Snaking a Bathroom Sink Drain

Bathroom sink running faucet
low Decor / Getty Images
  • Total Time: 30 mins

Snaking a bathroom sink drain can be easy with the right tools and instructions. However, if the cause of the clog is located before the pipe goes into the wall, you may be able to clear it without having to use a drain snake. The first step is to find out where the clog is.


Watch Now: How to Snake a Drain

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Top snake
  • Gloves


  • Old rag


  1. Check the Pop-Up Assembly

    Hair and build-up can easily get wrapped around the pop-up stopper and cause the bathroom sink to drain slowly or stop up completely. Remove the pop-up stopper by disconnecting it from under the sink. Then pull it out from the top of the sink. Clean the stopper and re-install it to see if this cleared your clog. If not, go on to the next step.

    Bathroom pop up removal
    Aaron Stickley
  2. Check the Trap

    Next, disconnect the bathroom sink drain trap and make sure it is clear. Two nuts are holding the trap in place. Unscrew both nuts and pull the trap straight down to remove it. Consider putting a container under the bathroom sink drain to catch any water that spills as you remove the trap.

    Check the trap for anything that may be causing the stoppage and clear it out. Sometimes things like toothpaste caps, change or hairbands can end up in the drain trap and simply removing them is enough to clear the clog.

    Bathroom trap
    Aaron Stickley
  3. Check the Trap Arm

    If nothing was obstructing the flow of water in the pop-up or the drain trap, then the last place to look before using a snake is the trap arm. Sometimes the trap arm is glued into place, but the majority are fastened with a nut that sits in the back towards the wall.

    Loosen this nut and pull the trap arm straight out of the wall. You should now be able to look into the drain and see if there is a visible blockage in the pipe before it goes down the wall. If there is any obstruction remove it; if not, then you'll have to snake the bathroom sink drain.

    Trap arm
    Aaron Stickley
  4. Snake the Drain

    With the trap and trap arm removed, you can access the drain pipe to snake the bathroom sink drain. To run the drain snake, position yourself with the snake close to the opening of the drain pipe. For a bathroom sink drain, you should be fine using a top snake unless it is a particularly tough clog.

    Wear appropriate gloves and insert the end of the snake cable into the drainpipe; feed the cable into the drain pipe slowly while keeping firm pressure on it as the machine runs. Let the snake do the work of clearing the clog.

    If there is another sink directly behind the one you are snaking, make sure that the snake goes down the wall instead of across to the other sink trap. Usually, 10 inches is more than enough for a bathroom sink drain because the pipes will tie into the nearby toilet before going outside. However, the depth depends on the location of the clog.

    Snake bathroom sink drain
    Aaron Stickley
  5. Check the Drain

    After snaking the bathroom sink drain, put the trap and pop-up back together and check to see if the stoppage is clear. If the drain isn't clear, you may have to snake it again and go further down the line to clear the stoppage.

    Once the bathroom sink drain is unclogged, check for leaks at all the joints by filling the sink and draining it all at once.

    High Angle View Of Water Running From Faucet In Sink
    Steffi Kamp / EyeEm / Getty Images

Tips When Snaking Your Drain

  • Make sure your snake it close to the drain. The more slack you have, the harder it will be to control. This can be tricky because of the limited space, but the closer you keep the snake to the drain, the less chance the cable will tangle up.
  • Keep a rag handy and clean off the cable as you pull it back. The sludge on the snake as you extract it can make a big mess in the bathroom.
  • Small power snakes are cheap to purchase and you can rent them for around $25 for a few hours. Besides, the snake drums that can be hooked up to a power drill are very reasonable to buy.