Clearing a Lavatory Sink Drain: Human Hair, Soap Scum and Occasional Toothbrushes

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Mr. Rooter's Daily Tips: Pull the pop-up and out; clean it if necessary.

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Be wary of a washer that might come out as well. If it does, reinsert it with the concave part facing out toward the ball on the lever.

The lavatory drain gets its fair share of clogs, “mostly due to human hair and soap scum, and sometimes an occasional toothbrush,” says Bob Beall, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing Youngstown, Ohio. “Nine times out of 10, you can clear the lavatory drain by simply removing the pop-up from the center of the bowl and cleaning off the hair.”

Some sinks, such as bowl sinks, do not have a pop-up. “For these models you can often auger straight down into the vertical part of the trap,” says Mr. Rooter. “However, your cable may not be able to get through the trap itself.” Be sure to check the drainpipes for leaks after you’ve tried any auguring.

“To rod a sink with a pop-up,” says Beall who offers consumers daily plumbing tips, “go under the sink and unscrew the cap holding the lever that activates the pop-up.” Then pull the lever straight back and out. “Do not lose any parts,” says Mr. Rooter, the most referred plumber in the world. Beall says, “Be wary of a washer that might come out as well. If it does, reinsert it with the concave part facing out toward the ball on the lever.”

Mr. Rooter’s Tip Of The Day

Tip #1 Remove the pop-up. This is where most clogs occur. If the pop-up comes out clean…

Tip #2 Find the clog in another location. If it comes out with a mass of hair, clean it. With the pop-up removed, you can rod the line straight down from the sink.

Tip #3 A fish-hook grabber may be used to pull out any debris and balls of hair. It may be a good idea to forgo using the auger and go straight to the P-trap. Put a bucket under the trap to catch the water that’s in it. Then simply unscrew the two slip nuts and the trap will fall away.

Tip #4 Clean the trap and make sure there is no blockage in the trap line going into the wall. If you still can’t find the blockage, clean the trap line.

Tomorrow Mr. Rooter will cover the topic of cleaning the trap line.

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Rooter (Pittsburgh)

Robert A. Beall
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