How to Clean a Bathroom Sink Drain

When toothpaste, hair, and other objects build up in the drain, bathroom sinks can start to smell bad. In addition to this debris, mold and mildew can develop in your drain and cause the sink to drain slowly or not at all.

In this guide, we’ll tell you how to clean your bathroom sink drain, how to unclog it, and how to maintain it to stop future buildup.

White bathroom sink with a silver faucet and a dirty drain.

Regular Cleaning of Your Bathroom Sink Drain

Firstly, it’s important to regularly clean your bathroom sink drain. This will prevent any clogging and keep it in the best working order.

If you’re wondering how you should be cleaning your drain, we will go over that next:

Remove Debris Weekly

To prevent buildup, remove any pop-up stoppers or drain guards from your sink and throw away the waste they have accumulated. Make sure you rinse them before replacing them.

The majority of bathroom sinks come with a metal stopper that is movable and can be used to seal the sink. These can be taken out of the drain by being pulled out.

Remove the nut on the drain pipe’s back, pull out the retaining rod, and then remove the sink stopper if it is attached in some other way or is used by pushing and pulling a rod behind the faucet.

Use a Non-Corrosive Drain Cleaner When Needed

Bacteria buildup in your bathroom sink can result in unpleasant odors and deposits in the drain.

Use a biodegradable, non-corrosive pipe cleaner once a month to eradicate this bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide is a fantastic alternative that can be poured straight down the drain.

Antibacterial products and bleach are not advised. They are unnecessary and could cause harm to the plumbing system, even more so if you have a septic tank.

Close up of a dirty bathroom sink drain with a hand holding the stopper.

Clean Out Your Drain Monthly

Use salt, baking soda, vinegar, and/or lemon juice to deodorize and clean your sink in place of a commercial drain cleaner.

Choose one of these products and combine it with around a cup of solution before pouring it down the drain. Before flushing hot water down the drain, let it sit for an hour.

Unclogging Your Bathroom Sink Drain

Time needed: 10 minutes

If the buildup in your bathroom sink drain has caused a blockage, then you can use the following steps to fix it.

  1. Pour boiling water

    Start by carefully pouring about a 1/2 gallon of boiling water down the drain to dissolve any stubborn buildups. This hot water will start to disintegrate and remove the obstruction.

  2. Plunge the drain

    Plunge the drain five or six times to encourage the buildup to go down the drain. This will help further loosen the accumulation, even if it might not completely remove it. Also make sure to use a plunger that can create an airtight seal over the opening of the drain.

  3. Add baking soda

    Pour about one cup of baking soda into the drain slowly and give it some time to sit. In addition to absorbing bad smells, baking soda also aids in physically dissolving the buildup.

  4. Add vinegar

    After a few minutes, pour one cup of distilled white vinegar down the drain. The baking soda and vinegar will interact and start to foam as a result. Covering the drain will the baking soda vinegar solution enter the clogged area of the drain and dissolve the residual blockage. For about an hour, let the mixture settle in the drain.

  5. Snake the drain

    Deposits that are difficult to remove may need additional physical force. If so, go to your local hardware store and get a snake drain. In essence, these are long, thin plastic strips with hooks on either side. Use it to remove any sediment that has clogged your drain by pushing or pulling them apart. Continue inserting and removing the snake until it’s free of any hair or clumps when you pull it out.

A hand holding a box of baking soda over a bathroom sink drain to help clean it.

Maintaining Your Bathroom Sink Drain

Now that your bathroom sink drain is clean and unclogged, it’s important to take steps to maintain it so it stays in better condition for longer.

Use Less Products

Even soap and other items that you frequently throw out in the bathroom sink, like toothpaste and shaving cream, can cause clogs in the pipes. As a result, train yourself to use these products less frequently.

To wash your hands, use just one pump of hand soap and a small amount of toothpaste. After using soap or toothpaste, you should also let the water run down the drain for a short while to ensure that it is flushed away completely.

Don’t Leave Trash in the Drain

Being careful with what you throw down your drain is likely the most crucial aspect of maintaining it. This is particularly true for bathroom sink drains, which invariably collect hair and other organic debris.

Generally speaking, if you’re uncertain about whether something is safe to go down the bathroom sink drain, throw it away instead.

Avoid Commercial Drain Cleaners

Commercial drain cleaners that rely on chemicals shouldn’t be used for a variety of reasons.

They might corrode your pipes and harm other fixtures and plumbing system parts. They are also toxic and have a chance of getting into the local groundwater.

Top Tips to Keep in Mind

If your drain is clogging often, then there may be a bigger problem. It may be time to replace your under-sink pipes with new, plastic ones. These pipes have a smooth wall and help prevent bacteria from building up.

Be sure not to dispose of paint, paint thinner, or medications in your bathroom sink drain. They’re unlikely to damage your pipes, but can affect the water system in your area.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your bathroom sink drain clean is easy with the right knowledge and habits. With this guide, you’ll be able to keep it fresh, unclogged, and in perfect working order.

Adrienne Carrie Hubbard
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