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How to Unclog a Sink

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by Jeff Patterson in Bathroom Plumbing

Have you ever wondered why your bathroom sink is draining slower than the morning commute?

Often this kind of problem is super easy to fix yet a lot of us just assume we couldn’t do it ourselves.

Rather than rolling up our sleeves we decide to call in a pro and cave to to our inner voice that says, “You couldn’t possibly fix this”.

Now what if I said you had the ability to unclog your sink, do it in less than 30 minutes, and could save enough money to buy this week’s groceries.

Hopefully you’d be intrigued enough to keep reading …

Because today I’m going to walk you step-by-step through unclogging your bathroom sink’s drain. And in the end you’ll be thinking “WHY DIDN’T I LEARN THIS SOONER?”.Β 

 

Learn how to remodel your bathroom, save money, and increase your home’s value with Bathroom Repair Tutor

 

All the tools I used in this video added up to a whopping $31.

The Zip It was $6 and the auger/snake was $25. And I can guarantee that you’ll use the auger again, again, and again for your shower or bathtub.

So yes, it’s a pretty darn good investment (I’d argue that it’s almost better than the stock market).

 

What’s Next

Clogged bathtub or shower pipes are also a nuisance – but this tutorial can save a call to the plumber.

Grab our free guide if you’re doing a DIY bathroom remodel – it shares how to remodel a bathroom in 10 days or less

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Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.

Ask your questions below and we’d be happy to help.

Cheers,

Jeff Patterson

 

 

 

 

P.S. Our online store has great supplies for homeowners doingΒ a bathroom remodel. You’ll find shower systems, tiling tools, and more.

34 Comments
  1. John @ AZ DIY Guy says:

    Good video Jeff. I’m picking up an auger. I’ve never paid attention to them before and didn’t realize they were so affordable. I have two slow moving drains to attend to right now and pouring drain clearing chemicals is only marginally successful.

    On a quick, diagnostic note, is it possible that a clogged drain condition could be related to the sudden removal of a certain, popular home repair tutoring gentleman’s beard? Applying powers of deduction in a comparison of the last post, featuring a prime example of full-grown, well-groomed, male chin whiskery, to the baldfaced performance above would lead to the logical conclusion that a sudden influx of fresh shorn facial hair, combined with the presence of drain “muck and guck”, would lead to this scenario.

    1. I’m laughing my behind off, you are way funny John!!!!

      Yes, the beard has been eliminated and as such the drain is now running a bit slow in our bathroom. The drain in the video is in my daughters’ bathroom. Their clog was mostly related to excessive toothpaste and who knows what else.

      Let me know how your unclogging goes and if you think it’s related to facial hair, haha!

      Jeff

      1. Ronn says:

        I swear just taking things apart like you did to the bathroom sink scares the crap out of me. As easy as it is, my main concern is something going wrong and there Iam with the only bathroom in the house with a sink that wont work. Same thing about everything else. Scared Id start something and in the middle of it, something goes wrong and there Iam stuck looking for someone at the last minute

        1. Totally understand Ronn, been there myself.

          If you’re really concerned do most of your repairs on a week day (just not Friday), that way, you can call someone if you’re really in a bind.

          Feel free to join our Facebook group as well because you can post pictures and questions any time of day.

          It’s a great group of homeowners who like helping each other out

          Here’s the link to join, it’s free

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/hrtcommunity/

  2. J Stone says:

    I understood most of the video. Watching is so much easier than trying to read how to fit anything. Thank you for taking the time to video and post.

    My sinks are always full of long strands of hair from the 3 girls, including me, that live here. I usually just usually take the plunger out and pull out what I can. But, I end up doing it again in a month. I’m guessing that I do need to clean out the P trap also.

    My question is do I put the plunger in the sink before I screw the rod back in or can I do it after? I would guess that the plunger would need to be in first so that the rod would go thru the plunger to engage it. Right ?!?!

    Thanks for you site !!

