My bathroom sinks get clogged quite regularly. I end up taking apart the u-tube and manually pulling out the disgusting mess with a coat hanger modified for the occasion.

Is there a way to unclog the sinks without having to take them apart?

The content of the clogs is soap scum, hair, and some associated mold.

Before you mark this as another duplicate, note that the answers from these questions do not address the present question. These ones are all manual, I'm looking for a solution where I don't have to take things apart and physically remove the clog.

To be clear, I'm fine with chemicals, potions, or other concoctions.

  • possible duplicate of How can I clear my shower drain without drain cleaner?
    – apaul
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 3:37
  • 2
    @apaul34208 that question is linked to in this one, and the OP explained why this question is different (this question seeks, specifically, a solution that doesn't require dismantling anything).
    – Shokhet
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 4:12
  • @Shokhet the accepted answer in both cases is more or less "use an improvised plunger"
    – apaul
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 16:02
  • possible duplicate of How to unblock a blocked drain?
    – kenorb
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 16:18
  • caustic soda, 500ml in 5 litres of boiling water pur it in carefully and leave for 2 hours. Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 8:29

6 Answers 6


Our kitchen sink clogged once after I used the disposal on potato peels. I ended up using the stopper, the plug used to fill the sink, like a plunger. So I would bet an actual toilet plunger would also work. I would recommend having one you only use on the sink though, don't want to be putting a dirty toilet plunger in your sink.

  • Plungered two sinks with great success. Took less than a minute for each, required no dis-assembly, generated essentially no mess, and used no coat hangers. Nice!
    – Minnow
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 3:30
  • there is a reason they call them plumbers helper. i had a permanent clog in a kitchen sink one time and would just plunger it before doing the dishes worked every time. same situation with a shower that wouldnt drain
    – celeriko
    Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 4:21

I learned this one at university (there were some bad kitchen habits there!). Roll your sleeves up and half-fill the sink (warm water is best) - it wont drain quickly by definition. With palms face down, place one hand over the other, and both over the plug hole. Pump like CPR half a dozen times... then watch the water drain away :-) You are effectively using your bare hands as a plunger. My son's uni sink had been semi-blocked all autumn term... he was gobsmacked when I unclogged it in 30 seconds at Xmas. Once you get a result you'll never forget this trick.


You can buy "Sink and Drain Unblocker" in 1 litre bottles for £1 in the UK. You normally use 500ml to unblock or 250ml for a "prophylactic" dose every couple of weeks. I've used the stuff and it does the job just fine.

I also like to use dishwasher tablets to keep plugholes clean, for instance just drop one in the shower tray (away from where you stand) and let the water dissolve it into the plughole. I appreciate this may not work so well in a sink - but possibly the overflow could be used...?


For really tough clogs I suggest the use of a water bladder that goes on the end of your hose. Might be overkill for a typical clog in a bathroom drain, but if the clog is deep, hard to get to, past the p-trap a water bladder can do the trick. They are available in most hardware stores and online for about ten bucks.

Included Image shows the principle behind how they work.

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A large quantity of boiling water sometimes works.

I usually avoid chemicals because they often cause wear and tear on the pipes (depends on the chemicals and the pipes but don't trust the advertised claims). A leaky pipe is a much bigger problem than a clogged pipe.


There is a product called Zip-It that I saw at Lowes which appears to be a long strip of barbed flexible plastic. It is meant to be pushed into the drain and then withdrawn, catching clogged material in the barbs for removal. I bought one but haven't had to use it yet so I can't testify to its value, but it appears to be a more flexible variation on your coat hanger. The coat hanger sounds potentially damaging. http://zipitclean.com/

  • Those devices are remarkably effective at hair removal from drains. Commented May 14, 2015 at 19:07

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