Three Common Causes Of A Clogged Bathroom Sink And Tips For Solving The Problem

Posted on: 8 December 2016

Clogged sink drains are a common plumbing issue that nearly everyone deals with occasionally. Clogs in the drain of the bathroom sink can occur at any time.  Understanding the most common causes, how to avoid them and what to do if a clog occurs will make your life easier.


You may not think of hair as a common culprit for clogged bathroom sinks, but it is. Over time, just a few strands of hair a day from daily grooming in front of the mirror can wreak havoc with your drains. Because hair clings to anything it touches, including sludge in the pipes, it can easily form a large mass that will clog your bathroom sink. To prevent hair from getting into your sink drain and reduce the risk of clogged drains, make sure the sink has a strainer that will catch hair before it works its way down the drain. If you, or someone in your family, are in the habit of trimming your hair and letting the ends fall into the sink, you need to find another alternative. Try covering the bottom of the sink with a hand towel and depositing the hair clippings in the trash when you are done. Flushing loose hair down the drain may seem like an easy solution to clean up, but it can contribute to the buildup of nasty drain clogs in the future. You can purchase tools designed to remove hair from the drain for a few dollars at your local home improvement or hardware store.

Soap Scum

Soap scum becomes sticky once it goes down the drain and can cling to the inside of the pipes. As it builds up over time, it can cause the pipes to narrow and reduce the water flow through the pipes. It may also combine with hair and other debris to form a clog that blocks the water flow. While you can't avoid soap scum in the drain, you can practice a good drain-cleaning routine to keep it under control. Pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain once a month and follow with ½ cup of distilled white vinegar. This will create a chemical reaction that causes the mixture to foam. Allow the mixture to rest for 15 to 20 minutes and flush the drain with boiling water. The baking soda and vinegar will work to dissolve and dislodge the soap scum and the boiling water will flush it out of your pipes.

Foreign Objects

Sometimes the culprit causing the clog in your drain is a foreign object that has fallen into the sink and down the drain. Common items include the caps to toothpaste or makeup containers, cotton swabs, hair clips or bobby pins, and other tiny objects used for personal grooming. If you have children, this may also include marbles, small action figures and small parts to toys. If you water your plants or clean the fish bowl in the bathroom sink, beware of aquarium gravel or potting medium that may go down the drain and cause a hefty clog. If you suspect foreign objects are the culprit causing the clog in your sink drain, you may be able to retrieve them from the drain or force them out with a plunger. If you can see the object in the drain, try to fish it out with tweezers or a hooked object, such as a bent coat hanger.  If the object is out of sight, try plunging the drain with a sink plunger. If that doesn't dislodge the clog, you may need to empty the trap below the sink. If you are uncomfortable with removing and cleaning the trap, call your local plumber to give you a hand.

Occasional clogged drains are inevitable, but you can reduce the risk by using a sink stopper or strainer and getting drain cleaning regularly.