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Bathroom Sinks - Common Problems and Fixes

Updated on February 24, 2013

When it comes to bathroom sinks and problems that arise with them, there are a few problems that seem to turn up more often than others. No one wants to spend money unnecessarily by calling a plumber if it is unnecessary and can be handled on your own. This article will take a look at a few of the most common issues that arise with bathroom sinks, as well as the best way to go about addressing them. We'll look at issues with low water pressure, improper draining, and stubborn, problem odors. And rest assured that we won't be talking about any special tools or skills needed as this is aimed at the average homeowner.

Let's first take a look at the issue of low water pressure coming from either your bathroom sink or your kitchen sink. There have been many reports of people struggling mightily trying to figure out how to increase water pressure from their bathroom sink faucets (or kitchen sink faucets for that matter). The truth is, more often than not, the answer is really quite simple. In addition, you won't need any special tools to see if this is the right fix for your problem.

flickr image by Helga's Lobster Stew
flickr image by Helga's Lobster Stew

In case you weren't aware, sinks typically have small screens at the exit point of the faucet that can get clogged over time. The clause can come from rust, pebbles or minerals in the water. The simple solution is to unscrew the end caps that hold together the screens and the end of the faucet. If this has not been done in a long time it may be a little bit tight and difficult to unscrew, but keep at it. Once you have the screen removed, turn on the water and check the water pressure. Most likely, you'll be surprised at how strongly it comes out.

At this point you simply need to clean out the screen by rinsing it and possibly scrubbing it lightly with a toothbrush in order to blow the particles out of the screen mesh. Now, simply reinstall it and you should be good to go.

flickr image by aprillynn77
flickr image by aprillynn77

What Could Possibly Be Clogging Your Bathroom Sink???

When it comes to improper draining of a bathroom sink, the reasons can be many (trust us, we know! Running a company that provides housing for extended stay Tucson visitors, we've seen it all...)

The first course of action that many people take is pouring drain cleaner down the drain. While this is a simple solution, it's a good idea to try to avoid it if at all possible. Drain cleaner is rotten dream type as well as being generally hazardous to the environment. A better option involves crawling beneath the bathroom sink cabinets and dismantling the p-trap to see if there is anything obvious inside that would be blocking water flow. Plumbers have reported incidents of finding things such as large earrings, caps from product bottles and even toothbrushes lodged in the drain pipe.

Finally, let's look at problem odors emanating from your bathroom sink. Again, a common approach used by many homeowners is to simply try pouring bleach or some other household cleaner down the drain in an effort to eliminate whatever might be causing the smell. Depending on what it is you're pouring down the drain and in what concentration, this might not be a very good idea either for or drainpipes or for the environment. An alternative to using harsh household cleaners in this way is to try using baking soda.

Try taking an entire box of baking soda and pour just enough in so that the drain doesn't get plugged up when running some cold water to chase it down. The following day for about a half a cup of white vinegar down the drain. You might repeat the white vinegar process the next day if necessary. Both of these products are natural cleaners and fresheners but they're not harmful to the pipes or the environment. If this doesn't work for you, the next step will involve a little bit of dismantling.

Unclog a Bathroom Sink

Often times, over time, things get caught up in the drain plug mechanism. The drain plug mechanism is a thing that you push and pull to open and close the drain plug in your bathroom sink. It's not uncommon to have hair, soap scum, and various other nasty stuff cling to an accumulate on this mechanism. Even on small bathroom sinks the amount of stuff that can be trapped here can add up and eventually produce an unpleasant odor. What you will need to do is to unscrew the drain plug to see if this is the culprit. However, you may need to go a bit farther than this.

Underneath, in the bathroom sink cabinet (assuming we're not talking about a bathroom pedestal sink), you should be able to see the rod that controls this mechanism where it passes through a ball joint. You'll simply need to unscrew the retaining collar seeking take the ride from the drain pipe. At this point you'll be able to completely remove the plug from the drain. At this point you can pour a good amount of water down the drain to flush anything remaining through the pipes. Re-insert the plug back into the drain making sure it is lined up properly so that engages with the hole in the plug end. When you tighten it, you don't need to do anything much more than finger tight to make sure there is no leak at that point.

You CAN Help Fix Your Bathroom Sink!

As you can see, no special tools were needed for any of these bathroom sink fixes. While it may not be the most pleasant work to do, and I might get a little bit messy, for most people it's a worthwhile alternative as compared to the expense of calling a plumber to address these relatively minor issues. So go on and give these a try. You might be surprised at how handy you are at fixing your bathroom sink or your kitchen sink with these simple solutions.


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    • profile image

      Floyd Hardee 

      6 years ago

      Although Drano is one of the best ways to easily unclog a drain I have learned to use a bit of prevention. We bought several wire(or plastic) strainers. They make them in different sizes. We placed one in each bath room and our kitchen sinks. We also place one in the bath tub and shower. Each time I shave I remove the drain filter afterward and remove the bit of hair accumulated there. You would be surprised at how much rubish, trash, hair and so forth accumulates in each of these drain filters. My wife commented on it just the other day. "I never knew how much was going down the drain and into our pipes until we did this!"

      So my adviced is put in those filters, keep them cleaned out, and keep that Drano handy just in case. This sure helped us out! fjh

    • reza_ali profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice tips, i'll try this at home, thank you for posting :)

    • Shaunelle Tansy profile image

      Shaunelle Tansy 

      8 years ago from a galaxy far far away

      This is a great hub. I can definitely vouch for baking soda as being the perfect thing for unclogging your bathroom sink. Every household should have some baking soda handy.


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