Bathroom sink gets repeatedly clogged. What to do?

So this is the first time I’ve lived in a place with a pedestal sink (as opposed to a vanity/cabinet sink) and the first time I’ve shared a bathroom with a guy in over a decade.

The sink clogs every time he shaves. We can’t afford to buy a bottle of Drano every month, and various home remedies are fairly limited in effectiveness. We’ve tried a cheap plastic snake, baking soda and vinegar, and now bleach, but at best it seems to just move the clog enough to allow water flow, and eventually the clog will move back and mostly plug up the pipe again.

How can we prevent this from happening in the first place? We’ve tried having him use the metal hair catch grate we have for the tub, but he said that the hairs were too short to get caught. (So why on earth are they apparently long enough to get caught in the drain??)

I don’t know if this is something unique to pedestal sinks, like the drain pipe is narrower or something. I really can’t see the pipes as they’re inside the porcelain pedestal, and while I think the pedestal is open in the back, there’s not enough room between it and the wall to see anything. Is there something we can do to prevent this from happening again? I can buy another bottle of Drano to clear things up this time, but I don’t want to have to keep doing that again and again. I’d rather it not get clogged in the first place.

FWIW my own hair doesn’t seem to clog the drain, no idea why.

Buy one of those plastic snakes at Home Depot–they cost about $4, do no damage to your pipes (unlike drano) and can be used over & over. It’s basically like dental floss for your pipes. I use mine all the time and it always brings up a disgusting clumpy pudding of soap, hair and lint.

I have a bathroom sink that clogs occasionally. I generally fill up the basin with hot tap water and go to work with a small plunger. Make sure to block the overflow holes with a wet rag. 5 minutes of working hot water back and forth in the pipe gets the blockage cleared, and free draining for another couple of months. Plunge a few times, then stop, let some new hot water down the drain, then plunge again.

Boiling water might work too, but don’t use a plunger with water that hot.

Wait! Wait!

I know the answer because this happened to me and Drano etc did NOT work but I read about it the Martha Stewart magazine. :slight_smile: And it worked like a charm.

Chlorine bleach. Dump about a third of a gallon of straight bleach down the sink when it’s empty and about as drained as it will ever get.

Leave it for several hours, or a day, then pour a gallon or so of boiling water down the drain. This absolutely worked for me.

Also: pipe wrench. There may be a mess of hair and gunk in the p-trap; which ought to be very accessible even in a pedestal sink. Look behind and below, where the plumbing meets the wall.

Alternatively, he can try to shave while showering.

Boiling water is good. The recipe I’ve seen most often is baking soda & vinegar followed by boiling water. (Or baking soda and boiling vinegar, but that gets pungent.)

Once you’ve gotten the clog cleared, I recommend using one of the enzyme cleaners. They will definitely help prevent a recurrence. (I’ve actually used enzymes to clear clogs before, but it takes many applications over a long period.)

She shares a bathroom with a GUY. You know damn well, he’s going to go in and run the water while her bleach is doing it’s work and ruin the whole process. This solution can only work if he leaves town for a day or two.

Is your sink the type that has the pop-up stopper with the push-pull lever sitting somewhere atop the faucet.

If yes, these can generally be taken apart from below the sink, if you do, you may find clumps of hair and gunk trapped by the linkage, rinse it out and re-instal and you should be good to go.

Pipes develop build-up over the years that severely restricts water flow. I’m guessing this problem is more to do with the lather than the hairs. You need to scrape ordissolve a good bit of the build-up.

Go down t your local ACE hardware and get some Sulphuric acid. Read the intructions carefully and protect your eyes and hands. run some hot water down the drain and then a big pot of boiling water.

Add the SA to the drain very slowly, like over the course of two hours, a cup at a time, but use the whole bottle. Have a ceramic bowl handy and put it upside down over the drain after each addition.

