How to Fix a Clogged Bathroom Sink in 7 Essential Steps

A clogged bathroom sink can be the worst, having to peer at a gunky water-filled basin each time you enter your bathroom, not to mention, having no place to wash your hands or even worse, having to wash your hands in an already filled sink with the threat of it overflowing onto the floor each time you do.

Unclogging a bathroom sink may not always require the costly services of a professional plumber or hazardous chemical drain cleaners. In fact, many sink clogs can be easily cleared using the following tips on how to fix a clogged bathroom sink.

Step 1. Use a Plunger

plunging a sink

First, try using a plunger to clear your sink clog. To plunge your sink, if the sink is not already filled with water, then simply fill the sink with water.

If you have a single bathroom sink, simply insert a damp cloth into the overflow hole or holes to give the plunger more suction power. If you have a double bathroom sink, then be sure to close off one drain when plunging the other for added power.

Next, place the plunger securely over the sink stopper and then simply press the plunger down firmly against the bottom of the sink bowl and then pull up with force to loosen any clogs.

Continue the process until the clog is cleared or it is determined that this is not the problem.

Step 2. Inspect the Stopper

Occasionally, the lever on the pop-up assembly, or the part of the sink that allows the stopper to go up and down, becomes loos. This can cause the lever to hang unusually low. When this occurs, it prevents the stopper from fully lifting, which can prevent the sink from draining properly.

So simply maneuver the stopper up and down to be sure the stopper is fully lifting and allowing the sink to drain properly.

You can also test the stopper by closing the stopper and then filling your sink with water. Next, open the stopper, and time how long it takes for the water to drain.

Step 3. Remove the Pop-Up Assembly

If the stopper is not the issue, then the next step is to remove the pop-up assembly.

To remove the pop-up assembly, first, place a pan or bucket under the assembly. Then, using an open-faced wrench, simply remove the nut at the rear of the main drain pipe.

Any gunk that is attached to the assembly may fall off into the drain. Simply remove any residual gunk in the drain by hand.

Step 4. Disassemble the Pop-Up Assembly

With the pop-up assembly still unattached, simply remove the stopper and inspect the end of it for build-up. You may be surprised at the amount of hair, toothpaste, and other gunk that is present on the end of the stopper, which over time can clog your sink.

Sometimes hair and gunk will also travel down into the assembly and become attached to the end of the lift lever, which can also clog the sink and prevent the stopper from lifting properly. Therefore, you need to remove the lift lever from the assembly and inspect it as well.

Once the lift lever is removed, simply remove any hair and gunk build-up to restore it to proper working order.

Step 5. Clear the P-Trap

The P-trap is the curved part of the drain that is located below the drain stop. Due to its curved shape, it can serve as a mechanism for objects to become trapped, which can eventually accumulate and clog your sink.

To clear the P-trap first, place a bucket beneath the drain and then remove the trap using a pair of tongue-and-groove pliers, turning the pliers to the right. Once the trap is removed, inspect it for any clogs. If the trap is clogged, then simply insert a hair snare, which is a thin, plastic version of a drain snake, into the P-trap to try to catch any gunk that may be present.

Step 6. Use a Drain Snake

unclogging bathroom sink with a drain snake

If the P-trap is clear, then you will need a drain snake to reach further down into the pipe to remove the clog. The drain snake, also known as a toilet jack, is a thin, lengthy, flexible wire that is used to dislodge difficult clogs that cannot be removed by a hair snare or a plunger.

To use a drain snake, simply remove the arm of the trap. Afterward, feed the metal snake down through the drain, by twisting the handle of the snake, to remove any deep clogs.

Step 7. Replace the Stopper Assembly and the P-Trap

Once you have removed the clog, simply reassemble the P-trap as well as the pop-up-assembly. Next, run the water down the drain to ensure the sink is draining properly. Lastly, remove any remaining gunk in the sink using a tissue. Discard it in the trash in order to avoid washing the gunk back down the drain.

If after trying each of these tips, it still does not address the issue, then your sink clog may be due to a more serious issue at which time you should contact a professional plumber for help.

Wrapping Up

The most common causes of a clogged sink are grease, hair, toothpaste, soap residue, shaving cream, toys, Q-tips, and/or other small objects in the drain that create build-up over time, resulting in a backed up drain. However, these tips on how to fix a clogged bathroom sink can help unclog your sink and restore it back to working order.

If you have already applied these tips on how to fix a clogged bathroom sink and found that they have worked for you, then please feel free to share your experiences.

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