State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500168
Fixing Slow-Emptying Bathroom Lavatory
Usually the problem is hair and soap curds caught in the stopper. Check
first to be sure all the other drains in the house are working. If a
regular rubber stopper is used, the hair is probably hanging on the
screen in the drain pipe just below the stopper. Take the screen out
and clean it.
Next use a plunger which applies first pressure and then suction to the
plugged drain. To provide the suction and pressure, smear a good layer
of petroleum jelly on the edge of the rubber stopper. Then plug the
overflow with a wet rag so the air will not short circuit through the
overflow pipe. Pump the plunger to loosen the stoppage. If this loosens
the plug, rinse the drain with hot soapy water.
If the screen can't be removed and the plunger does not seem to help,
try removing the hair and trash.
Take a piece of wire (a regular hair pin, bobby pin, or thin coat
hanger), put a very short bend on one end maybe 1/4" or less. If the
piece of wire is very short, bend the other end so you can hold onto
the wire and turn it without dropping it. Work the hair back out of the
drain. This may take patience until it is all out.
After all the hair has been removed, flush several cups of hot water
down the drain. This should allow the bowl to empty.
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus,
with references from Michigan Extension bulletin First Aid for
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Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
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products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
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