It will eat through whatever is in the pipe. it probably won’t touch every side, but whatever it touches will be clean, and you’ll have a lot more pipe circumference to use in future.

Get the drain as clean as possible with a snake and/or chemicals. Then routinely (as in EVERY time he shaves) have him run hot water down the drain for a minute after he’s done.

I hope these solutions work for the OP, but I have heard that pouring boiling water down PVC pipes isn’t a good idea. I’ve got some slow drains, but the waste pipes are PVC. Any ideas?

I have already tried the snake, baking soda and vinegar, and bleach, everything gets flushed with boiling water afterwards, and this does not get RID of the clog, only moves it temporarily.

So far the only thing that gets RID of the clog is Drano.

At this point, I’m more concerned with prevention than after-the-fact home remedies. I can get a bottle of Drano to fix the current clog. I do not want to get a bottle of Drano every month, or do a clog-removal routine every time he shaves, cuz that’s what we’re doing now.

We could perhaps try flushing with boiling water immediately after he shaves. We don’t have a shower mirror so for now at least he can’t shave in the shower, though that’s an option if we can’t figure out WTF with the sink. Because I’m awfully curious why his shavings are such a problem in the first place. I could understand it happening once, if the drain hadn’t been cleaned in a while and the greasy build-up required some quality time with the Drano. But every time? They’re like 1/4-inch hairs (or less), how on earth are they forming a mass big enough to block a pipe?

Also, this is a rented appointment. I will not be doing any plumbing myself. If such is necessary I’ll ask the management, but I’d like to exhaust other options first.

This. Assuming it’s a pop-up stopper, unhook the thingy from below, take the stopper, clean up the crud, and replace.

I did it a few weeks ago in one of our bathrooms with a chronically slow-running sink, and now it drains like a charm.

Even though you don’t think your hairs are getting down the drain, I’ll bet a few are here and there, which is enough to cause a clog to begin forming. Make sure neither of you are rinsing them down the drain.

Oh, for crying out loud, call a damn plumber.

I went through this with my bathroom sink. I tried everything listed above, including having Hallboy climb on the roof to pour boiling hot water down the vent. (My neighbor swore the people who lived here before me had a bird down the vent and this worked. It may have worked for them, but sure as hell didn’t work for me.)

So, I called a plumber who came and ended up removing the pipe where it went into the floor and took a huge snake on the end of a drill and cleaned the pipe. The stuff he brought up on the end of that snake was the most disgusting, foul smelling stuff I’ve ever seen in my life–and I’ve seen a lot of stuff. The sink drained fine after that. It cost me under $150–which may seem like a lot (or not), but it fixed the sink.

I also got enzyme cleaner, but since the directions recommend that start on the lowest floor of the house (and I live in a two story, with a basement, and the bathroom is on the second floor), I haven’t started using that yet.

No stopper. The pivot rod dangles off the back, but is not connected to anything. We bought a rubber plug stopper to fill the sink.

I’ve never had an apartment in Chicago where the sink stopper was provided, either. There’s always the push-pull lever, but never a stopper. WTF. The one time I asked them (aka harassed them) to replace the missing stopper (my first apartment, when I was still naive to the ways of Chicago landlords), they left me a rubber plug stopper, instead of actually fixing the sink.

Right… how do you shave at a sink, without washing hair down the sink, is exactly what I’m asking.

My bathroom sink would clog periodically (every 4-6 months) and I would unclog it with Drano, until a couple months ago when even Drano wouldn’t do much. What I ended up doing was removing the bottom of the U-trap (which was clean), then running water down the drain into a bucket, while using a long implement to scrape the walls of the pipe. There was a large disgusting blob in there that broke free and now the drain is flowing freely.

I have a hard time believing you are snaking the drain properly if it keeps clogging after every shave. I would guess there’s a blockage somewhere that you’re not getting.

I’m saying make sure none of your long hairs goes down the drain. Remove them from the sink as soon as you see them.