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How to unblock a bathroom sink
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How to unblock a bathroom sink

Posted by Adam Chard in How to guides | 4 years ago 3 min read

Don’t let a blocked bathroom sink ruin your day. Follow our tips and get it unblocked fast.

There’s nothing more disheartening than seeing water refusing to disappear down the plughole, and there are many reasons why a bathroom sink won’t drain. But, before you panic and start Googling the number of an emergency plumber, read our guide on how easy it can be to quickly unblock your bathroom sink.

How to unblock a bathroom sink—method 1


If the blockage is simply in the upper part of the waste pipe you should be able to shift the blockage using a cheap and cheerful bathroom plunger.

First, block the overflow with something like a dishcloth or tea towel to help create a vacuum. Then, taking the plunger handle in both hands, place the suction cup part over the plughole taking care to completely cover the entire plughole. Then pump the plunger up and down vigorously for a few minutes. The suction created should move whatever is causing the blockage.

If this doesn’t work and the water is still sitting stubbornly in the sink, it‘s time to try a different method.

How to unblock a bathroom sink—method 2

Kitchen cupboard ingredients

Sometimes, it’s possible to dissolve a blockage using traditional kitchen cupboard ingredients such as white vinegar and baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda) or Alka Seltzer indigestion tablets.

Add 2 teaspoons of the soda or 2 Alka Seltzer tablets (other indigestion tablets are available!) to the plughole and pour in a cup of vinegar. This starts a reaction and you’ll see the solution bubbling as it gets to work dissolving the blockage.

After 5-10 minutes flush through with hot water.

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How to unblock a bathroom sink—method 3


You could try using a long flexible wire to break up and move the blockage, especially if it’s further down the waste pipe, but take care to not damage any seals around the plughole.

If none of these quick and easy methods work and you still have a bathroom sink full of water, then it’s time to try another method.

How to unblock a bathroom sink—method 4

Removing the U bend

This is the messiest method, so you will need to get some rudimentary tools ready first and make sure you’re wearing something to cover your clothes. Use a jug to empty out most of the water if the sink is full.

You will need:

  • A bucket
  • An old towel
  • A wrench or mole grips
  • Rubber gloves

Clear out everything underneath the sink to give yourself space to work. Put your gloves on and place the towel on the floor under the sink. Make a note of how the U-bend under the sink is constructed so that you’ll be able to put it back together properly.

Place the bucket directly under the U-bend to catch what comes out when you dismantle it. There should be a threaded cap either side of the U-bend; you need to carefully unscrew these using the wrench or mole grips. As you loosen these, water will rush out into the bucket. Remove the U-bend and empty the contents into the bucket then thoroughly rinse the U-bend out.

Reassemble the U-bend pipe in the same way you took it apart, taking care to screw the threaded caps on straight and tight. Run a little water into the sink to make sure there are no leaks. Then congratulate yourself on a job well done!

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Of course, if none of these methods work, it is time to call in a professional.

More bathroom DIY advice

At Victoria Plum, you’ll find loads of expert, practical advice for bathroom DIY, including step-by-step guides and videos. Simply browse our bathroom advice section, type what you’re looking for into the on-site search bar or head to the Victoria Plum YouTube Channel.

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in How to guides | 4 years ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 10 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

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