There are several effective ways to unclog a bathroom sink, but where is one to start? The list we’ve put together on how to unclog a bathroom sink is ranked in order of easiest to hardest – with effectiveness as the main factor. So, basically, if you are trying to unclog a bathroom sink, start with #1 and work your way down to #5 until you have a clear drain! Note that if you are instead trying to unclog a kitchen sink, there are minor differences and you should refer to our blog on Unclogging a Kitchen Sink: A Do-It-Yourself Project.
5 Procedures to Unclog a Bathroom Sink
1. Plunger Method
This method is particularly useful if the clog is newly formed and you haven’t been noticing slow drainage. You can buy smaller plungers that are designed to unclog bathroom sinks and kitchen sinks. They typically have shorter handles and smaller rubber cups. Plungers are effective for unclogging a bathroom sink because they can usually move whatever’s clogging the drain enough to let water pass through. As mentioned, if it’s not a serious clog, a plunger will usually be enough to clear it out entirely.
2. Coat Hanger Method
The coat hanger method is also very effective to unclog a bathroom sink. Straighten out one of your wire coat hangers and form a little hook on the bottom of it. Shine a light down into the drain and look for any lumps of hair or other debris clogging the sink. You can then insert the coat hanger down and try to hook onto whatever is clogging the drain. This is particularly effective to unclog bathroom sinks when used in cooperation with the plunger method. The plunger can bring the clog into sight; the coat hanger can pull it out.
3. Plumber’s Snake
If the coat hanger method doesn’t work, you can also use a tool called a plumber’s snake (aka plumber’s auger) to unclog a bathroom sink. The method will be similar to the coat hanger, but the tool is much more effective. It’s made out of flexible cable that can work down deeper into the drain (the tool comes in 3-ft and 6-ft models). It also has a hand crank that can work the snake down into the drain and either boar through the clog or hook onto it for retrieval.
4. Baking Soda & Vinegar
This is also an effective method to unclog bathroom sinks. The only reason we recommend it so far down the list is because it isn’t as instantaneous as the first 3 methods – you have to pour in the solution and wait a few hours, or even over night. Basically, just shoot for a 1:1 ration of baking soda to white vinegar. Dump in the baking soda first (say 3/4 of a cup) then pour in the same amount of vinegar and cover the drain. The solution will break down the clog and should flush it out.
5. Removing the Drain Pipe
If none of the prior methods work, you might have to get serious and break out your pipe wrench. Most bathroom sinks have an elbow joint that helps to catch valuables (wedding rings, earrings, etc.) if they are dropped down the sink. These elbow or u-joints can also catch things like hair and soap residue, and clog a bathroom sink over time. Removing them isn’t too difficult, just make sure you put a bucket underneath to catch any water that will be sitting in there. Once you have it removed you should be able to clear out any blockage inside of it, or use your plumbers snake further down the plumbing in the wall or floor.