Did you know that “how to use drain snake” (or a plastic hair snake) is searched nearly 4,000 times a month on Google? It’s even more than that for “unclog a bathroom sink.” The drain/hair snake seems to be in high demand these days by America’s bathrooms.
And no wonder. A snake can be one of the most useful and money-saving plumbing maintenance tools in your home.
What is a Drain Snake?
Pretty simple, really. It’s a tool used by plumbers to remove whatever is clogging your sink. Its sole purpose is to get your water flowing smoothly again. And it works especially well to unclog a bathroom sink.
It also goes by other names. It’s often called a plumber’s snake, an auger, and even a hair snake (because it’s so often used to remove hair). It comes in different materials (plastic or metal) as well as types (manual or motorized).
For this article, we’ll focus on a cheap plastic drain snake. This most basic version is for DIYers (do-it-yourselfers) who want a simple, cheap tool for handling most minor clogged sinks in your home. As shown below in this photo, it looks like a flexible zip-tie — with jagged points or “thorns” up and down each side of it.
As a matter of fact, one of the most common requests we get is to unclog a bathroom sink. To emphasize, what we find usually is that loose hair has caught on the inside walls of the drain or wrapped around their sink’s pop-up drain stopper. Eventually, too much hair will back up your drain. When this happens, your water flow will slow way down or even come to a halt.
Time to pull out your handy dandy plastic drain snake (to purchase one, see our recommendation further below).
How to Use Drain Snake
Fortunately, using a drain snake is the easy part. Here are 5 easy steps:
- Open the sink drain’s stopper.
Chances are, you won’t even have to remove the stopper. Just lift it up with your hands or open it using the stopper lever located just above or below your bathroom faucet.
- Place hair snake into bathroom sink drain.
Place the sharp end of the hair snake into the drain. The pointy thorns should be facing up.
- Vigorously move around hair snake.
We suggest you put on some rubber gloves for this step. After the snake is well into the drain, begin pull it back up, then down, and side to side. You can rotate it, spin it, whatever. The idea here is to get the thorns (the pointy sides) of the snake to snag any hair (or other clingy debris) in the drain.
- Pull out hair snake and clean.
Make sure you have a trash bag nearby. You’ll want to clean hair and debris from the drain snake and place into a trash bag.
- Run water and test drain flow.
In conclusion, run your water for a while. Does it drain quickly now? If so, you’re done. If not, repeat step 3 and try again.
How to Quickly Get Hair Out of a Bathroom Sink
If you prefer video instructions, watch and learn as our very own Kameron shows us 2 different techniques.
If these instructions still don’t work after repeated tries, it’s likely that the cause of your bathroom sink clog is much further down the drain, beyond reach. That’s when you need a more serious tool, like a professional plumber’s motor-driven auger. These can reach much further into your drain system and clean out the worst clogs.
Can I Unclog a Bathroom Sink with a Plunger?
To clarify, you can try. A standard plunger could loosen whatever is causing the clog. Just make sure you fill the sink with 3-4 inches of water. Now remove the drain stopper (the pop-up). Place the center of plunger over the drain and go for it. Don’t overdo it. If you’re still having a problem after a few attempts, then your issue is either bigger or the hair is not loosening. More so, you should trying using a drain snake.