I need to drain my bathroom sink because it is clogged.
I checked a couple of videos and I am confused on the following:
1)I see that to "unscrew" the tube underneath they turn it to the right instead of the left. I mean as you open the cabinet underneath the sink and face the vertical tube that the water goes, they turn it to the right to remove it.
I thought that we should turn it to the left. Why is this?
2) Should the popup lever behind the vertical tube be removed before or after we removed the tube? Or it doesn't matter?

  1. PVC screw fittings are unscrewed in the counter clockwise direction, but that's in reference to the pipe they are attached to. You may be upside down in some of those connections.

  2. The popup drain connection is made to the sink drain tail piece. You don't need to remove this to gain access to the trap below, so it can remain untouched.

Note that most clogs can be easily cleared by running a plumbing snake down the drain. You'll want one sized for your pipes, which in your case will likely be a relatively small diameter snake that can get around the drain and not get jammed in the tight turns of the trap.

  • 1) Thank you. I did not know that 2) It seems that it needs to be removed to clean properly. E.g. check 0:43 in this video youtube.com/watch?v=lJqW7k0KtgE . Concerning the snake I guess it is some kind of special tool. But why use that and not just remove the pipe and clean it? Is it more difficult than I think?
    – Jim
    Jan 14 '16 at 20:10
  • 2. If your clog is in the popup drain itself, and your popup is locked down by this connection, then you'll need to remove it, but it's not needed to access the trap below. You can also install the popup so it's sitting on top of the lifter which lets you easily access the drain to clean it in the future. While the snake may be more of a specialized tool compared to pliers, it's the only way to clean some clogs like those in a shower drain, and it can clean a sink drain like this in less than a minute with much less effort. So it becomes a time/effort/money trade off.
    – BMitch
    Jan 14 '16 at 20:26

A snake has a long reach, 25 feet, 50 feet, and more. So, if a clog is some number of feet into the piping, you may well need a snake. Alternatively, you can try to plunge the drain, forcing the clog along and breaking it up. Alternatively, you can pour boiling water or soap down the drain, to try to dissolve the clog. If you use strong acid (sold for this purpose) and it does not work, it will make the work harder because then the pipe will be filled with the strong acid. If you try the soap approach, leave it overnight. One question, does anyone who uses the sink have long hair?

  • Not very long hair, no
    – Jim
    Jan 14 '16 at 21:25
  • That is good, because hair is resistant to hot water and soap. But I had a clog in my bathroom plumbing due to long hair even tho no one in the family has long hair. I think the clog was due to the former owners - the wife had cancer and may have lost her hair due to chemo. 5 years after we bought the house, the hair clogged the bathroom sink drain, some 25 feet into the piping. The snake pulled a bunch of it up in a tight clump, and I had to clean it off the snake.
    – Yehuda_NYC
    Jan 15 '16 at 13:44

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