Simple Solutions

How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Drain with a Plunger

By: Joe Truini
Using a plunger to unclog a bathroom sink drain.

Using a plunger to unclog a bathroom sink drain.

To unclog a bathroom sink drain using a plunger:

  1. Remove the pop up drain from the sink.
  2. Wet a rag and use it to seal up the sink overflow drain.
  3. Apply petroleum jelly to the bottom lip of the plunger.
  4. Run water in the sink.
  5. Place the plunger over the drain, and plunge up and down several time in quick succession.
  6. Run more water in the sink, and repeat as needed.

If using a plunger doesn’t clear the drain, remove the P-trap from under the sink and clean it out by hand.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: Now something that can really be frustrating is a slow draining sink or a clogged sink.

Joe Truini: The first tool that most homeowners reach for is a plunger to clear sink clogs. But here are a few plumbing tricks that can help improve the efficiency of the plunger.

First, start by removing the pop up drain from the sink bottom. Then take a tissue or a rag, dampen it, and use it to plug up the overflow openings on the side of the sink. That helps direct the plunging pressure directly to the clog.

Next, take a little petroleum jelly, and smear it along the bottom lip of the plunger. That’ll help form an airtight seal against the sink bottom. Next, run a little water down the drain, then plunge vigorously three or four times. Run a little more water to clear out the clog.

Danny Lipford: Now, if this method isn’t successful, you may have to go under the sink and disconnect the P-trap, and use a plumber’s snake.


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5 Comments on “How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Drain with a Plunger”

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  • Laura Says:
    November 5th, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you – this saved me from calling a plumber out, and I also think it’s really important to learn skills like this to be able to do as much as possible myself around the home.

  • U certified plumber Says:
    October 2nd, 2018 at 1:24 am

    OMG we needed this!!!
    Works great

  • koutb sawy Says:
    March 13th, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    If you have a grease clog, you should be able to clear that up with dish soap and hot water. Try to remove as much water as possible first and then pour a half cup of dish soap in the drain. Then you want to follow that with about a half a gallon or two liters of the hot water. It may take up to 30 minutes, but this should clear things up.

  • Sarah Ha Says:
    November 9th, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I have a clogged sink. The water takes time to go down. I am thinking it’s from hair dye. I once disposed of the remaining hair dye I was using down the bathroom sink. Could it be the hair dye I disposed of? It was 10-12-2012.

    The water just started not going down in the last week. We took the drain out and used a liquid cleaning chemical a couple times. Then we took the trap off and made sure it was clean. It was. We are thinking there must be a clog from the wall pipe out. Any suggestions, please?

  • libby Says:
    October 10th, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you, this helped me a lot!

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How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink Drain with a Plunger