Difficulty: 1 of 5


Clearing a blocked sink drain requires only few basic tools and a little elbow grease.


Wear goggles for eye protection and use a bucket to contain the mess underneath the sink.


– Goggles
– Plumbing snake
– Plunger
– Sealer
– Wrench

Step 1: Use a plunger to clear the clog

Plug the overflow drain hole (in a bathroom sink) or additional drain (in a double kitchen sink) with a wet rag to create suction. Plunge using an upward motion to pull the blockage and clear the drain.
Try using a plunger first to clear the drain.

Step 2: Remove clean-out plug or trap to access blocked drain

If a plunger does not work, find and remove the clean-out plug on the lowest point of the drain, under the sink. Use a plumber’s wrench to loosen the plug, then remove by hand. Allow water to drain into a bucket. If there is no clean-out plug, remove the entire curved trap by loosening the couplings on either end of the curved trap. Allow water to drain into a bucket.
Use a plumber’s wrench to loosen the clean-out plug.

Step 3: Clear the trap and pipes with a plumber’s snake

Push a plumber’s snake up both pipes through the clean-out plug hole or the exposed trap ends. Work the snake until blockage is removed. The snake can be used to clean out the removed trap, too.
Push a plumber’s snake up both ends of the pipe to clear blockage.

Step 4: For bathroom sink, remove drain plug and clear trap

In a bathroom sink, a lever raises and lowers the drain plug. The lever is attached to the knob on the sink. Unscrew the nut on the back of the drain pipe and pull the control rod out. Remove the drain plug from the sink bowl and push a plumber’s snake down the drain to clear remaining blockage.
Unscrew the knob and pull the control rod to release the drain plug.

Step 5: Replace trap and clean-out plug

Replace the drain plug in the sink and push the control rod back into the hole in the drain pipe, through the drain-plug hole. Fasten the nut by hand. Replace the clean-out plug or drain trap. Use plumber’s compound on the clean-out plug to create a seal. Fasten first by hand, then tighten until snug with a plumber’s wrench. Do not overtighten. Run hot water into the drain, flushing out any remaining debris.
Use a wrench to tighten the clean-out plug.