When your sink backs up, it usually spells trouble. The good news is that a lot of ways to fix such issues can be done so without relying on noxious chemicals. The first step in fixing a clogged drain is to make sure the area around the sink is clear. From there, you have to remove the stopper, which is a fairly simple process in which you find and release the pivot rod, from there, the stopper should pop right out.

You may be looking for a quick tutorial on how to unclog a bathroom sink. Here’s what to do when you find your bathroom sink all clogged up.

1. The Basics

In order to unclog a bathroom sink, be ready to get a little dirty, so have a pair of rubber gloves on hand. Cleaning the stopper of dirt and grime is probably the most unpleasant part of the job, but its also the most important. Hair and gunk can usually be removed easily, but on especially tough jobs, a toothbrush might be required.

If, for some reason, you can’t reach the gunk in the pipe, this may require you to unscrew the P-bend section of the pipe. These are the basic steps for when you need to take it apart, but it’s not always necessary. There are simple and natural plumbing solutions that work surprisingly well.

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar

This tried and true classic way will usually work. It’s not all that different from those papier mache volcanoes you used to make in elementary school. Simply mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of vinegar and pour it in the drain. It’ll start to fizz right away, so pour immediately. Let it sit for about an hour, working its way through the system. Once it subsides, flush out the drain with warm water.

3. Baking Soda and Salt

Once again, we rely on household products before we reach for the more toxic chemicals. Half a cup of both baking soda and salt is an effective remedy. After about 15 minutes, pour some piping hot water down the drain. Together, these three ingredients should take care of the problem.

4. Boiling Water

You wouldn’t think it, but before mixing different natural ingredients or relying on chemicals, a plain old kettle of piping hot water might do the trick. This is especially effective when the stoppage is due to soap scum. Just heat and pour. Try doing it in three or four different stages; fast, slow.

If it doesn’t do the trick, only then do you begin to experiment with other options. You will know the results fairly quick.

5. Wet and Dry Vacuum

A dry-wet vacuum is a handy appliance for any spills or stains around the house, but it also can play a key role in fixing particularly stubborn clogs. Simply create a seal surrounding the drain – it can be fairly makeshift, using a soda bottle or a plunger head – and let it rip. Any particles, big or small, causing a blockage will be sucked right out. This is a much more extreme measure, but one worth trying before you pick up the phone and call a heavily mustachioed man in red overalls.

6. Wire Hanger

The wire hanger is the last resort, as it’s usually the most disgusting. The hanger will typically be able to collect clods of dirty hair and other objects blocking the regular flow of the sink. From there, if nothing else works, there are chemicals to which you can resort.

If nothing of these options help, then you might need the assistance of a professional or, at the very least, some Drain-O or some brand that can run through the pipes, clear them out and having your bathroom sink flow nicely.

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