Sink drains can become clogged with food or other debris, depending on their location. Luckily, most sink drains are equipped with a trap. This is a curved pipe located under the sink drain which is designed to trap possible clogging agents, and can be removed and cleaned should a blocked or slowed drain occur.
Things to check before you remove your sink trap
You may have an obstruction at your sink drain, especially if it is in a bathroom sink. Hair can twine itself around the spokes of the drain and form a ball of hair, soap, and toothpaste that hangs just below the drain.
After removing and cleaning any additional insert that you may have placed in the drain to help prevent clogs, use a flashlight to peer into the drain. You may see only a few hairs twined around the spokes of the drain, but they may be supporting a large mass inside the drain pipe.
Cut the hairs using a small pair of scissors, then attempt to pull them through the openings in the drain. If you meet resistance, wrap the hairs around a screwdriver or similar object for leverage.
If there is a mass present, you may need to cut it into smaller pieces with scissors as you attempt to pull it through the drain. Be forewarned: it will be a disgusting sight.
If you cannot pull it through, let it drop and you can remove and clean the trap.
Cleaning a sink trap
Although it is not pleasant, it is relatively simple to remove and clean a sink trap. All you need is an adjustable wrench, a roll of pipe tape (thin plastic ribbon used to seal pipe threads), a bucket, and a few rags or paper towels.
Look under your sink and you will see a "J" shaped pipe. That is your drain trap. It is connected at the small end of the "J" by a large nut.
Before loosening the nut, place some rags or paper towels beneath the trap. Using an adjustable wrench, loosen the nut in a counter-clockwise direction. After it is completely loose, the trap will simply slide off the top drain pipe.
Keep the trap completely upright when removing it, because it will be filled with dirty water and other debris. You may choose to place it in a bucket in order to avoid spilling the contents under the sink.
If it is filled with loose sludge, empty it into the toilet and rinse it with either a garden hose or at another sink. If completely blocked, you may use a piece of tie wire or a bent piece of wire clothes hanger to dislodge the blockage, then rinse it clean.
To reinstall the trap, cover the threads on the lower drain pipe with pipe tape by wrapping it clockwise around the threads, pulling it tightly until all threads are covered.
Slip the top part of the trap over the upper drain pipe, then tighten the nut to the threads of the lower deain pipe in a clockwise direction, and you're finished.
If you are easily affected by offensive sights and smells, you might consider hiring a plumber, who can do the job quickly and deal with the mess easily.
To learn more, contact a plumbing company like Stephens Plumbing And Heating Inc.