How to Unclog a Bathroom Sink with Standing Water and No Chemicals

Plumbing issues can be a huge problem for many homeowners but there are some that you may be able to resolve yourself. When standing water is left in a blocked sink, not only is it a nuisance but it also presents a risk to the rest of your family as well. In this guide we are exploring how to unclog a bathroom sink with standing water in a way that is safe for your family.

Standing water is the perfect place for mould and mildew to grow. If you’re battling with a blocked sink that has standing water then you can follow the steps in this guide to clear the drain out and remove the dirty water. If the problem persists and you can’t solve your clogged drains yourself then it’s important to call in a drainage company or plumber to help.

Step 1 – Remove the Water

Before you can even start thinking about unclogging the pipes and drain you have to solve the issue with the standing water. This part is managed easily by getting a cup or a bucket and removing as much of the water as you possibly can. Removing the water in this way means you won’t be splashing dirty water around your bathroom and floors while you are unclogging the sink drain.

Step 2 – Clean Around the Drain

One of the reasons why your drain is clogged is because there is debris and a build of materials that need to be removed to allow the water to flow again. Drains are susceptible to being blocked up by things like hair, soap residue, toothpaste and small objects like hair clips. Cleaning around the clogged drain as much as you can first will keep these things from further blocking it and making the problem worse.

Step 3 – Dissolve the Blockage

When you look online or in a store for something that unlocks clogged drains you will see there are a lot of products out there full of blended chemicals. Most of these can actually present serious problems and shouldn’t be used in your home, especially if you have young children. The chemical drain cleaners are incredibly strong so while they can dissolve the blockage, they are harmful for children and pets and even for yourself. We’re going to do this the natural way.

A much safer approach to this problem with chemical cleaners is to use vinegar, hot water and baking soda. They are all-natural compared to a chemical drain cleaner and are products that are normally found around the home. All you need to do is pour a half a cup of baking soda into your drain and then pour a cup of vinegar in after it. Let this mixture sit for 15 minutes before moving on to the following steps.

Step 4 – Loosen the Blockage

After you’ve waited for 15 minutes you can get your hot water using either a pot or a kettle. Once the water has boiled pour it down the sink into your baking soda and vinegar mixture. The hot water works by loosening any materials that are stuck inside the drain and unblocking it for you.

If you have PVC pipes as part of your bathroom plumbing system then you should use hot water and not boiling water with your baking soda. If you use boiling water then it will loosen the pipes which could cause some more damage. Once the water has been poured down the drain leave it for another 15 minutes so that the blockage is completely loosened up.

Step 5 – Prepare the Plunger

Grab your plunger and get ready to put in a little elbow grease for this next part. Apply some petroleum jelly around the lips of the plunger before using it on your clogged sink. The jelly helps the plunger stick to the drain much better than it would without it. In the case of a bathroom sink, you will need to cover up the overflow drain before you start plunging away.

During this step you will start out by slowly pressing the plunger onto the drain. This makes sure you have a tight seal between the plunger and the drain. Next up you have to pull the handle of the plunger very quickly to attack that sink clog.

The sudden tug of this action makes sure that enough pressure is there to loosen the clog and remove it completely. You will usually have to do this a few times over to make sure the vlog has gone otherwise you will notice that water will still drain slowly. If you don’t have access to a plunger then you can get similar results with a drain snake.

Step 6 – Do a Water Test

The proof is in the pudding so once you have cleared out the drain pipe you need to test out if your effort has worked. Run the faucets to make sure the drain has been properly cleared out. If the water runs freely then you’ve unclogged the drain successfully and have done the job of a professional plumber. If the water is still sitting there or draining slowly then you need to keep repeating the steps above until you get the desired result.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Sink Unblocking


  • Flush the sink with hot water to remove any build-up of dirt, especially if you are working on a garbage disposal. Add a little dish soap for those really stubborn clogs.
  • Think twice before using strong chemicals to clean the drain which can soften PVC pipes, damage metal ones and cause harm to children and animals.
  • Use a plunger on smaller clogs that need that extra little push to move on down the drain.
  • Snake the drain until you reach the clog and rotate it to break up any blockages.
  • Try removing the drain trap which sits below the sink to loosen up stubborn blockages.


  • Never add water into a sink that isn’t draining thinking that the water pressure will flush out the blockage. Water needs to be bailed out to make sure the de-clogging process is as effective as possible.
  • Ignore the stoppers and strainers which are where a lot of hair and soap scum can become trapped. Removing these and cleaning them can help you remove the blockage altogether.
  • Plunge with excessive force or use a blow bag. Too much pressure on the drain line of a sink will result in leaks and ruined traps.
  • Shove the drain snake into a blockage with too much force. This will damage the pipes and connectors. Instead, work at it gently.
  • Hesitate to call in expert help. Some clogs are just too stubborn to be removed with DIY methods and a plumber is needed to come in and take over the process instead.


If you are still getting problems with your plumbing system then it’s important to call in the pros. A professional plumber will have all of the right tools and techniques to get rid of even the toughest blockage. As soon as you spot a clog work on it right away to stop the problem from getting any worse. Taking care of your pipes means you will increase their lifespan and save money and time in the future.


Will Drano work in standing water?

It’s not recommended that pour Drano into a standing water blockage. Within your draining system, there are some beneficial bacteria that breaks down any organic matter that sits there. Pouring chemicals down the drain kills all bacteria which will ultimately end up impacting how it functions.

What do I do if my sink is clogged and the water won’t drain?

Take your fresh baking soda and your vinegar and pour them both down the drain. Place a rubber stopper or sink cover over the opening to block it in. Give it 15 minutes so that the mixture can take action and unclog the drain. Then you can remove the stopper and rinse it out with hot or boiling water.

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