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With our basins used daily, you'll often find the basin plug hole becomes blocked. There are several common reasons for this happening. Fortunately, they can usually be unclogged and cleared quickly.
The Bathroom Showroom considers the most common causes of blocked plug holes. Here we provide you with helpful handy tips to clear them. We also offer advice on how to prevent blockages from reoccurring to keep your bathroom basin working as good as new long-term.
What Happens When Your Basin Plug Hole Becomes Blocked?
Usually, two actions alert you to a blocked plug hole in the basin. The first is that the plug hole begins to make a gurgling sound. Then, you’ll notice that the water drains slowly out of the basin.
Plug holes gurgle when the water from your basin is not draining correctly. When build-up begins, trapped air is released each time you empty the basin. It’s this air that creates a drain-gurgling noise effect. 
What usually follows the gurgling sound is slow drainage action. So, each time you empty the basin, it takes longer. 
Gurgling is a warning sign that there's a clog in your pipes. This further restricts your water flow each time you use the bathroom basin.
The Most Common Causes of Blocked Plug Holes in the Basin
The three main causes of basin blocked plug holes include hair, toothpaste and soap scum.  
  • Hair 
Perhaps the most common culprit in blocked plug holes is hair. This is problematic when you have a vanity area featuring a mirror over your basin. It may seem strange that hair can do so much damage here. Yet, when you factor in soap scum and toothpaste, hair begins to bind to this stuff and quickly starts to clog the plug hole.
  • Toothpaste 
It may surprise many that toothpaste is a common occurrence of blocked plug holes. Consider how many times a day we brush our teeth and then add several members using the one basin! So, the build-up here can quickly become problematic. 
Toothpaste build-up occurs when it dries inside the pipes. As most of us know it's difficult to clean this off your basin. So, it only becomes much harder to do when it's inside the pipes.
  • Soap Scum 
The soap we use daily often plays a large part in blocking the plug holes of our basins. Though interestingly enough, it's not always bar soap that’s the problem here. The bigger issue tends to be liquid soap. 
As we often use more liquid soap than we need, all this works as glue in the pipes. So, when you add hair and toothpaste to the mix, soap scum, unfortunately, works to hold them all together!
How Do You Clear a Blocked Plug Hole?
Fortunately, if you spot the blockage early on, you can apply several quick and effective treatments yourself. This will help get the pipes from the basin clear again and encourage the water to start running freely once more. 
Three easy steps to clearing your basin blocked plug hole naturally:
1. Unclog the Plug Hole by Using a Plunger
The plunger is a trusty household item everyone should have in their cupboards! When you notice your basin plug holes are starting to block, use a plunger first. 
Place the plunger over your basin plug hole to create a seal action. Then push sharply on the plunger with up and down movements. This method works to dissolve any of those more stubborn blockages and breaks the clogs up. 
You may find you have to plunge the area several times for effect. This will depend on the severity of the blockage. But, once you’ve done this you can dispose of the waste by placing it into the bathroom bin. 
Then, you can clean and dry the plunger off with a rag before moving on to the next step.
2. Rinse the Area With a Home-Made Cleaning Solution
To ensure that you’ve removed all the blockages and cleared the area entirely, it's worth using a plug hole cleaner. A simple combination of kitchen ingredients is powerful enough to clear the area effectively. 
  • Half a cup of bicarbonate soda
  • Half a cup of white vinegar 
Pour the bicarbonate soda into the plug hole first followed by the cup of white vinegar. As these two ingredients combine, they’ll form a chemical reaction, So, you’ll hear them bubbling as they mix and get to work. 
Some people like to leave this mixture on overnight for the best effect. Yet, if you’re short on time, it will work if left for at least 30 minutes before you flush it out with boiling water. 
3. Use Boiling Water to Clear and Finish
After you’ve used your cleaning solution, it's crucial to wash away anything that’s left over in the plug and drain area. Boiling water works well to clear here and give the plug area a new lease of life! 
To do this, simply boil a kettle and pour the water carefully down the plug hole. You may want to do this a few times just to be completely sure the area's completely clear. 
How to Prevent Blocked Plug Holes in the Basin
Finally, it's good to do what you can to prevent the basin plug hole from blocking. Some fantastic tips here that you can easily try, include:
  • Covering the plug hole with a protective drain screen. These are small but powerful devices that can hold hair and chunks of toothpaste. All you need to do is clean these regularly but ultimately they stop such things from making their way past the surface.
  • Brushing your hair away from the basin. Though this isn't always practical, being mindful of how often you brush your hair over the basin can help reduce the amount of hair that enters the plug hole. 
  • Wiping away any toothpaste left in the basin rather than washing it down the plug hole.
  • Flushing out your basin plug hole regularly. Try cleaning the plug hole area out with the soda and vinegar solution every month. This, alongside boiling water, can help prevent this area from becoming blocked.
If you're looking for help creating the perfect bathroom, book an appointment with The Bathroom Showroom. Experts in all things bathrooms, we can help turn your dream bathroom into a reality.