Few things are as bothersome as a sink that won’t drain. Soapy or greasy water standing in your bathtub, kitchen sink or bathroom sink is not a pretty sight, and a slow draining sink means you have a clog to deal with. The good news is that there are numerous strategies you can use to unblock a drain without calling a plumber. 

Before we look at how to clean bathroom sink drains, let’s explore some of the causes of clogged drains.  

Common Causes of Blocked Drains

A blocked bathroom sink drain can happen in countless ways. Let’s look at some of the most common causes of clogged drains:

  • Fat, oil, and grease: Fats and oils may be liquid when you are pouring them down the drain. And it might especially seem okay to dump them with some hot water. However, once fats and oils go down the drain, they solidify and block your pipes.
  • Hair: When it comes to clogged bathroom sink drains, hair is a common culprit. Strands that come off when you are combing, washing, or shaving your hair can accumulate over time and cause total blockage or slow down your drains.
  • Makeup and cosmetic debris: Foundation, blush, and other powdery cosmetics should never be washed down the bathroom sink. These powders tend to accumulate over time and clog your drain.
  • Soap scum: Bar soaps are especially notorious for leaving a thin film in your pipes. When this scum builds up over months or weeks, it can stop the flow of water in your drains. To avoid this, consider switching to liquid soaps.    

Signs of a Clogged Drain

how to clean bathroom sink drain: clogged drain with flies

To know how to clean bathroom sink drains, you need to be aware of the signs of a clogged drain. Here are a few:

  • Slow draining: When your bathroom sink begins to drain slowly, it usually means that something has clogged the drainage system.
  • Foul odors: When a drain is clogged, debris and water accumulate inside the pipes. Over time, you might notice a foul smell emanating from your bathroom sink.
  • Gurgling sounds: Anytime you hear gurgling sounds as water drains, you probably have a blockage in your pipes. It is usually a sign that air is trapped in your pipes due to a clog.
  • Drain flies: Also called sink flies or moth flies, drain flies are usually found around stagnant water. The presence of such insects shows that you have a clogged drain.

How to Unclog Bathroom Sink Drains: Home Remedies 

Upon noticing signs of a clog, many people immediately run for chemical drain cleaners.

While such chemicals can be very effective for clearing blockages, they are not friendly to your plumbing system. When used very often, they tend to wear down your pipes and can eventually cause leaks.

Therefore, before you use chemical cleaners or call a professional plumber, take a look at these DIY, natural drain unclogging techniques:

Salt and Hot Water

Salt and hot water are especially effective at clearing clogs caused by soap scum or fat. You can use any kind of salt, including sea salt, kosher salt, and table salt. All you need to do is to pour half a cup of salt down the drain, then flush it with 2 litres of boiling water. The salt acts as a natural scouring agent that clears debris, while the hot water melts the oil and grease clogging the pipes.

Hot Water and Liquid Dish Detergent

Boil some water, stir in a small portion of natural liquid washing detergent, and then pour it down the drain. The combination of hot water and liquid dish detergent is very effective, especially for clearing fat and grease. For best results, repeat the process several times until the drain is clear.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

baking soda and vinegar

If hot water fails to clear your drain, use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Simply mix 1/3 cup of vinegar and 1/3 cup of baking soda in a measuring cup. When the mixture starts fizzing, immediately pour it down the drain. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, then flush it out with hot water.  


Most American homes have a plunger lying somewhere. If you don’t own one, different types of plungers can be found in any local chain store. The best type of plunger for the bathroom sink is the cup-shaped plunger. Follow these steps for an effective plunge:

      • Apply petroleum jelly around the edge of the plunger for better suction.
      • Fill the sink halfway with water.
      • Cover the whole drain with the plunger.
      • Press and pull in quick succession for about 30 seconds.
      • As the water begins to drain, pour more water into the sink and plunge some more.
      • Rinse the drain with hot water. 

Wire Hanger

A coat hanger can be very useful for removing small objects or hair stuck in bathroom drains. 

      • Straighten out the wire hanger.
      • Bend the end into a small hook using pliers.
      • Wear rubber gloves.
      • Remove the drain cover and insert the hook.
      • When you feel a clog, twist the wire to catch as much debris as possible.
      • Pull the hook back up to remove the gunk.
      • Do this over and over until all the debris is out.
      • Throw the gunk in the garbage and rinse the sink.

Drain Cleaning Products for Blocked Drains      

At times, a plunger, wire hanger, hot water, vinegar, and baking soda might not be enough to clear your blocked drains. After a few attempts at unclogging your drains, you might want to try something else. 

