Why is my bathroom sink making a rhythmic drumming/clicking sound after I used a small plunger to help make water flow more quickly down the drain?

  • 6
    that's the sound of a clogged drain
    – Steven
    Nov 28, 2012 at 2:42
  • 8
    You know the sound that pouring out of a pop bottle makes when you're pouring too fast? When you have the bottle tilted just a bit, pop streams out smoothly; but as you tilt higher and higher eventually the water can't get out of the neck fast enough, and it "catches" until there's enough water behind it to push it out in one 'glug'; then it starts again. That's what's happening here. Not a complete blockage, but enough so that water can't flow out fast enough. Nov 28, 2012 at 3:05
  • 2
    Your sink may not be vented correctly. Leading to a slightly clogged drain...
    – DMoore
    Apr 12, 2013 at 22:16

2 Answers 2


Most bathroom sinks have a pop-up stopper, which works well for stopping the drain when you want. Unfortunately, it's also great at collecting hair and other debris that goes down the drain.

enter image description here

These stoppers should be removed and cleaned from time to time, to make sure the drain is flowing properly.

Clean the Stopper

Cleaning the stopper is the first step in troubleshooting a slow drain. There are many types of sinks, drains, and stoppers. I will cover cleaning one of the more common stoppers.

Removing the stopper

If you look under the sink, you'll notice a pipe coming out the bottom. On the back side of this pipe, you'll notice a rod sticking out. Where the rod enters the pipe, there should be a nut. If you remove the nut, you'll be able to slide the rod out. Once the rod is removed, you'll be able to pull the stopper up and out of the drain.

Clean the gunk

Once the stopper is removed, clean and rinse it. DO NOT rinse the stopper in the sink you removed it from.

Install the stopper.

Place the clean stopper back in the drain, and align it so that the rod will fit in to the hole at the bottom of the stopper. Go back under the sink, and reinsert the rod. Actuate the rod, to ensure the rod is properly inserted into the stopper (the rod should move the stopper up and down). Tighten the nut back down. Actuate the stopper a few times, to make sure the nut is not too tight or too loose. If it's too tight the stopper will not move, or will be difficult to move. If it's too lose the stopper may not stay in the full raised position.

Clean the Trap

The next step in troubleshooting a slow drain, is to clean the trap. Again drains may vary, I'll only be covering a trap with hand-tightened compression fittings.

Remove the trap

Since there will be water in the trap, you'll want to have a bucket under the trap before disassembling it. While holding the trap in place, remove the compression fittings at both ends.

enter image description here

Once the trap is free, carefully pull it free from the other pipes and dump it in the bucket.

Clean the trap

Clean the trap using paper towels and hot water.

Install the trap

Once the trap is clean, installation is the opposite of removal.

If after you've cleaned the stopper and trap, you don't notice an improvement in the drainage, or you're still having trouble. It might be time to contact a plumber, and have the line snaked out.


Badly clogged kitchen sink drain insisted on staying clogged. I turned up the temp on the hot water and ran the dishwasher a couple of times with a stop-start action while draining and using a plunger, which seemed to help, probably pushed the clog further down, based on how long draining water then took for it to start backing up. After augering, (wouldn't make the turn about 4' into the pipe, but did clear out some gunk using in/out movement) and cussing, I was BY GOD determined not to be defeated. Besides, after paying ridiculously high property taxes for the privilege of buying a home in Charlotte, NC, and handing the local vet a small fortune to diagnose and finally euthanize my sweet, sick dog (God bless him! RIP sweet Domino, sob) I was depressed, angry, well and truly broke and couldn't really afford a plumber anyway. I had already tried the usuals--Drano, Liquid Plumbr, cheap offbrands -- none of which actually work on anything but a mild clog-- I started asking around. An acquaintance recommended Dr. Amos brand drain cleaner, but at about $40 incl. shipping on Amazon, and after reading several negative reviews (about 25%) from its users, I decided against it. Googling found much cheaper "Instant Power" Hair and Grease Drain Cleaner that was very well reviewed overall. I picked a liter up at Home Depot for about $8. It has a money back guarantee so it's 'no lose' I hope. The woman at HD said this is the product plumbers buy. NOTE: It is lye based so a bit of caution is required---read label and reviews, I suggest! But safe for PVC and regular pipes it says. One reviewer out of over a hundred said it ate through his metal pipe. But I saw no mention from others of that problem. Could have been very old/damaged pipes. I'm going to pour it in and leave overnight (suggested by their help line) and see what happens. I'll update to let you know what happened!

  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question at all. Please take the tour and see How to Answer for more information.
    – Niall C.
    Apr 17, 2015 at 22:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.