Skip to main content

Why is my bathroom basin drain gurgling?

water going down the bathroom drain

A gurgling drain may not seem like a big deal, especially if your drains are still clearing quickly and properly. However, a gurgling drain can indicate bigger problems are in the pipeline. Continue reading to find out what a gurgling drain means, and how to fix your gurgling bathroom basin drains.

Table of contents

  1. Gurgling drain
  2. Gurgling basin
  3. Why does my basin gurgle?
  4. How to stop basin gurgling
  5. How to clear a partial blockage
  6. How to prevent a gurgling drain
  7. How often should drains be cleaned?
  8. We’re on our way
  9. FAQS

Gurgling drain

A gurgling basin drain could mean that there’s a partial blockage or clog somewhere in the system. When trapped air forces its way around the blockage it creates bubbles in the pipes and results in the gurgling noises you hear in the pipes and drains. These noises echo through the drains and up through the basins. You should be able to tell which basin or drain the clog or blockage is coming from by listening closely to where the gurgling in the pipe is located.

Gurgling basin

If the gurgling is coming from the basin instead of further down the drain, the problem will be much easier to fix because the clog or blockage will be easier to home in on.

Why does my basin gurgle?

Your basin may gurgle when you have a partial blockage or clog in a pipe. When trapped air forces its way around the clog, you end up hearing gurgling noises from your basin.

It’s important to resolve these partial clogs as soon as you start to hear these gurgling noises because it’s much easier to resolve a partial blockage or clog than it is to fix a complete blockage.

How to stop basin gurgling

Since a gurgling basin is caused by a partial clog or blockage in the drain, the best way to stop the gurgling is to remove the blockage.

So let’s clear this up!

How to clear a partial blockage

If you’ve got a partial obstruction somewhere in the waste pipe, it’s in your best interests to clear it before it graduates to a full blockage. Thankfully, there’s a couple of fairly easy methods you can use to solve this problem.

Method 1: Natural solution

You will need:

  • ½ a cup of baking soda
  • 1 a cup of vinegar
  • A pair of gloves
  • A pair of goggles

Step 1
Pour a cup of baking soda down your drain

Step 2
Now pour your half a cup of vinegar down.

Step 3
Place a cover over the drain for 30 minutes – a plate does the trick.

Step 4
After half an hour, take the cover off your blocked basin drain and pour hot water down it for 2-3 minutes. You may need to repeat this process if the block doesn’t clear the first time around.

Method 2: Open up the trap

If Method 1 doesn’t work, now’s the time to go underneath the basin and open the trap underneath. Hopefully whatever’s blocked will be released here.

You will need:

  • A bucket or tray to collect any water or scum from underneath
  • A pair of gloves
  • A pack of washers or O-rings
  • A drain auger (with an extreme blockage)

Step 1
Place your bucket or tray under the waste trap to catch any spillage. It’s usually a bit scummy so you certainly don’t want it all to fly out onto your cupboard floor or your clothes.

Step 2
Once your bucket is in place, unscrew the trap and empty the contents into the bucket.

Step 3
Now put the trap back together, making sure to replace any washers or o-rings you may have removed.

Top tip: Don’t over-tighten the waste trap, as it’ll make it harder to undo in the future. If there wasn’t anything blocking the waste trap, use a drain auger to probe into the waste pipe further.

Get more info on how to fix a blockage in your drains.

How to prevent a gurgling drain

Never has the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ been more true than in home maintenance. This goes for keeping your drains clean and clear – which is super-easy to do and doesn’t require much effort at all:

How often should drains be cleaned?

A great habit to get into is to clean your drains with a vinegar and baking soda solution once a month. This will help dissolve any blockages and keep it smelling clean.

  • Pour 1/2 a cup of baking soda down the drain
  • Follow that with 1 of cup of vinegar
  • Block the drain off with a dishcloth, and wait 15 minutes
  • Run hot or boiling water down the drain

You should do a more thorough job of cleaning your drains every year by removing the basin stoppers and cleaning out hair and soap scum build-up. If you’re an avid home DIYer you can also use a plumber’s snake to give your kitchen, shower, and toilet drains a once-over to ensure that no partial blockages are forming.

Find out how to unblock your kitchen Sink.

We’re on our way

If the gurgling noise is coming from multiple drains in the house, you may need to investigate the whole system or call a Home Expert.

Check out our plumbing and drainage cover and find out about one-off repairs. At HomeServe, we’re always ready to offer advice and help 365 days a year because, let’s face it – plumbing emergencies never take a day off.


What does a gurgling basin mean?

A gurgling basin usually means that there is a partial blockage forming. However, it could also mean that there is a problem with the vent system. This article tells you what to look for, and how to fix each problem.

Can a clogged drain cause gurgling?

A partially clogged drain can cause gurgling because excess air in the pipe will force it’s way around the blockage creating bubbles, and gurgling noises. A completely clogged drain will generally just cause stagnant water in your basin.

How do I unclog my bathroom basin drain?

To unclog your bathroom basin drain, remove the basin stopper and pivot rod. Then insert a long object into the drain to remove any hair or soap scum build-up. Follow with a baking soda and vinegar solution to remove any excess debris.

Share this post

Share this post

Still looking for more help & advice?

Our help & advice articles cover Plumbing, Home heating, Electrical, Energy-saving and Home maintenance.

View all articles