Plumbers 911 Chicago

What Causes A Bathroom Sink to Clog?

If your bathroom sink isn’t draining, the professional plumbers at Plumbers 911 Chicago can help! We are available for bathroom sink drain cleaning in Chicago or any of the other 240 cities in the Chicagoland area that we service. Checkout our Service Area today and see if we can help in your area.

One of the most common nuisances that homeowners face is a clogged bathroom sink. It can be frustrating and inconvenient to deal with a sink that doesn’t drain properly. Understanding the causes of a clogged bathroom sink can help prevent future problems and keep your sink running smoothly.

Hair: One of the main culprits of a clogged bathroom sink is hair. Hair naturally falls out while washing and brushing, and it can easily accumulate in the drain over time. As the hair builds up, it can create a blockage that prevents water from flowing freely. Regularly removing hair from the sink and using a drain cover can help prevent this common cause of clogs.

Soap and Toothpaste Residue: Another common cause of a clogged bathroom sink is the buildup of soap and toothpaste residue. When we use these products, they can leave behind a sticky film that can accumulate in the drain. Over time, this residue can trap other debris, leading to a clog. Regularly cleaning the sink and using hot water to flush away any buildup can help prevent this type of clog.

Mineral Buildup: In areas with hard water, mineral buildup can be a common cause of bathroom sink clogs. Over time, minerals in the water can accumulate and form deposits in the pipes, restricting the flow of water. Using a water softener or regularly descaling the sink can help prevent mineral buildup.

Foreign Objects: Sometimes, objects that don’t belong in the sink can find their way into the drain and cause a clog. This can include items like jewelry, cotton swabs, or small toys. These objects can easily become lodged in the drain pipe and create a blockage. Being mindful of what goes down the sink and using a drain cover can help prevent this type of clog.

In conclusion, a clogged bathroom sink can be caused by various factors such as hair, soap and toothpaste residue, and foreign objects. By being aware of these common causes and taking preventive measures, you can keep your sink from clogging and ensure it functions properly for years to come.

Hair build-up

One of the most common causes of bathroom sink clogs is the build-up of hair. When we shave or wash our hair in the sink, some of the hair can fall down the drain and accumulate over time. As the hair builds up, it can create a blockage in the pipe, preventing water from flowing freely.

Long hair is especially prone to causing clogs, as it tends to get tangled and wrapped around other debris in the drain. Over time, this can form a solid mass that is difficult to remove.

To prevent hair build-up in your bathroom sink, it is recommended to use a hair strainer or stopper. These devices fit over the drain and catch hair before it can go down the pipe. They are inexpensive, easy to clean, and can save you from the hassle of dealing with a clogged sink.

If you already have a clog due to hair build-up, there are several methods you can try to remove it. One popular method is to use a plunger to create suction and dislodge the clog. Another option is to use a drain snake, a long flexible tool that can be inserted into the pipe to break up the blockage. If these methods don’t work, you may need to call a professional plumber to remove the clog.

Regular maintenance is key to preventing hair build-up in your bathroom sink. Taking the time to clean your drain regularly and using a strainer or stopper can help keep your sink flowing smoothly and prevent clogs from occurring.

Soap scum accumulation

Soap scum is a common cause of clogged bathroom sinks. When we wash our hands or clean dishes, soap residue can build up in the drain over time. This sticky substance is made up of soap particles, dirt, and minerals from hard water, which can easily cling to the walls of the drain pipe.

If not cleaned regularly, soap scum can accumulate and block the flow of water, causing the sink to clog. Additionally, other debris such as hair, toothpaste, and dirt can combine with the soap scum, exacerbating the problem.

To prevent soap scum accumulation, it is recommended to regularly clean the sink and drain. Wiping down the sink with a mild detergent and water solution can help remove any soap residue on the surface. Using a drain stopper or strainer can also help catch hair and larger particles before they go down the drain.

If soap scum has already built up in the drain, there are several methods to unclog it. One common method is to pour boiling water down the drain to try and dissolve the soap scum. Alternatively, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda can be used to create a foaming reaction that helps break down the soap scum.

In some cases, a plumber’s snake or drain auger may be necessary to physically remove the soap scum blockage. If the clog persists or is too severe, it may be best to contact a professional plumber for assistance.

Toothpaste residue

One of the common causes of bathroom sink clogs is toothpaste residue. When we brush our teeth, it is natural for some toothpaste to end up in the sink. Over time, this toothpaste residue can accumulate and form a sticky layer along the walls of the drainpipe.

This sticky layer can attract other debris such as hair, soap scum, and dirt particles, causing them to adhere to the walls of the pipe as well. As the build-up increases, it can gradually restrict the flow of water through the drainpipe and eventually lead to a clog.

It is important to note that toothpaste residue is often mixed with other substances like saliva and food particles that may have been rinsed from our mouths. This combination can further contribute to the clogging of the sink drain.

