Learn how to clean soap scum from sink drains. Find out how to use vinegar and baking soda to unclog a drain.
LESLIE: Harold in Washington, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with at your house?
HAROLD: My problem is I have soap scum  buildup in sink traps and so on.
HAROLD: Particularly the bathroom sink . And I’m wondering if there is anything I can do without taking the plumbing apart.
TOM: Is it slowing down the drains ?
HAROLD: It slows it down.
HAROLD: It is still flowing.
TOM: Does the stopper in the bottom of the sink still work? Does it still go up and down?
TOM: What you might want to do is – a lot of times you’ll get hair and soap scum trapped around that linkage. So what you might want to do is clear the stuff out from under the sink and unscrew the lever that operates the stopper. It comes in from the side of the pipe. When you do …
HAROLD: I’ve done that.
TOM: You’ve done that? Well, when you do that and you pull the stopper out do you see any type of debris in there; hair or anything clogging it up?
HAROLD: There was soap scum buildup on the stopper itself.
TOM: Right. Yep.
HAROLD: Not hair. And I don’t see anything because I’m totally blind.
TOM: Oh, OK. I would say that it’s very unusual for you to get enough soap scum buildup for that trap to not pass a lot of water. Generally it gets sort of tied up at the stopper level where you get the soap scum and the hair in there. But if you take that stopper out and then you put it back together and run super hot water through it – another thing that you could is run – is put some baking soda and vinegar in there. That tends to clean out the drains . That’s a natural way to do it. Or if you really have an obstruction, take that stopper out and run a plastic drain snake down them. They sell them at the home centers. They’re about two feet long and they’re specifically designed to clear obstructions out of traps and sinks so you don’t have to go a long distance.
HAROLD: Very good. And I thank you. I’ll give it a try.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.