Bathroom drain running slow? Many people are easily intimidated by how to unclog a bathroom sink and are forced to spend hundreds on professional plumbers. Don’t be afraid to try this task yourself! This is an easy fix and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get thigs running smooth again.
Where Is the Source of the Problem?
Determining just where the problem is can be difficult. Because of that, we’ll tackle the problem of how to unclog a bathroom sink from the top down. If you’re lucky, the simplest solution will cure your clog and you’ll be good to go. If we need to go a little deeper, we’ll take things one step at a time.
First Things First
The most common reason your bathroom drain might be running slow is due to hair and soap build-up close to the surface of the pipe. We have some great natural alternatives to Drano for how to unclog a bathroom sink that might help clear things up immediately. Try these first and see if the clog clears up. If not, we’ll move on to the big guns.
a) One of the tried and true methods for clearing residue in your pipes is baking soda and vinegar. Not only is this an inexpensive way to get things moving, it’s also safer on your pipes than harsh chemicals. Simply combine 1/3 cup baking soda with 1/3 cup vinegar. As soon as the solution starts to fizz, pour the contents down the drain. Wait approximately one hour and flush the pipe with hot water.
b) Another method is the old baking soda and salt mixture. Similar to the above example, ½ cup baking soda to ½ cup salt poured down the drain will often work like a charm. Flush the pipe with hot water for about a minute to see if this method solved the problem.
What Do I Do If the Natural Remedies Didn’t Work?
Ok, so you tried the homemade concoctions listed above and, nothing. No worries. We’ll now approach the mechanics of the drain to start clearing things up.
Removing the Drain Stopper
Using a wire hanger curved into a hook, is a simple yet effective way to remove hair and other debris from a drain. To do this, you’ll need to remove the stopper of the drain. If your sink does not have a stopper, you can skip to the next step.
Turn off the water supply to your bathroom faucet. If your faucet does not have an independent water supply, shut off the water main of your home.
Locate the clevis screw on the top of the clevis strap and unscrew it. This is the strap (usually plastic or metal) that attaches directly to the lift rod toward the back of the faucet. The screw is usually a simple flat-head type that can be loosened by hand.
Pull up and remove the lift rod from the faucet.
Remove the pivot rod from the side of the drain by unscrewing the nut assembly.Remove the stopper from the drain
Creating the Hook
Now that the stopper has been removed from the drain, you can start to form the hook you will need to capture hair and debris from the clog.
Place a bucket to catch excess water under the P-trap. That’s the curved piece of pipe that attaches to the drain.
Obtain a simple, thin wire hanger and bend it into a straight line.
With a pair of needle-nose pliers, form a curve on one end of wire in the shape of a fish hook and compress it small enough to fit down into the drain.
At this point it’s just like going fishing. You might want to use rubber gloves as things can get messy. Slide the hook end of the hanger into the drain and maneuver it up and down until you begin to capture large particles. Remove them from the drain completely. Do not rinse the hair and debris you clear from the drain into the sink as this can cause deeper clogs.
Use the same method underneath the sink where the pivot rod connected to the drain pipe.
This is also a good time to clear away dirt and debris from the edges of the drain using an old toothbrush.
Going One Step Further?
We’ve reached the point now where most people find that their drain is clear, and things are back to normal. If that’s not the case, there may be a larger object lodged in the P-trap that needs to be removed. This is a slightly more complex job, but still relatively easy.
With the water supply shut off to the faucet and the stopper removed from the drain, position the bucket under the P-trap to catch any residual water.
Unscrew the nuts at either end of the P-trap and remove the trap from the drain.
Loosen and remove any particles or debris that have been lodged inside the P-trap. The wire hanger might come in handy for this job as well.
Replace the P-trap and bolt into place.
Run hot water down the drain for about one minute to let any small debris pass through the pipes.
Replace the stopper and pivot rod in reverse order as you removed them.Slide the lift rod back down through the faucet and reattach it to the clevis strap. When tightening the clevis screw back to the clevis strap, make sure that the pivot rod is in a down position.
What If the Clog Persists?
If you’ve tried all these methods and the clog persists, it might be time to call in a professional plumber. He or she can access how far down the clog might be, and utilize more powerful tools, like a snake, that can get things clear.
Most likely, the methods mentioned above for how to unclog a bathroom sink have cleared things up and you’re are running smooth. Don’t be intimidated by Do-it-yourself projects like this one. With a few simple tools and a little knowhow, you can save thousands in home repairs and learn something valuable along the way.