    1. Great question, if there’s a hole in your pop-up stopper then the rod needs to go in it. The process is a bit tricky but not bad.

      I first insert the rod just a bit with my left hand then lower the pop-up stopper into the drain with my right hand until it catches the rod. At that point you can insert the rod the entire way (this
      conversation is only slightly inappropriate if taken out if context!!).

      Hope this helps πŸ™‚

      Jeff

  3. Linda S. in NE says:

    Hi Jeff, That was a great video and most helpful. You neglected to tell us if you found any missing diamond earrings or rings with valuable stones down in that “P” trap. That possibility, and that possibility alone is what will make me confront all that “muck and guck”. Wish me luck, and “No”, I am not sharing the Motherlode!

    1. Hi Linda,

      You crack me up!! No diamonds or emeralds were found, bummer. Good luck with your own unclogging, always know you can email me with your questions πŸ™‚

      Jeff

  4. John Bolin says:

    There is nothing you cannot do if you just put your heart into what your doing. Not just that, you also have to know how to properly do it. Doing stuff like this in the household is very practical to be able to save enough money to use for other more important needs.

    1. Hey John,

      I couldn’t agree more. Plus, who doesn’t like saving money by DIYing?

      πŸ™‚

      Jeff

  5. Karla says:

    I can’t thank you enough for posting this video! I’m a single mom, slightly intimidated by (okay terrified) DIY, however I want to learn how to do these things. Your video was simple and with my $3 investment (didn’t need the auger) voila! I have a smooth running bathroom sink! Now to tackle the tub upstairs….

    1. Karla, I love hearing your story because any time I can help you that’s what keeps me going πŸ™‚
      Any time you have a DIY question (even if it terrifies you) please email or comment and I’ll be there to help out. There are two things I love doing: helping out my fans and doing anything DIY.

      Hope you have a great day!!

      Jeff

  6. Samantha Weakley says:

    I have taken apart all of the traps and filters and connecting plumbing for my dishwasher to try and get it to drain properly to limited success. It drains dine when disconnected and pouring into a bucket and yes I also cleaned all of the plumbing of the sink too. It is washing everything as good as ever I’m just concerned about the lack of complete draining. Did I miss something ?
    Thanks for your time!
    Samantha

    1. Hey Samantha, is the float working correctly. If it’s not, this could be a culprit. It sounds like you have checked all the pipes and they are fine.

      So maybe replacing the float is an option on the table. How old is the dishwasher?

  7. Ruth Phillips says:

    My problem is doyble kitchen sink. Really slow & clogged. Takes 3 hrs to drain. Used the the liquid stuff. Plunger. Husband did the baking soda thing, but dont think he followed directions exactly tho…… Been 2 months help!

    1. Hi Ruth, have you taken the P-Traps apart and cleaned them?

      While the traps are out you should snake the lines using the hand auger I used in this tutorial. You might be surprised to find a clog or some debris. It’s worth $30 to buy the auger and try unclogging the drains πŸ™‚

  8. Mary says:

    Thanks for captioning this. And great captioning too! Was it expensive to do?

    1. You’re welcome Mary. I do CC for all my videos. It’s not bad and the gentleman who does it is really good πŸ™‚

  9. Gail says:

    Great video…will show hubby later. He did this for my kitchen sink but one thing l did while he had it all apart was to take each piece outside to hose it out…no messing around with paper towels and zip sticks with that gunk…and then soaked the pipes in a solution of household bleach…worked a charm, no scrubbing. Not too keen on bleach to sterilize and kill mold and bacteria?? then use hot soapy water to soak them in using a baby bottle brush to clean out the residual gunk …..and pssst….you don’t use your good Tupperware for jobs like this…a laundry bucket or an ice-cream tub (our ice-cream comes in 2lt or 4lt plastic tubs here in Australia…very handy and versatile for so many jobs and storage…not to mention the word recycling) works very well. πŸ™‚

    1. Great tips Gail. Thanks for sharing with us.

      There are so many different ways to do this and I agree with you that chemicals should be the last option.

