How to Unclog a Sink — by Home Repair Tutor

Hi, friends! It’s Jeff with HomeRepairTutor.
And today I’m going to help you fix a slow draining bathroom sink and get it unclogged.
Unfortunately, this is a super common problem for many homes. But it’s not that hard to
fix. So let’s get started. In order to do this fix the right way, you
just need to understand a few things about the plumbing underneath your sink. So this
is the drain coming from your sink. This is the P Trap. You could also argue that it should
be called a U Trap. So anyhow, this is the P Trap. It comes down and then up and then
into your wall. The reason why this is shaped the way that it is is you need to have some
water standing right here so that sewer gas doesn’t come back in from your plumbing line
and into your bathroom. So the water prevents the sewer gas from coming back into the house.
And that’s why there’s water in this P Trap right here.
So you need a Tupperware container like this and it’s probably a good idea to put a towel
underneath where you’re going to be working. So anyhow, put the Tupperware container so
that it’s directly underneath the P Trap and you want to loosen the slip knots like this.
Now if you can’t do it by hand, you can use channel locks like this. And simply adjust
them so that you can both fit the nut and then just unscrew the nut like so.
So unscrew the top one and then unscrew the bottom one. And water will come out. That’s
why you need the Tupperware container or a bucket. And just let that drain off. And when
it slows down, you can take the whole P Trap out, okay?
Now, I guarantee you that this is full of some mucking guck. Watch this.So there’s
definitely an obstruction in there. What you can do is tap it up against that container
or you can fish it out. Now chances are you’re also going to have
some obstruction that goes up to the stopper because there’s a rod—and I’ll show you—at
the back of this drain line that controls the stopper. As you can see here, there’s
this rod and it sticks in the pipe here. And a lot of times, hair and mucking guck get
caught on this rod that sticks in your pipe, okay?
The other place, and you can even see it here—there’s a piece of, I don’t know, “gookily glook”—sticking
up in this goose neck portion of the pipe. Now you can remove this pipe and look in there,
too. There’s also a slip nut in the back here you can take off. You can pull the goose neck
portion of the pipe out. Again, look how much crud is in there.
In order to clean out the strain, you’re going to have to remove this pivot arm right here.
Now it’s held in place by this nut that I’m loosening, all right? So loosen it with a
pair of channel locks or a crescent wrench. Take that nut off. Pull the arm out. Inspect
the arm. Look, there’s gook all over it. There’s like goopity goop all over it, all right?
And that’s an indicator that there’s a lot of mucking guck in here. And I can already
feel it with my finger. With the pivot arm pulled out, you can pull
up on the pop up stopper. Check this out. Look at all this goop on here. Yuck! Yucky
stuff! So you know there’s a clog right down in that drain.
All right. So I bought this Zip-it Tool at the local hardware store. It costs about $3.
And this is what I’m going to use to stick down into the drain.
With the Tupperware container directly underneath the strain, what I’m going to do is stick
the Zip-it Tool down in there, okay? So stick it down in there like so. Just get all of
this guck out of there. (My goodness! Look at this!)Just work it around and try
to clear out that drain the best that you can.
Now if you have one, you can also use a drain auger like this one, all right? And it’s very
simple to use. It has a sharp spring on the end of it, like this, okay? So what you do
is you unlock that, feed it down into your drain pipe, all right? Just clean out that
drain the best that you can. Now if you want to , you can also stick a
paper towel down through this drain because it’s just going to come out in the other end
and into your Tupperware container. And you can use the snake to push that paper towel
down through the drain to clean off the sides of the pipe.
All right, guys. Check this out.Look at all the gunk that was in there. All right?
And that’s that paper towel that I shoved through… This is the stopper. It still has
guck in it. You want to clean that off with a paper towel again. But check this out. This
is not for the faint of heart. This is the paper towel that I shoved down through the
pipe. Look how clogged it is—just caked full of muck and guck! All right? And look
at all this.All right. So anyhow, that worked out very well. With
the Tupperware container in place and underneath the pipe that’s in your wall right there,
what you want to do—you might as well do this because you have all the pipes out—is
stick your Zip-it into this wall pipe like so, okay? And see if you catch any kind of
obstruction. Pull it out. Now admittedly, I like using the snake or
an auger a little bit better. Push the auger in as far as it’ll go until you meet up with
the obstruction if you even have one, okay? Once it stops, that’s when you want to spin
it around. Once you find an obstruction, lock you auger in place, okay, and then spin it
around either by hand or, if you have an attachment on it, you can put your drill on there and
spin it around with a drill. Then pull the auger out of the wall with your hand.
Another big tip that I have is to fold up a paper towel like this and stick it down
through the pipes that you removed. So this is the goose neck, all right? It’s called
a goose neck because it has this shape. So stick this towel on through here like that.
And you can kind of floss out the inside. Get rid of any residual yuckiness.
Then finally, you have your pop up stopper. And this is what looks really bad so take
a paper towel; clean that off. And this is also a good opportunity to clean off that
pivot arm that is sticking in the back of your drain.
All right. Now it’s time to put everything back together. So stick your goose neck back
into the wall. Make sure that this washer is flush with the pipe going into the wall,
and then tighten that nut up just a little bit because you may have to adjust this goose
neck in or out of the wall. Take your P Trap. Position it like so, all right? Stick it up
onto the drain. What I like to do is make sure that that goose neck arm is sitting down
in the P Trap. I’m going to hand tighten this nut like so. Then, again make sure that this
washer right here is sitting flush with the top portion of the goose neck—excuse me,
the P Trap. Again hand tighten like so. With that in place, now you can—with the P Trap
in place—you can tighten this back nut. You can give ¼ turn by each of these plastic
nuts with your channel locks just to make sure that they’re tight enough.
All right, with the pop up stopper in place, you can put this arm in through the hole that’s
in the pop up stopper and then ratchet down on this nut here with your hand and then tighten
it ½ to ¼ turn with this set of channel locks. Nice and tight.
With the water on, check for leaks at this slip nut, this slip nut, and the slip nut
back here in the wall. Also, check for leaks where you inserted the pop up stopper arm
into the drain here on the back of the drain. Let the water run for a good minute or two
and then check around to see if there are any drips.
All right. Check this out! The water’s draining like a champ!
All right, my friends. That’s it. That’s how you fix a slow draining bathroom sink and
get it unclogged. So I hope this video helped you out. If it did, give me a thumbs up on
YouTube. If you got a question, add that to the comments section because I’ll help you
out with any of the similar problems that you have with your own sink. And visit HomeRepairTutor.com.
Sign up for my email newsletter because you’re going to get a lot of great tips on home improvement
and home repairs that’ll save you time and money.
So take care, and I’ll see you soon! Eeew. Pretty disgusting, right? This would’ve
been a great back scratcher before I ran it through that drain.Oh my gosh.
The Zip-it. The back scratcher for men with back hair.

