State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500371
Fixing Plugged Sink or Lavatory Drains
If all other sink and toilet drains are open the blockage is probably
1. Check the stopper for accumulations of hair, soap and other foreign
material. If a plain rubber stopper is used the accumulation is
probably on the grate in the drainpipe just below the stopper. Proceed
as described for slow emptying lavatories.
2. Some mechanical stoppers can just be pulled out, others can be
lifted, turned and raised, still others require disassembling the unit.
Take the stopper out and remove all hair and foreign material.
3. If the stopper will not come out you have a more difficult problem.
Remove the trap below the sink as described in Step 4. Also remove as
much of the pipe to the bowl as possible. Now with a wire with a short
hook, clean the hair out by working both from below and above the sink.
4. After the bowl drain is free, remove the bottom of the trap below
the lavatory by turning the two large nuts. The nuts are on the pipes
to so turn them counter- clockwise as you look at them from the pipes.
Be sure to put a bucket under the trap to catch the water which
accumulates in the trap. Clean out the trap with hot soapy water.
5. Insert a plumber's "spring snake" into the drain pipe and turn it as
it goes into the pipe. There is usually a hook on the tip which will
catch on whatever is in the pipe. If and when you feel it catch, pull
it back out. Do not try to push it through. Usually a plumbing fixture
is within 5 or 6 feet from a vertical pipe so if the snake goes through
to this pipe you can feel it on the snake and the system should drain.
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus,
with references from Michigan Extension bulletin First Aid for
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June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
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