How to Fix a Bathroom Sink That Is Slow to Drain

Clean water flows in while wastewater flows out of your home, and you don’t think about it much until there is a problem. We rely heavily on this aqua exchange, and the bathroom sink is among the most vital fixtures in the home.

Have you noticed that the water isn’t draining as fast as it used to? This warning sign shouldn’t be ignored, so quickly act before the problem worsens. If it is beyond your abilities, call a plumber to take care of it for you. Then once your drain issues are gone, you can enjoy that free-flowing water in your bathroom again.

What do you do about it? Here are six methods for how to fix a slow-draining bathroom sink:

How to Fix a Bathroom Sink That Is Slow to Drain

Boiling Water

Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, but in this case, it’s water. Slow-draining water is a sign of a blockage but one that has not completely closed. As you use the bathroom sink, dirt, soap scum, hair, and other debris go down the drain and can build up somewhere. Your first step is to try to dissolve it in boiling water.

This method is pretty self-explanatory. Get a full kettle or big pot of water and boil it. Then you can slowly pour it down the drain, using half up. Run the hot water tap afterwards to see an improvement; if not, pour the rest down. Follow up with hot tap water for several minutes to see if the issue is resolved. If not, move on to method 2.

Pull Out The Stopper

Your sink will have a plug in the drain called a stopper, and it’s there to allow for the filling up of the basin when needed, as well as prevent larger items from going down the drain. Because it is the first item sticking into the drain, debris can get caught on it and build up. This is a good thing because it’s easy to access and clean.

There are different types of stoppers, with some pulling out, unscrewing or disconnecting a plunger rod. Once you get the stopper out, check for any build-up. This can be cleaned with a paper towel and water. Make sure not to wash the debris back down the drain. Before you put the plug back in, run the water to see if it drains properly. This will indicate if the plug was the issue or not.


A plunger isn’t just for the toilet, you know. Suppose it is very effective at clearing any drain that has an issue. We all know how to use one; make a seal over the drain with the rubber head and use up and down force to create a vacuum and flush any build-up.

One word of advice. Invest in a sink plunger. They are a smaller version and have become a dedicated “sink only” plunger, so you don’t have to worry about toilet bacteria in your sink.

Drain Cleaning Tool

Sometimes the partial blockage in your sink may be several inches to over a foot down the drain; for that, there is a special cleaning tool. This thin piece of flexible plastic fits down the drain without having to take off the stopper, although it is easier without it.

Push it down as far as it reaches and wiggle or spin it to snag onto whatever is there. There are small barbs on the tool to catch the debris and pull it out so do some fishing until you’ve covered all sides of the drain pipe. Once you are done, wipe off and disinfect it with any household cleaner. It stores easily under the sink for the next time you need it.

Drain Cleaner

Maybe you need a little extra help in the form of a commercial drain cleaning product. You have seen the popular brands; there may also be cheaper, generic ones. Buy some and use it according to the directions on the container.

It is an acidic product, so make sure not to get any on your hands and if you need to, grab some rubber gloves and a mask to be safe. This effectively removes most clogs but may require a repeat application.

DIY Cleaners

Some people prefer to resolve a slow-draining sink with natural products like vinegar and baking soda. This can be very effective as they mix to create a chemical reaction that dissolves most drain clogs.

You can make a slurry mix and pour it down the drain or put it in separately with a 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by a 1/2 cup of vinegar. Follow it up with boiling water after 10 minutes to wash away anything that is left.


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