Q: My bathroom sink isn’t draining very well, and it’s driving me crazy. While the water does eventually drain out, it takes a long time—and, in the meantime, it’s hard to use a sink full of dirty water. What can be done about the slow sink drain?
A: If by the time you finish brushing your teeth, you’re leaning over a sink full of water dotted with toothpaste foam, you face a very common problem: a partial clog. While frustrating, a slow sink drain is easy enough for most homeowners to remedy on their own. The culprit is generally a slimy mixture of soap scum, hair, sticky styling products, and/or thick shaving foam that has accumulated on the drain walls. While you might be tempted to reach for commercial drain openers right off the bat, know that these harsh and corrosive chemicals can irritate your skin and eyes and even harm old pipes. Since removing the blockage often won’t take any chemicals at all, we suggest playing it safe and following the steps outlined here.
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Clean the stopper.
Because of its position at the mouth of the drain and the metal “tail” that extends a couple inches into the pipe, the sink stopper—the small raised metal device used to plug the sink’s drain on command—tends to catch hair, soap, and other debris. Once this trapped ball of grossness gets too big, wham, you have a slow sink drain.