Interior Maintenance/ Plumbing/ Surfaces & Systems/ Plumbing Techniques/

Clearing a Clogged Sink Drain by Cleaning the P-Trap

From time to time, you may notice that a drain in your home is emptying more and more slowly. Eventually, it may stop draining altogether! When that happens, it's time to do something about it.

Before you reach for the plunger, the snake, or some harsh chemicals -- or if you already have, to no avail -- there's another method you could try, which doesn't even require special tools.

Beneath the sink, you'll find something called a "P" trap. This curvacious piece of pipe always has water in it, which keeps sewer gases from backing up into your sink. It also catches objects that are too large or heavy to pass through the curve.  Simply place a tub or bucket beneath the P trap. Then unscrew both ends of the short piece of pipe and unhook it. Take a deep breath, reach in, and see what is causing the blockage. When the P-trap is cleared of debris, simply reattach the pipe. Once it is reconnected, be sure to run the water down the drain to check for leaks.

Thanks to this two-minute fix, the drain should now flow freely. This can also be a good method to keep in mind when you not only want the drain cleared, but you also want back whatever fell in there, like a piece of jewelry or a child's toy.

Just be sure to sanitize whatever you retrieve before putting it back into service!

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