Sinks have an unfortunate tendency to get blocked. This is particularly true with bathroom sinks, where hair, soap scum and personal products often end up going down the drain. The good news is, a blocked bathroom sink is usually an easy fix, something that you’ll be able to handle yourself (no matter how much of a plumbing novice you might be!).
- Just add water: Yes, sometimes all a blocked bathroom sink needs is a bit of boiling water to soften up the obstruction. Being careful not to burn yourself, slowly pour a steady stream of freshly boiled water down the plughole. If you notice an improvement, but not a complete fix, then try repeating this step multiple times.
- Experiment with home-made solvents: This tried-and-true method has been around since at least your grandma’s heyday, helping to unclog bathroom sinks long before we had commercial solvents. Using a funnel (to minimise mess), pour in ¼-cup of baking soda, followed by 1 and ¼-cups of white household vinegar. Then put in the plug and wait 20 minutes while the ingredients work their magic.
- Try something a little more heavy-duty: If your home-made solvents haven’t quite done the trick then you can try using a chemical solvent instead. These commercially made products often have quite a strong smell and can be corrosive to skin, so open a window, put on the bathroom fan and follow all the manufacturer safety guidelines.
- Invest in a plunger: Plungers are more commonly associated with toilets, but they can be useful for clearing a range of different blockages, including those found in your bathroom sink. Place your plunger over the plughole (remove the plug first), then add a little water to the sink (no need to fill it right up, you just want to help create a seal around the plunger). Rapidly pump the plunger for 15-30 seconds. This will hopefully create enough suction to push the blockage right through. If the problem is only partly fixed then you may need to repeat the process a few times.
- Send in a snake: Don’t worry, we’re not talking about the reptilian kind. A drain snake (also known as a plumber’s snake) is an elongated auger that is thin and flexible enough to travel right down pipes to clear blockages at the source. Rather than inserting the snake down the plughole, you’ll need to locate and remove the P-trap under your sink (a piece of pipe in the shape of a ‘P’ which connects your sink to the plumbing beneath). Remember to place a bucket underneath the P-trap before you start to loosen the connections (some water may drain out once the pipe is disconnected). Check the P-trap for any visible and easy to clear blockages. If there’s no obvious sign of a blockage, then send in the snake, following the manufacturers’ instructions for use. Once you feel resistance, you’ll know you’re at the blockage. When this happens, secure the snake and then slowly start to twist. The auger will bite into the blockage and push it clear. You’ll know this has happened once you no longer feel any resistance. You can then remove the drain snake and reattach the P-trap.
Can’t be bothered doing it yourself? Call your local Perth plumber Hilton Plumbing, your mate in the trade. We can fix any kind of plumbing issue, and we won’t even charge you a call-out fee.