It's not a fun job, but someone has to do it. Read our tips for the most effective way to clean your bathroom drain, including how to remove those pesky hair clogs and how to clean a sink drain with natural ingredients.

By Megan Boettcher
Updated April 08, 2019

Your bathroom might look clean, but that stinky smell coming from your sink drain says otherwise. No matter how careful you are about preventing items from slipping down your sink, soap and residue builds up and slows down the drain over time. And nobody wants a smelly drain, especially in small spaces like bathrooms and powder rooms. If left untreated, a blocked drain can clog the entire pipe, preventing water from draining properly. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent and clean a bathroom sink drain. Follow along for our guide on how to prevent and treat a smelly bathroom sink drain.

How to Clean a Bathroom Sink Drain

Regular preventative maintenance is the best way to keep your bathroom sink drain clean, which begins with cleaning the bathroom countertop and sink. Remove debris from the drain weekly. Remove pop-up stoppers or drain guards and discard any debris that has collected. Rinse and replace the stopper.

For tougher clogs, consider using a drain snake, available on Amazon or at any local hardware store, to remove hair and other debris from the trap under the bathroom sink drain. Keeping that debris from slipping further down the pipe is a great way to prevent clogs in the bathroom sink.

Bacteria lurking in the drain could also be to blame for a smelly bathroom sink. Using a biodegradable, non-corrosive pipe cleaner once a month can help keep the bathroom sink drain clean. Hydrogen peroxide is an inexpensive and non-corrosive option that can be poured directly in the bathroom sink drain. There are also natural cleaning products available in stores, but avoid using harsh drain cleaners or bleach, which can be harmful to both your pipes and your health.

How to Remove Hair from a Sink Drain

Pay attention to your bathroom sink drain as you let run water every morning. If water starts to drain slowly, you may need to clear the drain. If members of your family often brush their hair or shave over the sink, it's likely the block is a clump of hair. No need to worry, though. First, remove the drain stopper and see if you can remove the clog yourself. If it's too far down, a simple unclogging gel from the store will work. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when handling these chemicals. Or use the natural cleaning solution, below, to clear the drain.

How to Clean a Drain with Vinegar and Baking Soda

To clean tough residue from a bathroom sink drain using natural ingredients, start by pouring a half gallon of boiling water in the drain. The heat will help break up the debris. You may also want to plunge the drain a few times to further loosen any blockages.  

Next, spoon 1 cup baking soda slowly into the drain. Allow the baking soda to sit for a few minutes. Next, pour 1 cup white vinegar down the drain. Cover the opening as the vinegar and baking soda creates a foam; this will direct the foam down to the clogged area. Let the mixture sit for 1 hour, then rinse with another half gallon of boiling water. This process will break apart debris in the bathroom sink drain and eliminate odors. Repeat the process as needed to treat stubborn clogs. As an alternative, you can use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice as a replacement for white vinegar.

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