How to Clean a Slow Draining Bathroom Sink

unclogged drain

Do you have a slow draining bathroom sink? This common plumbing problem can be pretty annoying to deal with on a day-to-day basis, especially if you have multiple people using the same sink. If you’re planning to host additional family members over the holidays, you’ll definitely want to clear out that drain! Keep reading for instructions on how to clean a bathroom pop-up drain assembly.

What Causes a Slow Draining Bathroom Sink?

Hair and soap scum are common culprits for drain clogs in the bathroom. As debris builds up over time, it lines the drain and plugs up the pop-up drain stopper, causing the pathway for wastewater to become obstructed. This leads to a slow draining bathroom sink or, worse, a sink that won’t drain at all.

How to Clean a Bathroom Pop-Up Drain Assembly

When you start to notice a slow drain, that means it’s time to clean your bathroom sink’s pop-up drain assembly. Here’s how:

  1. Remove the top of the pop-up stopper by untwisting it counterclockwise.
  2. To disconnect the “+” shaped plastic pop-up stopper, go underneath the sink and find the pop-up lever located behind the drainpipe (a flat metal piece with several holes in it for size adjustment).
  3. Disconnect the pop-up lever from the thin metal arm that’s connected to the drain pipe. (Simply remove the clip and gently pull the lever off the arm.)
  4. Use pliers to unscrew the piece that connects the metal arm to the drain pipe. (Remember to place a pan or bucket underneath in case any water comes out!)
  5. Remove the metal arm.
  6. Go back up to the top of the sink, and lift the plastic pop-up stopper out of the drain. It should now come out easily using your fingers or needle-nose pliers.
  7. Clean off the pop-up stopper in a bucket or a different sink.
  8. To replace the stopper, first, screw the top back on by twisting it clockwise. Then place it back down into the sink drain.
  9. Get back underneath the sink and screw the metal arm back into place, reattaching it to the drain pipe. (Note: There should be a small flexible seal that sits between the arm itself and the screw piece.)
  10. Reattach the pop-up lever to the metal arm, using the clip to hold it in place.
  11. Go back up to the top of the sink and test to make sure the pop-up stopper is secure and doesn’t come out when you pull up on it.
  12. Turn on the faucet and put your handiwork to the test!

Have questions? Need help cleaning or unclogging your slow draining bathroom sink? Contact us! At Tony LaMartina Plumbing Company, we provide professional drain cleaning service for homes throughout the St. Louis area. Call our office at (314) 501-9950 or email