Bathroom sink drains can get pretty gross, to say the least. The buildup of hair, soap, toothpaste, and phlegm form the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Not to mention the horrendous smell that comes from a clogged pipe. Now that’s downright nauseating.
Once you start to notice that bathroom sink water isn’t draining as fast as it once did, it’s time to do something about it – before the black slime starts oozing back out. This guide explores 3 natural and easy ways to clean the bathroom sink drain before it gets completely backed up, as well as a couple of things you should do often to prevent this from happening. Let’s dive in.
Method 1: Unclog the Drain Using Boiling Water and a Drain Snake
As we mentioned before, if the water isn’t draining fast, it’s a sign that the pipes are clogged. The best way to deal with this would be to use boiling water because – hey, it’s boiling water! And heat obliterates just about anything. Here’s what you need to do:
- Boil half a gallon of water (equivalent to about 2 liters) and carefully pour it down the drain. The high temperature should break apart the debris and dislodge the buildup that’s responsible for the blockage.
- Next, take your trusted sink plunger (link to Amazon) after and plunge the drain a couple of times to force the buildup to move down the pipes. For this to be effective, you need to ensure that your plunger creates an airtight seal around the mouth of the drain. Otherwise, the technique won’t be effective.
- Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then, proceed to pour 1 cup of white distilled vinegar (link to Amazon). You’ll immediately see it foaming as the baking soda and vinegar react. Leave it for about 20-30 minutes to allow it to break down the remaining buildup.
- Then, boil another half-gallon of water and proceed to pour it down the drain as you did before. This should eliminate any residual odors. It’s also the perfect chance to observe if there’s any improvement in the rate at which the hot water drains. If it drains fast, then you’ve effectively cleared up the blockage. If not, proceed to step 5.
- If the blockage persists even after the baking soda, white vinegar, and hot water treatment, you might need to physically dislodge the deposits responsible for the blockage. This is referred to as “snaking the drain.”
To do this, you can purchase a drain snake (link to Amazon), which is essentially a long thin strip of plastic with hooks on either side of it. Insert it into the drain and push it back and forth until there are no deposits (like clumps of hair) that hook onto it when you pull it out.
Alternatively, you can use a metal coat hanger to snake the drain. All you need to do is bend one end of it to form a hook, insert it into the sink drain, and push it back and forth to remove the blockage. Follow this up with the baking soda, white vinegar, and hot water treatment to get rid of any lingering odors.
The steps outlined in this method are effective in unclogging even the most stubborn of blockages. Keep in mind, though, that the experience won’t be pleasant. But will it be worth it? Absolutely!
Method 2: Clean Bathroom Sink Drain Regularly
If you would much rather avoid the whole snake-the-drain method to clean your bathroom sink, you need to make a habit of removing debris from the drain weekly. That way, you can remove and discard any deposits before they accumulate to the point they cause a blockage. Here’s how.
- Most sinks come with an adjustable metal stopper that can be used to plug the sink. Simply unplug it, and remove any hair stuck on it. Ensure that you’re wearing a pair of rubber gloves as you do this. If there’s buildup that’s within reach inside the drain, get your fingers in there and pull it out. (Yeah, it’s a pretty glamorous affair…)
- On the other hand, if you have to push and pull a rod that’s behind the faucet to operate the sink stopper, all you have to do is unscrew the nut behind the drainpipe, pull out the rod, and remove the stopper. Proceed to remove any build-up that may be on it and the sink drain.
- Then, use a drain scrubber brush (link to Amazon) to remove buildup from the drain pipe. Pour baking soda, vinegar, and hot water thereafter to disinfect and deodorize your sink.
Method 3: Prevention
Being mindful of what goes down your drain is part and parcel of keeping your sink drain clean. Here are a couple of things you can do:
- Don’t dispose of tissue, dental floss, cotton balls, or any other personal care items down the sink drain. That’s the fastest way to clog your pipes.
- Don’t dispose of any food items in the bathroom sink. The same applies to the tiny round liners you find under the lids of personal care products like toothpaste. These can get washed down the drain when you open them.
- Use smaller amounts of handwash, toothpaste, and shaving cream, as these also contribute to blockage. Remember, less is always more.
- After washing your hands or brushing your teeth, let the water run down the sink drain for a few seconds to flush the product away.
- If you find that your under-sink pipes often get clogged despite your best efforts to prevent this, consider replacing them with new plastic ones – specifically those that have a smoother wall design. These are more effective in preventing blockage and are a lot easier to clean.
Go Natural When Cleaning Your Sink
If you want a clean bathroom sink drain, it’s always better to use natural products and avoid commercial drain cleaners altogether. For one thing, these products are laced with harsh chemicals.
These may end up corroding your pipes and damaging other aspects of your plumbing. Not to mention the fact that there’s always the chance of them infiltrating the groundwater in your neighborhood. The same applies when pouring bleach down the bathroom sink drain.
You can’t go wrong with baking soda, vinegar, hot water, and a good old fashioned drain snake. Nonetheless, the best way to prevent your sink drain from getting clogged and icky is by removing debris and buildup weekly. Prevention is better than cure.