Unclog a Bathroom Sink Without Chemicals

Unclog your bathroom sink without using chemicals.

Bathroom sink clogged? Here's an easy fix that doesn't require chemicals or drain snakes.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine


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.

To get at the clog, 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 Drain

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY 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

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