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Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey reveals the best ways to unclog a backed-up bathroom sink.

In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shares the different parts of a bathroom sink, how to figure out where it could be backed up, and shares some tips to help you unclog your drain.

How Do You Fix a Slow Draining Bathroom Sink?

Start by identifying where the stoppage is. Then, identify the cause of your clogged bathroom sink, whether it’s hair or any kind of residue build up. Then use one of the following solutions to help you fix it.

How to Check Why the Bathroom Sink Won’t Drain

First, check the pop-up assembly to make sure it's rising up enough at the drain line of the sink.

If that's not the problem, disassemble the pop-up assembly by loosening the nut on the main drainage pipe with an open-faced wrench and remove it. Be sure to use a bucket underneath to catch any excess water.

When To Scrape by Hand

Any gunk may be connected to the pop-up that's released, or excess gunk in the drain can be scraped out by hand.

When to Use a Hair Snare

If there's a stoppage further down the drain, use the hair snare and fish it down the drain to attempt to loosen the obstruction.

When to Use a Drain Snake

The last resort may be a drain snake. Fish the apparatus down through the pipes and through the p-trap to attempt to loosen obstruction.

Tools You’ll Need