Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before a bathroom sink becomes clogged, whether from hair, chunks of soap or small particles that accumulate over time. Bathroom sink clogs can usually be cleared with a plunger or by cleaning the sink's drain trap. More serious clogs require the use of a hand auger, which can reach deep into the drain pipe. All three methods for unplugging a sink are simple to use and will clear all but the most stubborn of clogs.
Clearing the Clog with a Plunger
The majority of bathroom sink clogs can be cleared with a plunger, which creates pressure to dislodge the clogs. Plunging the sink is also the easiest way to clean most clogs and should therefore be attempted first. To use the plunger, first fill the sink with a few inches of water, which will allow the plunger to create the pressure by allowing the plunger to seal itself to the bottom of the sink. Place the cupped end of the plunger directly over the drain at the bottom of the sink, then rapidly lift up and down with the plunger's handle 15 to 20 times. Remove the plunger from the sink, then pour a bucket of water directly into the sink's drain to flush the debris through the drain.
Cleaning the Sink's Drain Trap
If plunging the sink does not clear the clog, the sink's drain trap should be cleaned next. The drain trap, sometimes referred to as the "P-trap," is the curved portion of pipe located underneath the sink between the bottom of the sink and where the pipe enters the bathroom's wall. It is within this bend that many clogs develop. Place a bucket underneath the P-trap to contain the water, which will exit the trap when it is disconnected. Note that on each end of the P-trap is a large slip nut. Use channel-type pliers to twist each slip nut in a counterclockwise direction until the nuts are loose, then slide each nut toward the center of the P-trap. Pull the trap off of the drain pipes to remove it, then clear away any debris inside the P-trap with a small wire brush. Since the P-trap is now removed, the drain pipe that leads into the bathroom's wall should also be checked for clogs.
Clearing the Drain Pipe with a Hand Auger
Stubborn clogs often develop within the portion of the sink's drain pipe that leads into the bathroom's wall after the sink's water passes through the P-trap. A hand auger is used to reach and clear these clogs. To use the auger, make sure the single wing nut located on the body of the auger just above the steel cable is loose by twisting the wing nut in a counterclockwise direction. Pull out a portion of the steel cable and insert the cable into the pipe. Feed the steel cable into the pipe until resistance is felt, which usually means the tip of the cable has reached a bend in the pipe. Turn the cable's wing nut in a clockwise direction, then turn the auger's handle in a clockwise direction to move the cable past the bend in the pipe. Loosen the wing nut on the auger, then continue to feed the cable into the pipe. If the cable reaches solid resistance that prevents the cable from advancing, the cable has reached the clog. Tighten the auger's wing nut, then crank the auger's handle. The tip of the cable will twist into the clog. Crank the auger's handle until the resistance felt is reduced, then loosen the wing nut and turn the auger's handle in a clockwise direction to retrieve the cable and the material that caused the clog.
- Home Improvement 1-2-3; Benjamin Allen; 2003
- Home Repair and Improvement; Creative Homeowner; 2006