Before hiring a plumber, try one of these drain cleaning products:

DRANO Max Gel Clog Remover

Safe for septic and piping systems, this clog remover is a thick gel that goes down the drain to the source of the clog. It melts soap scum and grease, dissolves hair, and clears other gunky clogs. If you have stubborn clogs, use the product twice. DRANO Max Gel is the best solution for clogs in standing water.

THRIFT Odorless Drain Cleaner

THRIFT works on grease traps, sewer lines, septic systems, and drains. It clears out drains within less than 60 seconds. However, THRIFT does not work for clogs in standing water.

Green Gobbler Drain Opening Pacs

This biodegradable and environmentally friendly product is effective against hair, grease, toothpaste scum, body oils, and lime build-up. It works for floor drains, kitchen sinks, bathtubs, toilets, showers, and bathroom sinks. All orders come with five hair grabber tools.

VASTAR 3 Pack Drain Snake

Ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, this 19.6-inch cleaning tool can easily grab and remove hair and other objects. It is flexible enough to bend in all kinds of pipes and strainers. However, the drain snake can easily break in the drain if not handled properly.

Liquid Plumr Clog Destroyer

LIQUID PLUMR is specifically designed to eliminate hair clogs. It is safe for drains and pipes as well as septic systems. Wait until all the water drains out of the tub or sink, then pour the thick gel down the drain. Wait for about 15 minutes, and then flush with hot water. For major clogs, you could leave LIQUID PLUMR in the drain overnight.

How to Prevent Clogged Drains

clogged drain, clog-free, help with clogs

Clearing blocked drains can be costly and time-consuming. If you learn how to avoid clogged drains and keep your plumbing system in good shape, you’ll save yourself plenty of pain.

The following methods can help keep your drains clear and running freely:

Lint Catcher

Lint, facial tissue, bits of fabric, and even a sock could sneak through your washing machine hose and cause clogs in your drain. To prevent such items from going down your drain, place a lint catcher on the end of the hose where water is being discharged. You can purchase mesh lint traps at hardware stores or home centers. 

Hair Catcher

There are many ways to catch hair before it goes down the drain. One of the most effective hair catchers in the market is TubShroom. Unlike other plugs that go over the drain, this revolutionary drain protector fits inside the drain and collects hair.

With its patented and award-winning design, TubShroom catches hair without disrupting the flow of water. It fits any standard 1.5-inch bathroom sink drain or 1.5-inch tub drain.

Bacterial Drain Cleaner

Since bacterial drain cleaners are non-corrosive and biodegradable, they won’t damage your pipes like chemical drain cleaners. When you add bacteria to your drains, it breaks down organic matter and prevents clogging. Drain-cleaning bacteria can be bought in liquid or granular form.

Flush Out Your Drains 

Once in a while, fill a large bucket with water and pour it down the drain. This will wash away any debris in your pipes and prevent clogging.

Keep Your Drain Clean With TubShroom

tubshroom hair catcher

Blocked bathroom sink drains can be caused by hair, grease, soap scum, and makeup debris. Bad odors, gurgling sounds, and drain flies are some signs that a drain is clogged. 

Home remedies for clearing such clogs include hot water, wire hangers, plungers, and baking soda. If home remedies don’t work, use products like Drano, Thrift, Green Gobbler, and Liquid Plumr.

Are you looking to eliminate plumbing problems and clogged drains for good? Look no further than our complete 'Shroom drain protection line! We have award-winning solutions for every drain in your home.

Check out these videos for more information on quick ways to clean your drains.  



Say Goodbye to Clogged Drains Forever

We here at the TubShroom Company have made it our mission to protect every drain in the world from clogs. We know how annoying it can be to see that dirty water start backing up. Hair is the #1 cause of clogged drains, so we set out to develop products that can catch every hair, every time. Learn more about our TubShroom family of products here.


When your bathtub, shower, sink, or toilet drain clogs, you either try a "snake" device to clear it out or--more typically--you pour harmful chemicals down the drain to try to dissolve the clog. When those attempts fail, the next step most people take is to call on a plumber who may charge upwards of $200 to clear the clog. TubShroom products can prevent clogs before they occur.

View all our top-selling, award-winning TubShroom products here. From the TubShroom to SinkShroom, and DrainShroom to ToiletShroom, there's something for everyone. Click here to product your drains for good.


Disclosure: Links in this article are affiliate links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

More Shroom Articles: