How To Unclog A Bathroom Sink Drain

How To Unclog A Bathroom Sink Drain?

Could you be having a stuffy or clogged bathroom sink drain? How would you go about it knowing well that this might be a little bit frustrating, especially for the first encounter? Should you call a plumber or do it yourself? Maybe!

So, in this article, we shall discuss how to unclog a bathroom sink drain. To begin with, you can simply pour hot water over the clogged drain or remove/pull the clogged hair and debris using a “Zip-It” tool. Alternatively, you can opt to use certified chemicals such as vinegar and baking powder in the right ratio.

For advanced cases, consider using a plunger, snake drain, or manually remove the bottle trap/ P-trap and clean it before replacing it. In case you are new to the task, I recommend that you contact a professional plumber to handle the problem for you. However, if you opt for a DIY alternative, wear appropriate protective gear for your personal safety.

To acquire in-depth insight, let us get into the discussion.

Details: How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Drain

a. Use vinegar & baking powder

Tools and items required

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • Enough vinegar
  • Funnel & gloves


  • Pour the baking soda into and on top of the sink drain.
  • Gently, add enough volume of vinegar directly onto the baking soda – notice how it starts to boil on the sides of your bathroom sink drain due to a chemical reaction.
  • Leave the setup for 60 minutes – this’s chemical action time. Where possible, let the solution sit overnight and try again to achieve maximum results.
  • Using a brush, clean out all the broken clog and mixture.
  • Rinse the sink drain with clean water.

Note: You may need a filter when carrying out this procedure – helps in precise administration, thus preventing spillage of chemicals on other surfaces.

b. Using a “Zip-It” tool – removes hair clumps

Tools and items required


  • Wear protective gear; gloves and goggles.
  • Gently, insert the flexible toothed plastic “Zip-It” tool into your bathroom drain. Try to push it further down the sink drain – to trap hair clumps
  • Slide it up and down to loosen and undo the hair & debris holding onto your pipes’ interior surfaces.
  • Gently pull out the “Zip-Tip” and remove or shake off the residual hair or dirt that was trapped in the drain.
  • Repeat this procedure a few more times. With each passing cycle, you may notice that more hair gets pulled up and out of the bathroom drain.
  • Continue inserting the cleaning tool into the drain and stick it out until the entire sink drain is unclogged.

NB: Be careful when pulling the zip-tip out, the reaction force may spill out trapped clogged over you.

Related: Will Vinegar & Baking Soda Clean Clogged Drains?

c. Flush Sink Drain with Hot Water

Tools and items required

  • About 5 liters of water – in a jerry can
  • Pot or kettle
  • Bucket
  • Stove, coil, boiler, or some source of heat
  • Turkey baster


  • Place a pot of water on a lit stove appropriately.
  • Heat the water until it boils – 100 degrees.
  • Carefully transfer the boiling water into a bucket and periodically (5-minute span) pour the steaming hot liquid directly onto the sink drain – avoid splashing or direct contact with your hands or skin.
  • Alternatively, you can get easy access to your sink, by using a turkey baster – unclogs most drains instantly by sucking the hot liquid and squeezing it against the drain surface.
  • Give the hot water some time to break down the clog – generally, hot water breaks clog on contact.
  • Repeat the above procedure until the entire drain is fully unclogged.

NB: Hot water causes serious burns on the skin – upon contact.

d. Using a Plunger – plunge the clogged drain

Tools and items required

  • Plunger
  • Gloves and goggles


  • Place the rubber end of your plunger over the top of the drain opening.
  • Using both hands, press the plunger gently but firmly.
  • Pull the plunger back – suck up the obstacles in the sink drain.
  • Wait for a while and repeat the procedure until you unclog the drain.

Note: Avoid pushing the plunger too hard as this could lead to incidental damage to old pipes.

e. Manually Dismantle and clean your Bottle Trap/P-trap

Tools and items required

  • 2 small buckets – empty
  • Soap and gloves
  • Hot water and pointed brush
  • Pipe wrench
  • Screwdriver set – if needed


  • Wear gloves
  • Place a small bucket underneath the sink to trap dirty water.
  • Using a pipe wrench and screwdriver set, detach and remove the P-trap accessories.
  • Using a brush, wash thoroughly; the pipes and inside the bends – use soap and hot water mixture to attain the best results.
  • Rinse the P-trap before assembling.

f. Using the Snake Drain method

Tools and items required

  • Drain snake/plumber’s auger
  • Gloves and goggles


  • Remove P-Trap accordingly – as in previous option (e)
  • Carefully, push your drain auger/drain snake into the pipe – through the spot where you had your P-trap was detached.
  • Turn the crank gently in order to remove internal dirt or unclog the debris.
  • Repeat this step until the entire clog is removed.
  • Reinstall your P-trap and check if the clogging has stopped.

Related: Operation Principe of Drain Cleaners

g.      Contact a professional plumber to inspect

A professional plumber will do great work in cleaning out the clogged drain, especially if you go for a long-serving expert with a track record in a similar task. A plumber also saves you money and time.

What causes sink clogs?

