plumbing under sink

How to Clean Out Your Sink’s P-Trap

A common question we regularly hear is “what is the deal with my kitchen sink?!” Your kitchen sink is most likely the drain you are going to have the most trouble keeping clear. This makes sense when you consider how easy it is for rogue food particles to find their way down the drain. What a lot of people don’t know is that there is a trap (specifically, a P-trap) that is probably collecting unwanted debris.


Can’t I just pour drain cleaner and be done with it?

Most homeowners’ first reaction is to add a drain cleaner to try and clear whatever is making the sink drain slowly. While this may be effective, it should be considered as a last resort, not the first.

Drain cleaners can contain corrosive material, which might clear the clog, but it also can damage your plumbing in the process.


Ok, what should I do then?

Your kitchen sink’s plumbing is designed, very literally, with a trap (called a “P-trap”) to hold water so that sewer gas doesn’t come out of the drain. The P-trap gets its name from its shape, where it connects the sink drain pipe to with a horizontal overflow pipe forming the shape of the letter “P”. Over time, this trap can collect debris, so it’s not a bad idea to clean it out every so often.


So, how do I clean out my P-trap?

Cleaning out your sink’s P-trap is a relatively simple process. Here’s a step by step process:

  1. Clear out the cabinet beneath your sink to make room.
  2. Place a bucket or large bowl underneath the plumbing to catch any runoff.
  3. Loosen the two coupling nuts connecting the trap to the drain pipe and overflow pipe and remove.
  4. Clear out the interior of the trap using a bottle brush or wire.
  5. Reassemble the trap. Make sure the washers are set properly and tighten the coupling nuts.
  6. Run the faucet for about 30 seconds and watch the trap to make sure it’s not leaking.
  7. You’re done!


Now that your sink is draining smoothly again, you can move on to your next project. If you continue to have problems with your slow drain, give us a call. We are always happy to help you out! (270) 443-1067