How to Clean a Bathroom Sink Drain

It's not a fun job, but someone has to do it. Read our tips for the most effective ways to clean your bathroom sink drain.

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.

person unclogging bathroom sink drain with tool

BHG / Laura Wheatley

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.

Avoid using harsh drain cleaners or bleach, which can be harmful to both your pipes and your health.

What You Need

  • Drain snake
  • Biodegradable pipe cleaner
  • Hydrogen peroxide (optional)

Step 1: Remove Debris from Drain


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.

Step 2: Unclog Drain

To unclog a bathroom sink drain, 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 drain.

Step 3: Remove and Prevent Odors


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 into the bathroom sink drain.

How to Unclog Hair from a Bathroom Sink Drain

Pay attention to your bathroom sink drain as you let water run 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 blockage is caused by hair combined with soap residue.

What You Need

  • Drain snake
  • Unclogging gel (optional)
  • Vinegar cleaning solution

Step 1: Remove the Clog

Remove the drain stopper and see if you can remove the clog yourself. Use a drain snake to unclog the bathroom sink drain.

Step 2: Use Unclogging Product

If the clog is too far down, try using an unclogging gel from the store. 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 Bathroom Sink Drain with Vinegar

Use natural ingredients to clean your drain.

What You Need

  • Boiling water
  • Plunger
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional)

Step 1: Pour Boiling Water

Pour a half-gallon of boiling water into the drain. {lunge the drain a few times to further loosen any blockages.

Step 2: Add Natural Ingredients

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. As an alternative, you can use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice as a replacement for white vinegar.

Step 3: Let Sit and Rinse

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.

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