- Unscrew the drain and remove the stopper.
- Measure out 1 cup of vinegar and ½ cup of baking soda.
- Pour the ½ cup of baking soda down the drain first.
- Next, pour the vinegar.
- Let the mixture sit for at least several minutes, letting it fizz. Once the fizzing stops, run hot water.
- Repeat 2-3 times.
If baking soda and vinegar fail to work, you can also try boiling water. Pour it down after the baking soda and vinegar in intervals. Another liquid that works well is sodium hydroxide (or caustic soda). Leave it to sit around 30 minutes before using the drain.
If you notice that there is a large amount of hair clogging up the drain, do the following:
- Remove the drain and the sink stopper.
- Check with a flashlight to see where the hair is located.
- If the hair is close enough to get with a finger or fuzzy pipe cleaner, pull it out that way. Optionally, you can use a pair of tweezers.
- Can’t see the hair? A wire hanger can be of use.
- Slide the tool along the drain as far as it naturally goes. Do not force it, because you could damage the pipe.
- Push the tool around to get different angles.
- Repeat several times. Run some hot water in between attempts.
Use a plunger
- Grab a cup plunger and remove the drain and stopper.
- Seal the overflow outlet in the sink with either tape or a rag.
- Put some towels down around the sink.
- Fill the basin with water. It should be tepid.
- Create an airtight seal over the drain with the plunger.
- Pump the plunger. Make the movements quick and sharp.
- Test the drain to see if the clog has been cleared.
Repeat if necessary.
Clear the P-trap
- Put on some rubber gloves and a bucket under the p-trap.
- Loosen the nuts around the p-trap so you can remove it. You may need pliers.
- Remove the p-trap, letting any water pour into the bucket.
- Look for any objects that may be trapped in the pipe.
- Clean out the p-trap with a toothbrush or bristle brush.
- Fasten the p-trap and do a quick test to see if water drains.
If water still doesn’t drain, try this last step:
- If you have a plumber’s snake (also known as a plumbing auger) you can use it. Put down some towels to prevent water from getting everywhere.
- Remove the p-trap and the stopper.
- Start threading the snake down the drain.
- Once you reach the clog, rotate the snake’s head back and forth and up and down.
- You should feel the clog dislodge. Pull the auger free then reassemble the sink.
- Check to make sure water drains.
If none of the tips help you unclog your bathroom sink, then it is more than just a simple tangle of hair and soap scum. That means it is time to bring in a professional. Having a qualified plumber on the job will eliminate a lot of stress, because you know the problem will be found, and the clog will be dealt with accordingly.
Still can’t solve your clogged bathroom sink issue? Call us today to get help.