Bernard Jenkins


  1. Removing a P- trap is not that difficult but for the average person you run the risk of having it leak after you put it back together. A much easier fix is to remove the sink stopper and use a shop vacuum in wet mode to suction all the crud out of the trap, drain and tailpiece. The muck is usually hair and soap gunk. Suction it out , run some water and suction and add water again a few more times. I've used this on sinks, tubs, etc. Far easier than trap removal, augers, snakes, etc. Sometimes those may be necessary if the crud is like concrete or parts are broken or trap leaks already. But if it ain't broke why invest extra work. a wet vac is way easier!

  2. thanks for the vid. this was my one foray into plumbing, and i think i'll let someone else handle it next time haha so gross

  3. Those plastic p traps with drain arm are only $4. Easy to replace instead of clean.

  4. thanks for your help I actually found a qtip my husband dropped in the drain

  5. Hey, what if the attachment that is attached to the wall is leaking what do I do?

  6. What about if water is leaking out from the pipe coming from the wall ?

  7. Thanks Jeff for sharing your video it was very helpful. I am having a difficult time trying to get the goose neck off. I cleaned out the drain with my wet vac before taking the p-trap off. The clog is in the goose neck that goes into the wall. I tried using the snake but could not get it to go in very far. I am going to keep working on it.

  8. this was very helpful and i was able to very quickly unclog my sink! thanks so much!!!!

  9. Thanks! Everything went well except… as I put the pipes back in place I realized that the one going into the wall could not be screwed back in since it just stuck relatively losely in a hole, which now leaks down the wall. What to do? I didn‘t expect the whole construction to have been assembled so cheaply!

  10. Question. If my bathroom sink backs up water into my tub is it the sink p trap or tub p trap that needs to be cleaned?

  11. Thank you, very helpful instructions!! I was able to fix my upstairs bathroom sink. It wasn't draining and another line flows into it (maybe ac?) so it would have overflowed if I hadn't unclogged it. You're my hero!!

  12. Thank you for showing all the details; other videos skipped some vital info and you covered it! I feel like I can finally do it myself 🙂

  13. Bless you! Thank you for posting. Our kitchen and bathroom sinks backed up, right before my daughter's birthday party, and you gave me the confidence to take apart a pipe, snake everything out, and get it all together. Everything drains beautifully, and I have some enzymes at hand to prevent further clogs. Best of all, my daughter helped, so hopefully she will grow up not intimidated to fix things around the house.

