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These Are 5 Simple Ways to Unclog Your Bathroom Sink

Beautiful bathroom with white sink.

House of Chais

If you ever happen to notice the water in your bathroom sink going down a little slower than usual, you’ll want to unclog the drain as soon as possible—a fully clogged bathroom sink is not fun.

Unclogging it isn’t exactly fun, either, but the good news is that it’s easy. If you catch things early, you'll avoid many annoying and quite unpleasant things. 

Materials You'll Need:

  • Boiling water
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Drain snake
  • Commercial drain cleaner

Step 1: Try Boiling Water

Most bathroom clogs form from soap residue, hair, and hair products. If the clog is small, there’s a possibility you can break it up simply by pouring boiling water down the drain, which will melt any dried-up products so they can be flushed away by running water.

The key to doing this successfully is by adding the water incrementally, pouring it directly down the drain about ½ cup at a time, then waiting a few seconds to allow the heat to work its magic. Once the drain appears to be flowing normally, turn your tap to its hottest setting and let the water run for about 30 seconds to help push any remains of the clog out of the drainpipes. 

Step 2: Try Vinegar and Baking Soda

Another way to dissolve all that common gunk is by using baking soda and vinegar. If you remember making a volcano in an elementary school science class, you probably remember how this works: when an alkaline substance, like baking soda, mixes with something acidic, like vinegar, a chemical reaction occurs that results in plenty of fizzing. This can make its way into the clog and help break it up.

To do this, pour ¼ cup of baking soda directly into your sink’s drain, then pour in the same amount of either distilled white or apple cider vinegar; after you’re done admiring the fizzy eruption, walk away and let the mixture sit overnight. The next morning, flush the drain out with hot tap water.

A small half-bathroom lined with two kinds of peach wallpaper

LeClair Decor

Step 3: Bring in a Wet and Dry Vacuum

If neither boiling water nor baking soda-and-vinegar managed to finish the job, you can try to suck up whatever they’ve softened with a wet/dry vacuum that’s set to liquid. Before you begin, cover the vacuum’s vent with a towel to prevent any sort of accidental messes. Run hot water from the faucet for a minute to help loosen the clog, as well as to wet the area around the drain to help create a tight seal between the vacuum’s hose and the sink.

Place the hose directly over the drain, turn the vacuum onto its highest setting, and wait. Hopefully, you’ll hear the clog getting sucked up through the hose in less than a minute. If it still refuses to budge, you’re going to need stronger help. 

Step 4: Use a Wire Hanger or Snake

You can purchase easy-to-use drain snakes at the hardware store, but before you buy one, check in your closets and see if you have a wire hanger. Unwind the hanger, leaving the bent end alone, and roughly straightening out the rest of the wire. Push the hooked end into the drain opening—squeezing it tighter if needed to fit—and begin feeding the hanger wire down the drain.

The hook may be able to catch some of the blockages so you can pull it out, or it could split the clog into pieces that can be flushed down the pipes with boiling water. 

Step 5: Try a Commercial Drain Cleaner

These are not the most environmentally friendly options, but if you’re not having any luck removing that stubborn clog, you may need to employ pre-made chemical drain cleaners or caustic soda. These products can cause skin burns and eye irritation, so before using them, protect yourself with rubber gloves and goggles or glasses.

Follow the instructions on the packaging, open a window or turn on an exhaust fan, close all doors to the bathroom, and leave the sink alone for as long as the manufacturer recommends. Next, flush the drain out with boiling water, then turn on the faucet to let hot tap water flush out the drain for one minute.