How to Open a Bathroom Sink Drain

Having a clogged bathroom sink drain is never a pleasant experience. It can lead to unpleasant odors, stagnant water, and even potential health hazards. Learning how to open a bathroom sink drain properly can save you from calling a plumber and also prevent further damage to your plumbing system.

In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of opening a bathroom sink drain, from identifying the cause of the clog to clearing it out effectively.

Understanding the Common Causes of Bathroom Sink Clogs

Before attempting to open a bathroom sink drain, it is important to determine the cause of the clog. The most common culprits are hair, soap residue, toothpaste, and foreign objects that have accidentally made their way into the drain.

Gathering the Necessary Tools and Materials

To successfully open a bathroom sink drain, you will need the following tools and materials:

  • Plunger
  • Drain snake or auger
  • Screwdriver
  • Bucket
  • Towels or rags
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Hot water

Preparing the Area Before Starting

Before you begin the process of opening the bathroom sink drain, it is essential to prepare the area properly. This will help prevent any mess and facilitate the process. Follow these steps:

  1. Clear the area around the sink.
  2. Place a bucket underneath the sink to catch any water or debris.
  3. Lay down towels or rags to protect the surrounding surfaces from potential spills.

Removing the Sink Stopper or Pop-Up Drain

The next step is to remove the sink stopper or pop-up drain, which will allow you to access the clog more easily. Follow these instructions:

  1. Locate the pivot rod assembly underneath the sink.
  2. Use a screwdriver to remove the pivot rod from the clevis strap.
  3. Unscrew the nut on the back of the drain pipe that secures the pivot rod assembly.
  4. Pull the pivot rod and stopper out of the drain.

Using a Plunger to Clear Minor Clogs

If the clog is minor, a plunger can often do the trick. Follow these steps to use a plunger effectively:

  1. Fill the sink partially with water, enough to cover the rubber cup of the plunger.
  2. Place the plunger over the drain and ensure a tight seal.
  3. Push and pull the plunger vigorously, creating suction and pressure to dislodge the clog.
  4. Repeat the process several times if necessary. If the clog clears, proceed to rinse the drain with hot water.

Employing a Drain Snake for Stubborn Clogs

For more stubborn clogs that cannot be cleared with a plunger, a drain snake or auger can be used. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Insert the end of the drain snake into the drain opening.
  2. Rotate the handle clockwise as you push the snake further into the drain.
  3. Continue pushing and rotating the snake until you feel resistance or encounter the clog.
  4. Use a back-and-forth motion to break up the clog.
  5. Pull the snake out of the drain, along with any debris that may have been dislodged.

Rinsing the Drain with Hot Water and Baking Soda

After clearing the clog, it is important to thoroughly rinse the drain to remove any remaining debris or residue. Here’s a natural and effective method using hot water and baking soda:

  1. Boil a kettle of water.
  2. Pour about half a cup of baking soda into the drain.
  3. Slowly pour the boiling water into the drain, allowing the baking soda to react and loosen any remaining debris.
  4. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
  5. Flush the drain with hot water again to ensure all debris is flushed out.

Cleaning and Reassembling the Sink Components

Now that the clog is cleared, it’s time to clean and reassemble the sink components properly. Follow these steps:

  1. Clean the sink stopper or pop-up drain thoroughly, removing any residue or debris.
  2. Clean the pivot rod assembly and apply a small amount of plumber’s grease to ensure smooth operation.
  3. Reinsert the pivot rod and stopper into the drain, securing it with the nut on the back of the drain pipe.
  4. Reattach the pivot rod to the clevis strap and tighten with a screwdriver.

Preventing Future Clogs

To prevent future clogs in your bathroom sink drain, follow these helpful tips:

  • Use a drain strainer to catch hair and other debris before it enters the drain.
  • Regularly clean the sink stopper or pop-up drain to prevent residue buildup.
  • Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain, as it can solidify and cause clogs.
  • Flush the drain with hot water and baking soda once a month to keep it clean and clear.


Opening a bathroom sink drain may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done effectively and efficiently. By following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this article, you will be able to clear most clogs without the need for a professional plumber.

Remember to always exercise caution when working with plumbing systems and, if unsure, consult a professional. With proper maintenance and regular cleaning, you can prevent future clogs and keep your bathroom sink drain functioning smoothly for years to come.


Can I use chemical drain cleaners to open a bathroom sink drain?

A1. It is generally not recommended to use chemical drain cleaners as they can be harsh and potentially damage your pipes. Additionally, they may not be effective for certain types of clogs.

Why is the water in my bathroom sink draining slowly?

Slow drainage in a bathroom sink is often a sign of a partial clog. It is important to address the issue promptly to prevent a complete blockage.

What if the clog in my bathroom sink drain does not clear after using a plunger and drain snake?

If the clog persists after using a plunger and drain snake, it may be necessary to call a professional plumber to assess and resolve the issue.

Can I use boiling water alone to clear a clog in my bathroom sink drain?

Boiling water alone may help to clear some minor clogs, but it is generally more effective when combined with other methods such as baking soda and vinegar.

How often should I clean my bathroom sink drain to prevent clogs?

It is recommended to clean your bathroom sink drain at least once a month using hot water and baking soda to prevent buildup and keep it flowing smoothly.

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