To prevent toothpaste residue from causing clogs, it is advisable to rinse the sink thoroughly after brushing your teeth. Regularly using a plunger or sink snake can also help to dislodge any accumulated residue and prevent blockages. In addition, using a drain cover or strainer can catch larger debris and prevent it from reaching the drainpipe.

Remember: Proper maintenance and regular cleaning can go a long way in preventing bathroom sink clogs caused by toothpaste residue. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure a smooth and efficient drainage system in your bathroom sink.

Foreign objects

Foreign objects are a common cause of bathroom sink clogs. People often accidentally drop small items down the sink drain, such as toothpaste caps, earrings, or other small bathroom essentials. These objects can easily become lodged in the pipes, obstructing the flow of water and causing a clog.

In addition to small items accidentally falling into the sink, larger foreign objects can also cause clogs. For example, children may play with toys near the sink and accidentally drop them in. These larger objects can create a more severe blockage in the pipes.

To prevent foreign objects from causing clogs in your bathroom sink, it is important to be mindful of what you are disposing of down the drain. Avoid rinsing small items or allowing them to accidentally fall in. Additionally, consider using a drain cover or strainer to catch any potential foreign objects, such as hair, before they can enter the drain.

If you suspect a foreign object may be causing a clog in your bathroom sink, it is best to call a professional plumber. They have the tools and expertise to safely remove the object and clear the clog without causing further damage to your plumbing system.

Grease and oil buildup

One common cause of bathroom sink clogs is the buildup of grease and oil. When you wash your hands or face, it’s common for some grease and oil to go down the drain along with the water. Over time, these substances can accumulate and start to clog the pipes.

Grease and oil are particularly problematic because they are sticky and can cling to the sides of the pipes. As more and more of these substances coat the pipe walls, it becomes easier for other debris, such as hair and soap scum, to get trapped and create a clog.

To prevent grease and oil buildup, it’s important to be mindful of what goes down the drain. Avoid pouring cooking oil, grease, or fat down the sink as these can solidify and cause clogs. Instead, dispose of them in a separate container and throw them in the trash.

If you notice that your bathroom sink is draining slowly or is completely clogged, it’s best to address the issue as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem can lead to more severe clogs and potential damage to the pipes.

  • Use a drain strainer or hair catcher to prevent hair and large debris from going down the drain.
  • Regularly clean the drain stopper and remove any hair or debris that might be collecting there.
  • Flush the drain with hot water and a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to help break down any grease or oil buildup.
  • If the clog persists, you can try using a plumbing snake or a plunger to remove the blockage.

By taking preventative measures and addressing grease and oil buildup early on, you can avoid more serious clogs and keep your bathroom sink running smoothly.

Old pipes or plumbing issues

If you have an older home, it’s possible that your bathroom sink clog is due to old pipes or plumbing issues. Over time, pipes can deteriorate or become corroded, leading to a buildup of debris and hair. Additionally, older plumbing systems may not have the same capacity to handle the amount of waste and water flow as newer systems.

Another common plumbing issue that can cause your bathroom sink to clog is a partial or complete blockage in the pipes. This can occur from a variety of reasons, such as the accumulation of grease, soap scum, or mineral deposits. In some cases, tree roots may also infiltrate the pipes, causing obstructions that result in clogs.

If you suspect that your bathroom sink clog is due to old pipes or plumbing issues, it’s important to consult a professional plumber. They can assess the condition of your plumbing system and recommend any necessary repairs or drain pipe replacements. It’s also a good idea to have regular maintenance checks on your pipes and plumbing to prevent clogs from occurring in the first place.


Why does my bathroom sink keep getting clogged?

Bathroom sinks can become clogged due to a variety of reasons. The most common cause is the accumulation of hair, soap scum, and toothpaste residue in the drain pipe. Over time, these substances can collect and form a blockage. Other causes of sink clogs include foreign objects accidentally dropped down the drain, such as jewelry or small toys.

What should I do if my bathroom sink is clogged?

If you have a clogged bathroom sink, there are a few steps you can take to try to clear the blockage. First, you can try using a plunger to dislodge the clog. Place the plunger over the drain and gently push and pull several times. If this doesn’t work, you can remove the drain stopper and use a wire hanger or drain snake to manually remove the clog. In more severe cases, you may need to call a plumber for assistance. Never use a chemical drain cleaner as the potential damage is not outweighed by the potential temporary relief.

How can I prevent my bathroom sink from getting clogged?

There are several steps you can take to prevent your bathroom sink from getting clogged. First, you should avoid rinsing large quantities of hair or toothpaste down the drain. You can use a drain strainer or hair catcher to trap hair before it enters the drain. Regularly cleaning the drain stopper and overflow holes can also help prevent clogs. Additionally, you can pour boiling water down the drain once a week to help dissolve any potential buildup.

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