  10. Bonnie Moritz says:

    My dad was a plumber. He always said you could open most slow drains with three kettles of boiling water. I have tried this and often have never even used the third kettle. Kettles were 2 to 4 qts…whatever you have in your kitchen. And it’s FREE.

    1. Glad to hear you Dad would agree with the tutorial Bonnie. Thanks for your tips.

  11. Melissa says:

    I have a terrible smell that sometime comes from the the washing machine drain ( im guessing) its not always present but sometimes I can open the laundry room door and swear I’m in a sewer . I do most my loads in cold water and use liquid detergents. Iv asked several plumbers they think its a vent problem . Had the vent checked and cleaned was not clogged. . still have smell when I do alot of laundry unless I run a hot cycle every other one and pour it full of drano every few months

    1. Hey Melissa, first question I have is does the laundry tub have a P-trap?

      If not you should add one because the water in the P-Trap is what prevents the sewer smell.

      If you do have a P-Trap it’s worth removing it and seeing if it has bio film in it.

      The bio film is harmless but can stink to high heaven. I use paper towels to clean out the drain.

      One other thing to keep in mind is maybe running a bleach load in the washer (no clothes). This helps clean and disinfect the washer.

  12. Kris Held says:

    This was a great video. I going to try this, this weekend! Ltis

    1. Thanks Kris. Let me know if it worked for your project.

  13. Lea says:

    I unclog drains in my house quite often. Kids with long hair. But my main problem in the bathroom sink & shower is a mold build up. Bleach doesnt kill it & having a septic tank I don’t like to use it often. What can I do/use to get rid of the mold buildup in the drains?

    1. You probably have a biofilm issue Lea. It’s pretty common.

      I like to physically remove the pipes and clean them out using paper towels. Then, I pour super hot water down the drains (after reassembling) to flush them out.

      But this is just one method that’s worked for me and it’s not a fix all. The biofilm will come back eventually.

      I wish Microban would work with pipe companies and invent pipes that were biofilm resistant.

  14. Isabel says:

    I need help I broke a small glass cup in a garbage disposal the garbage disposal wont move and all these lil pieces of glass are stuck inside, HHEELLLLPPPP

    1. Oh boy Isabel, wish I knew of an easy fix!!!

      I’m afraid you’d severely cut yourself trying to remove the glass.

      What have you tried so far?

  15. Ryan says:

    I have a leaking kitchen sink. I have made a few small tool purchases to take apart the pipes under the sink. I notice a smell coming up from the drain when the water runs. I plan on cleaning the P-trap first to see if it’s full of gunk. The problem is getting worse; I noticed water dripping from around both gaskets. I went ahead and purchased gaskets to fix the leak but I’m not a plumber and I’m unsure of the right sealant to use to seal the pipes back up. Any help is appreciated.

    1. Good questions Ryan.

      I bet there’s a lot of biofilm in the sink drains and that’s causing your stinky sink.

      Check out this tutorial I did a few months back because it could help you with your problem

      http://hrtllc.wpengine.com/how-to-clean-a-stinky-sink-drain/

      Chances are good that if you follow this tutorial the smell will go away.

      Now, as far as the gaskets go… Make sure they are flush with each other and the washers are facing the right way.

      What does this mean? The washers have a tapered end and this end should always go into the pipe then a nut tightened over it.

      I know, this is a pain to do but if the washers and nuts are all aligned the correct way you won’t have leaks.

      Let me know if you have questions Ryan cause I’d be happy to make a short video for you πŸ˜€

  16. Steve Holt says:

    Thanks for showing us how to use an auger/snake to unclog a sink. I’ve heard that it’s best to avoid using drain cleaner to unclog my drains. I used to use drain cleaner all of the time until I recently found out that they’re the main reason for the damage to my sump pump. Now that I have a better idea of how to use an auger to fix the drain in my shower, I can stop putting commercial cleaners down my drain. Thanks, Jeff!

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