How to Clean Pipes in the Bathroom Sink

Bathroom sink pipes have a tendency to become clogged due to constant exposure to hair and soap residue. Soon, they are draining slowly, and they may even begin to smell bad. Fortunately, it isn't difficult to clean out the pipes if you take some precautions each time you use the sink and know all your cleaning options. If one method isn't effective, can move on to the next step until your bathroom sink pipes are clean and functioning properly.

Clean Pipes in the Bathroom Sink
  1. Run hot water through the pipes for several seconds every time you use your bathroom sink. This helps prevent a build-up of hair or other gunk, such as soap residue. Once a week, throw in a handful of baking soda or pour in some vinegar before running the hot water.

  2. If your bathroom sink is starting to drain slowly, use a plunger to clean the pipes. You should fill the sink and plug the drain holes before you start to plunge. Lowe's Home Improvement recommends smearing a thick coating of petroleum jelly to the plunger's rim. This makes a tighter seal, increasing the suction to clean the pipes more effectively.

  3. Use a chemical cleaner. You can buy these cleaners at a grocery store or big-box retailer. Read the bottles carefully to choose one that is appropriate for your bathroom pipes. According to Lowe's Home Improvement, they will clean out your bathroom pipes through the use of caustic chemicals such as sulfuric acid or lye. Follow the directions on the bottle carefully. Once the pipes are clean and the water is draining properly, run plenty of water to flush out all of the chemicals.

  4. Clean the bathroom pipes manually by opening the trap, which is located under the sink. Lowe's Home Improvement says that many traps have a plug that you can open, which allows you to push in a bottle brush or straightened-out coat hanger to clean the pipe. If there is no plug, put a bucket under the pipes and unscrew the trap. Wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water, and clean out the pipes with a bottle brush or straightened hanger.


  • If your cleaning attempts are not effective, call a professional plumber. Continuing to attack your bathroom sink pipes with harsh chemicals can damage them. A plumber has the tools and expertise to take care of a stubborn problem safely.
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