Our one and only bathroom sink is draining slowly and it's driving me a little crazy. I have watched a number of videos on how to correct the issue and tried them all. I have cleaned the "P" trap and snaked the sink pipes and vent (to a about 3 or 4 feet. I didn't want to force the snake. I will be trying to go in further today). I also cleaned out the overflow. I have found no obstructions. The water in the sink just seems to start backing up as soon as the water from the tap hits the water in the "P" trap. Am I missing something obvious. As I said I am going to try and snake into the pipes again today and try and get around corners that are obstructing the snake. If anyone has any thoughts please let me know. I really don't want to spend a lot of money for a plumber on something that should be simple to remedy.

  • How did you snake the vent? If you run a snake through the ptrap it will be forced to turn down when it comes to the sanitary tee, ( the tee that connects it to the drain/vent pipe. ) The santee has a curve to it and will direct the snake down. If there is blockage in the vent above that the snake will not reach it, the blockage will cause a vacuum problem resulting in the water not being able to drain efficiently. You need to snake the vent from above.
    – Alaska Man
    Jan 2, 2018 at 19:53
  • Thanks for your reply. I accessed the vent via the clean out under the bathroom sink. Unfortunately I can't access the vent from above as the vent is connected horizontally to the main vertical stack. Jan 2, 2018 at 21:44
  • Does that mean you have only snaked part of the vent. Have you snaked the main stack from the roof? IE: you have to eliminate any possible vent blockage issues upstream from the fixture in question.
    – Alaska Man
    Jan 2, 2018 at 21:59
  • I have snaked the two roof vents and they are clear. I will be attempting to do the sink vent via the clean out under the sink again. I believe the vent for the sink is connected to the vent for the shower as they are side by side. We haven't had any issue with the shower draining. Jan 2, 2018 at 22:04

3 Answers 3


To bring the issue to a conclusion I ended up bringing in a plumber. It took him about ten minutes with a powered auger to locate the partial blockage in the pipe. The blockage was located about 12 feet into the pipe. It was an expensive resolution for 10 minutes work but at least the issue has been resolved. I will perhaps purchase a better auger so as to deal with future issues. Thanks to all that gave suggestions on how to deal with the issue.


Have you tried Red Devil Lye? Its pure granulated caustic. Don't get it on your skin or eyes, be sure to wear gloves and eye protection. Put a quarter to a half cup down the drain and pour warm water on it. It will start reacting as soon as the water touches it, and might bubble up. The trap will get hot to the touch. Anything organic in the pipe will be dissolved. Wait about 10-15 minutes and flush with warm water again. Its heavy duty stuff, and works where liquid / gel drain cleaners don't.

  • I did try using baking soda, vinegar and hot water as a remedy as I didn't want to use anything to caustic. The concoction didn't do anything to help. Jan 2, 2018 at 21:44

A snake will only get major obstructions. It won't work on what's most likely the cause which is hair combined with soap and dirt.

Trust me, this works great: I always use the hair removal + baking soda + vinegar + hot water method. I've personally done this dozens of times and it always works.

Before you do anything, get all the hair out of the drain that you possibly can. This will require using needle nosed pliers to get all the hair you can see that's close to the drain. Then follow up with the barbed hair removal tool as shown in Fig.1 to get the hair that's deeper into the pipe.

Next, pack regular baking soda as far into the drain hole as you can until you can't pack any more. Next, start pouring vinegar down the hole. Let the vinegar dissolve and react with the banking soda. This is a gradual process. Pour a little at a time. When that's all done, pour boiling water down the drain and it should work fine.

I've personally done this dozens of times and it always works.

Fig.1. Hair extraction tool

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  • I have used the baking soda / vinegar remedy as well as the hair extraction tool as far as I could reach with it through the clean out. Neither worked. Jan 2, 2018 at 21:44

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