  14. I always have trouble getting the stopper back in the right place so it fully closes and opens. You seem to have skipped over that, as I only see you replace the p-trap. The pivot arm and stopper are already in place when you get to them.

  15. should using a plunger on the sink be the first move, before trying to remove the p trap and goose neck? thanks.

  16. Helpful video!! A daughter of a carpenter should know better 🤣, but I was able to unclogged my sink following your instructions! Thank you, feeling accomplished this morning 💪🏻

  17. Loved it. I love the paper towel technique. Fixed mine then went over and fixed my 82 year old dads. I have one plumbing skill now. Thanks!

  18. Thanks for that. The video gave me ideas on how to take the easy way out. I just worked a large zip tie through the drain opening with the water lightly running and this seemed clear up drain enough for it to empty faster. Then I ran the water more heavily to thoroughly flush away any gunk that I had loosened. If I do this on a monthly basis I am hoping that I can avoid having to deal with all the "muck and Guck". Thanks again.

  19. Such a great video, thank you. My only question is, do you clean the auger as you crank it it back or do you just crank it back?

  20. FYI – that plastic container that you were using to catch water and stuff IS NOT A TUPPERWARE CONTAINER!

  21. All plastic containers are not Tupperware containers. Tupperware is a "name brand" product of high quality materials.

  22. My dumbass threw a toothpaste cap and toilet paper down the drain and clogged it. Without my parents knowledge, I’m going to attempt to fix what I caused before I leave for school.

  23. Thank you soooo much I got sick of waiting for my husband to fix the sink and you helped me your freaking awesome I fixed the sink all by my self thank you thank you thank you

  24. I just got out a tooth brush and my sons tooth paste little top 👌🏻 best video ever I did it on my own it was a success!!!!!

  25. If you clean your drains you can also take apart the drain pipe from the sink down and clean the P-trap the U-shaped pipe below the sink and then when clean take the p-trap and drain pipes and place them in the freezer in a plastic bag and let them sit in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  The cold will help kill a residential curse that is why many houses feel haunted just from the dirty drain issues they invite bad spirits in to drain you of your energy. Please take large greasy debris cleaned out to the street drain and put them in it that is what plumber will do to get rid of grease chunks in a drain. A professional drain cleaner or plumber can also do this for about $133 that should be the going rate.

  26. What if I try to unscrew the nuts and they won’t budge?!?!

  27. Thanks so much! I didn't have all the tools but I managed to pull out hair and slime (my kids made) from my clogged sink!

  28. I wanna keep watching because this is useful to my current situation, but I can’t stand he way he talks.

  29. Ok my issue isn’t the slip nots in the middle and side. The mouth of the drain is loose how to I fix that? It seems like sneaky or something was put around it to hold it. Helps pls

  30. You should rinsed out those pipes in the tub after the paper towel before you install them back

  31. Help?! I tried this and it work until I put the p-trap back on, i cleaned the ptrap and put it back but starting clogging up again, any suggestions would be appreciated.

  32. Thank you!!! I just needed to take out the drain stop and clean it there. I had no idea newer sinks hand the handy contraption on the back to unscrew the stopper! This took me a total of 3 minutes. 🤘

  33. Great video. Helped me to unclog my sink this morning! Thanks alot!

  34. Fred July 6,2019
    Excellent video for teaching the first time bathroom sink repairer, …Thanks!

  35. My house has been stinking so bad and I checked my bathbroom sink followed your instructions and the pipe water inside stunk sooooo bad had a lot of hair and water was yellow do u think this was the cause of the smell

  36. Thank you so much. I'm a very skiddish girlie girl, but I neither have the time, the money, nor the patience to hire a plumber. Your Video IS THE MOST comprehensive DIY I have ever seen so far. Thank you for making it simple and getting straight to the point without all of the mindless chatter. It was not to bad for me. It wad simple and I did it!YOU ROCK!

  37. 8/29/2019 – no pivot arm. nothing back up there except the water lines. the handle that's supposed to make the stopper go up and down doesn't do anything. and i'm not able to pull out the stopper. think i need to call a plumber? :/

  38. my sink don't look like that at all it only has one of those things you loosen and it's so hard to get off the whole thing Im afraid to ruin anything also, but my sink has been clogged for weeks ..I have seen my dad do it twice before, but I don't remember how he did it and he already has enough chores of his own ..

  39. What is the purpose of the valve on the left side? My sink isnt clogged but only a little bit of water comes out

  40. It WORKED! Thank you so much 🙏🏾 You saved me money and hearing my mothers mouth

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