How to fix slow draining sinks

Kitchen Sink drain
Clogged drain
 
Clogged or Slow Drain
A clogged sink or a slow draining sink is quite a nuisance.  Most are simple to fix, while others can be more involved.  
 
Once water goes down the drain, it finds its way into a “P trap”.  This is the little U shaped pipe under the sink.  The purpose of the trap is to hold some water so that sewer gases from down stream do not come back up.  
 
Kitchen Sink P Trap
 
 
Over time, dirt, debris and soap gunk up together and cause an obstruction.  The diameter of the pipe slowly closes over time creating a slow or clogged drain.
 
Sometimes, you can simply run hot water down the drain and it may help the flow a little bit, but normally you will need to open up the trap to find out what is going on.
 

Chemical Cleaners

If it is not too bad, you can try chemical cleaners.  I am not a big fan of Drano.  I have tried it before with limited success and also heard that it is not good for your pipes. 

 
I have used Zep Drain Care (Buildup Remover) and Pequa.  If I use anything down a sink, tub or toilet drain, it would only be the Zep.  The Pequa I’ve only used in the main out to the sewage line. 
 
 
 
P-Traps
Most traps are made from PVC these days, but on older applications, you will find metal pipes.  Both will have a slip nut around the pipe and if you are lucky, it will come loose fairly easy.  
 
First you need to clean out anything under your sink (or at least the most of it).  This will give you an area to work with and will 
 
Bathroom sink P Trap
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Traps are not under pressure, so some water will come out, but it will not come out gushing.  Be prepared and put something underneath to catch or soak up the water.  
 
Once you loosen the slip nuts, you can wiggle and pull the trap out.  If it has not been touched in a long time, it may be stubborn.  Just take your time and it will eventually come loose.
 
Depending on the tools you have on hand and the size of the slip nut, you can get loosen it with a plumber’s wrench or channel locks.
 
Plumber’s Wrench to loosen slip nut

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After you pull the trap, take a look inside.  Usually there is some gunk in there than needs to be cleaned out.  I push through rags with some old wire hangers to clean out the pipes.  
 
 
Gunk in P Trap
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I also clean out the drain from the top by pushing through some rags or paper towels with a stick or wire hanger.  
 
Paper Towel through drain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Once you clean it out, you will see the muck that was inside the drains.  It is always good to have a roll of paper towels around in case it drips all over.  
 
 
Gunk from Drain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Push paper towel through until it is clean
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Simply put the trap back in place and hand tighten the slip nuts.  I give them a little turn with the wrench or Channel locks to ensure there are no drips.
 
Turn the water back on and check for leaks.  Your sink should be draining again.
 
Thanks for Reading,
Scottie
 
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