A sink drain clog can be caused by either of the following:

1. Hair

Hair is stuck along the sink drain lining, especially when there is a soapy mixture. Shaving and making your hair in your bathroom is paramount. Additionally, some strands of hair actually shed unnoticeably for instance when you wash your face.

2. Grease

Over time, with a gradual accumulation of oil and grease on the inner surfaces, your bathroom sink drain may clog or get totally plugged up.

3. Toiletry debris

Slow drainage may occur when cotton swabs, paper towels, and other debris from toiletries get trapped in the sink drain.

4. Soap scum

Whenever you bathe with liquid bath soaps, suds are created. Suds have a tendency of sticking on drain pipes, thus clogging them with time.

5. Obstructed sewer line

Blocked sewer line, impends smooth flow of sink waste. Stagnation of such debris causes internal drain clogging. In case you encounter a similar problem, contact your area sewer line, or maintenance team.

6. Damaged pipes

Slow drainage or clogging on your bathroom sink drain may result from the broken, faulty, or damaged pipe – a broken section traps debris in the sink waste leading to clogging. Contact a plumber to have it fixed immediately.

When Should you Call a Plumber?

Cleaning the showerhead could help fix your low water pressure head at times.

However, the use of DIY methods such as vinegar and baking powder, hot water, or plunger may fail to attain quality results in some cases.

So, it’s advisable to call a plumber if you encounter instances highlighted below:

i. A rapid burst pipe leak

A pipe or your water line may suffer a major burst causing gallons of water to flood all over your house. Though uncommon, this occasionally happens and when it does, calling a plumber is imminent.

Not only that, but you also have to act promptly to temporarily stop the rapid leak before the plumber gets there.

Locate the intermediary cut-off valves closest to the leak and stop the supply of water to the leaking line. If you can’t find any of the cut-off valves, then find and turn off the main water shut-off valve – this will cut-off water supply to the entire house until a plumber rectifies the leak.

ii. No water supply in the house

In most cases of this problem, water stops flowing in one or several of the sub-water-lines in your house, for example, bathroom sink, kitchen, or shower.

In very rare cases will you find a total stoppage of water supply to your house – especially if you own an online water backup supply.

It is recommendable to first inspect the affected water outlets and their subsections (those that are not receiving water). For instance, due to a faulty water heater, hot water may not be delivered to your shower outlet despite the cold water supply being fully operational.

Moreover, it is possible that the water supply has stopped because of a massive leak in the sunken pipe feeding your house water line from the street-side water meter.

iii. When you have a leak in the drainage line leak

Leaking kitchen and bathroom leaks are a common thing for homeowners – it’s caused by excess internal pressure or pipe breakage.

The leaking sink trap should be replaced – ensure the water supply is turned off first. For leaking lines that you can’t be accessed easily or those that are sealed by walls and flooring, you should immediately call a plumber to have them dealt with. This act ensures that your dry walls, paint, and subfloor do not suffer further damage.

iv. Gaseous odors and filling sinks or bathtubs

Once you detect a fault with your sewer line, it is recommendable to contact a plumber to undertake the inspection.

The foul stench manifests in form of an odorous smell that fills up your home if not attended to immediately. A similar case occurs in the case where your kitchen/bathroom sinks, bathtub, or toilet gets filled with wastewater.

5 major Signs that your slab is leaking

Either of the following can detect slab leaks:

1) When you detect mold smell

When you notice mold growing on your home foundation, walls, floorboards, or somewhere along an embedded water line, then it is likely that you have a slab leak and that mold is growing from the moisture released. The presence of mold is also accompanied by a musty smell.

2) Sound of running water when appliances are not in use

You will notice (hear/see wet areas) water flow or moisture section when none of the appliances or water outlets is in use.

In such as case, the best decision to take is to first turn off the main water supply (for your house) and call a plumber to fix the problem.

3) Sunken floorboards and tiles

When water seeps into floorboards and tiles, they get destabilized causing them to sink in or bulk. Actually, this is a warning sign resulting from leakage – you should call your plumber right away.

Tackling this problem early enough reduces losses due to house foundation damage, which could be quite expensive.

4) Dampened carpets

A damp carpet is caused by water, which could be from a leakage somewhere.

To ascertain to troubleshoot the problem, peel back the carpet and check for any wetness on the padding and floorboards. Once you are sure of the leakage, contact a plumber.

5)      Abnormally higher water bills, but same usage

When your water bills are strangely higher than average yet your water usage routine is unchanged, then there might be a leak somewhere in your house’s water line.

First, get a technician from your local water company to check for any leaks – once ascertained, then you should go right ahead to call a plumber to correct the leak.


In conclusion, on how to unclog a bathroom sink drain, you can simply use a Zip-It tool, hot water, or hot water.

If the fault is pretty serious; then, go for a plunger or use a vinegar-baking powder solution to attain total removal of clogs, dirt, and residuals in your sink drain.

If the clogging persists even after trying highlighted solutions; then, you may have to contact a professional plumber since this may suggest blockage or some other problem with the sewer line. Remember to wear protective gear for your personal safety.