Introduction: Clear Sink Clog - FAST, NO BUCKETS, NO CHEMICALS

So, the bathroom sink is clogged again. I hate it when that happens. Here is the fastest, simplest, tidiest way to get rid of this little inconvenience.

The web is FULL of references and guidance on clog-removal methods that involve disassembly of pipes, or evil liquids of one sort or another. We are going to AVOID all that yuck and mess, and get right to the heart of the matter.

Most of the time, the clog is a combination of hair and slime, and it is NOT at the bottom of the trap. (That's the plumbing term for that removable U-shaped pipe at the bottom.) Slime and hair collect in the drainpipe right where the stopper-lift lever intrudes into the drainpipe. We are simply going to pull out the stopper-lift lever, scrape the clog loose, and flush it on down the drain. No muss, no fuss, no wrenches, no Nasty Potions. You don't even have to SEE the foreign life form.

(BY THE WAY, since you are an insightful and proactive person, you will perform this procedure BEFORE the drain is TOTALLY clogged. Letting the water seep out, even if it takes a while, allows you to do the job without a bucket.)

All you need is a short length of 1" PVC pipe to use as a scraper. This handy tool will work EVERY time, for the rest of your house-keeping life.

If you are the Do-it-Yourself type of person, you may already have some 1" plastic pipe left over from some other project. You can certainly get it at most hardware stores or home centers. If you prefer the online-commerce approach, as many do, a modest $5 PayPal transaction to your author will bring one to your door.

Step 1: The Region of Goo

OK, kids, this is where it's happening - the spot where the stopper-lifting rod intrudes into the drainpipe. In my experience, there's usually some hair hanging over the rod, in combination with some gooey bio-slime. All we need to do here is pull out the stopper and the lifter rod, give the glop a shove in the right direction, and flush it away.

Step 2: Remove the Lifting Rod

Undo the lifting rod nut by turning it CLOCKWISE. It seems counter-intuitive, but the standard "righty-tighty, lefty loosie" would only apply if you were facing this assembly from the back side.

After the nut's off, simply pull out the lifting rod. If you were proactive enough to take care of this job before the sink was TOTALLY clogged, nothing will come out except a wee ball of slime. If you ARE in deep water, better have a bucket handy.

After the lifting rod is out, you can pull the stopper out of the drain pipe. Yes, the bottom leg of the stopper is likely to be covered in slime, which you can remove with your finger or an old toothbrush. (Not your housemate's.)

Step 3: Scrape That Clog Right Out of Your Life!

Ok, even though we've removed the hardware that passes through the Region of Goo, that ol' slime ball is probably still hanging in there. This is where our PVC* push-pipe comes in handy. Introduce the pipe into the drain, and push down. You will possibly feel some resistance at first. The Goo will resist a wee bit, but you are far mightier.

It's a good idea to scrape multiple times, getting all sides of the drainpipe.

*If you don't have a length of plastic pipe handy, some other solid item with a small-enough curved edge will do. In a pinch, I have been known to use a length of wooden quarter round trim.

Step 4: Ready, Set, FLOOSH!

OK, almost done. Now that the clog is scraped loose, all you have to do is open the faucet and let the water flush it down the drain.

Oh, yes, it is VERY smart to seal the opening where the lift rod was located. Perhaps your finger or thumb is large enough to cover it. (If not, improvise with a wad of bath tissue.)

VICTORY! Goo-Be-Gone! Well done. Nothing left to do but reassemble.

Step 5: Reassembly

If you've gotten this far, reassembly should be easy.

  • Remove any improvised item used to block the lift-rod opening.
  • Push the lifting rod back into its opening.
  • Reattach the lift-nut by turning it counter-clockwise.
  • Wash your hands, and treat yourself to a fine beverage.