Hot Topics: First-Timer Tackles P-Trap

Removing the P-trap from a kitchen sink.

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When your roommate dumps a whole thing of leftover chili down the sink (which may not be what happened here, but did happen – you know who you are), you may want to unclog it yourself rather than involve your landlord. But if you’ve never done it before, all those curvy pipes can be a mystery. The Forum can straighten them out. (And stop calling yourself dumb.)

Original Post: Unclogging sink, can't figure out the P-trap?

Faelice Member

Okay, so I'm not an expert, just a frustrated roommate whose other roommate clogged the sink because other roommate didn't listen to my warnings about sinks without disposals.

I am trying to unclog the sink now, because I don't want to call the landlord because that would just be embarrassing.

I have a snake but it wouldn't go around the curves, and I read scary stuff about snakes so I don't want to force that. I tried the baking soda and vinegar thing, my roommate tried Drano (I don't like the stuff). So now I tried to get my hands dirty and take off the P-trap only to find that my sink hates me.

Like I said, I am no expert, I have no idea what I am looking at, and I can't figure out how I am supposed to take the P-trap off. (That's the right word right?) It looks like someone painted over the... washer? (I told you, I'm dumb, I don't know this stuff... the thing you turn to loosen the pipe.)

Is it possible to take this off? It seems like the pipe that directly connects to the sink is plastic, but the P-trap is metal which has been painted white. Please help. What do I do?

I attached a photo because I'm sure I'm doing a terrible job explaining. Can post more if needed.
You can see here where I unscrewed the first piece, which was plastic. But the next one, which I'm pointing at, is not... and doesn't seem to budge.

Highlights from the Thread

Norm201 Member

Loosen the top slip nut (as you're doing in the photo) and then loosen the other slip nut at the other end of trap. It should then just drop down into your bucket.

PS... Use gloves. That Drano can be very nasty. Keep your face and eyes away. It most probably is concentrated in the trap.

PPS... You might need a wrench to loosen the second one. If that won't come off go to the elbow that goes into the wall. Loosen that one instead.

Faelice Member

Thanks - I have been using gloves, just not in that picture, but always nice to have the reminder.

As you can see, it seems like the whole thing has been painted over in white. I've scraped off the paint, so that I don't have to fight it when I try to unscrew the slip nut (thanks for the terminology lesson). So far no luck unscrewing, but I'm not exactly hefty.

This is what the drain looks like where it connects to the wall... doesn't look like something I want to mess with, I don't think.

Hot Topics, First-Timer Tackles P-Trap, fernco

Also, there's a clear rubber looking thing sticking out from where the metal pipe meets the plastic, looks like it might be there to seal it off... Do I risk anything terrible when that comes off if/when I remove the pipe?

Norm201 Member

That black rubber connector is called Fernco. You can safely remove that. Then you can replace all the painted trap parts with new plastic that will only require hand tightness if properly aligned.

Also if by chance the clog is not in the trap, you'll have a straight shot to snake out the drain pipe.

Faelice Member

Thank you so much! Really helpful.

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