If your sink is slow to drain, you may have the beginnings of a clog. Rather than waiting until you really have a problem, take the time to clean out the sink trap and tailpiece. It should take less then an hour and can be completed by even a novice with the correct tools. Knowing how to remove your kitchen sink trap is also a helpful skill if you ever accidentally drop something down the drain; just turn off any running water as quickly as possible and follow these steps.
Begin by cleaning out anything underneath your kitchen sink. Then get a pan to place underneath the drain to catch any drips or debris that might be in the drain or trap. Locate the U shaped bend in the pipe underneath the sink, that is the kitchen sink trap. Once you’ve located the correct pipe loosen the slip nuts with a pair of channel joint pliers on either end of the U shaped trap.
Now you should be able to remove the trap. Pour any water that is left in the pipe into the pan underneath the sink. Using a flexible bristled brush scrub the inside of the trap as well as the visible threads at each end of the pipe. Rinse the pipe thoroughly after you have removed any possible obstructions that could cause a possible clog.
If you are pressed for time, you could stop there. However, it may be a good idea to remove the tailpiece as well and check for clogs or anything else that might be preventing your sink from draining. The tailpiece is the piece of pipe that connects from the drain of the sink and into the kitchen sink trap. The tailpiece is connected with a slip nut, so you should be able to loosen the slip nut attaching the pipe to the drain using your pair of channel joint pliers.
After cleaning the tailpiece, check for any signs of corrosion or other damage around the drain. If any are present, you should plan on replacing that piece. If not, you can reinstall the tailpiece and the kitchen sink trap. Be sure to use new washers during the reinstallation, especially around the drain. For this project you can pick up a pack of multiple sized washers or take the old washers to the hardware store to be sure of an exact match.
Cleaning out the kitchen sink trap is a skill every homeowner should know. While more involved jobs may require a plumber, this is one bit of plumbing work that can easily be completed by the novice. Keep in mind if you actually do get a clog you should check the kitchen sink trap before trying any chemical drain cleaners or calling a plumber. A little bit of know how and some new washers could save you a hefty bill.