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How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Drain Without Chemicals

Unclog your bathroom sink without using chemicals.

FH10SEP_UCNOCH_01-2 bathroom sink drain how to unclog bathroom sink unclogging a sink with a bathroom sink stopperFamily Handyman
Bathroom sink clogged? Here's an easy fix that doesn't require chemicals or drain snakes.

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Overview: Unclog a Sink

how to unclog sink

Photo 1 How to remove a bathroom sink stopper: Pull out the bathroom sink stopper

Tug on the bathroom sink stopper to see if it’ll come out. If so, remove it.

Photo 2: Remove the clog

Fish out the hair clog with a bent wire or other tool. Run water through the bathroom sink drain and replace the stopper.

how to unclog sink

Photo 3 How to remove bathroom sink stopper: Unscrew the pivot rod

Unscrew the pivot rod nut and pull out the rod. Lift out the stopper. Clean out the hair and reinstall the stopper and pivot rod.

Slow-moving or stopped-up drains are common in bathroom sinks, but luckily the fix is usually simple and takes only about 15 minutes. The problem is caused by hair and gummy soap scum that get caught on the stopper or pivot rod and clogs the drain.

How to Remove Sink Drain Stopper

To learn how to unclog a bathroom sink, try lifting out the stopper (Photo 1). Sometimes it’ll come right out. If it doesn’t lift out, it’s held in by the pivot rod. Release the stopper by removing the pivot rod nut and pulling out the pivot rod (Photo 3). If you can’t loosen the nut by hand, use pliers. With the pivot rod pulled out, you’ll be able to lift out the stopper. Then to get the clog out, bend a wire in a tight hook (a light-duty clothes hanger or short length of electrical wire will do) and fish out the hair (Photo 2). If you didn’t have to remove the pivot rod to remove the stopper, you can just drop the stopper back down into the drain. If you removed the pivot rod, first drop the stopper into the drain. Then line up the pivot rod with the slot in the stopper and reinsert it. Finally, hand-tighten the pivot rod nut.

Run hot water down the drain to help clear out any remaining soap scum and to check that the clog is gone. Check around the pivot rod nut to make sure it’s not leaking. If you see drips, tighten the pivot rod nut slightly with a pliers.

Video: How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Drain

Required Tools for this unclog a sink Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY unclogging a sink with a bathroom sink stopper project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Slip joint pliers

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Stiff wire or wire coat hanger