P-Trap Removal

P-Trap Removal

Is the sink full of water?  If so, you need to remove the water from the sink before proceeding.  Otherwise, you are going to get a bath when you remove the trap!p-trap-under-sink

Tools needed:

  • Bucket to fit under the trap
  • Rags to soak up any excess water
  • Gloves to protect your hands.  I suggest Nitrile gloves as they are thin so you can feel but waterproof
  • Pliers or pipe wrench to loosen the nuts on the trap
  • Flashlight or headlamp

If you have a garbage disposal, see that section for checking and clearing clogs in the garbage disposal.

Start with the upstream trap.  This may be connected to your garbage disposal if you have one.  Place some rags on the bottom of the cabinet and set the bucket under the trap.  Use the pliers or pipe wrench to loosen one of the nuts on the trap.  Be sure to move slowly and hold on to the pipe where you are working.  You only want to loosen the one and not the pipe and area above or down the line.

Don’t be concerned when water starts leaking, that is normal.  Loosen the nut completely and then move to the other nut on the trap.  When this nut comes loose the trap will be free so hang on to it.  Once the trap is off, dump the water in the bucket.  There should be plastic or rubber washers at these connections.  Save them for now.  Look in the trap you just removed.  Most likely you will see black, ugly looking goo.  If this is mostly or completely plugged, this was your problem.  If not, your problem may be further down the line or between the area you are working and the sink.  Shine a light down the sink drain from above and see if there is anything visible.

If you have another P-trap below the other sink bowl, follow the above procedure to remove that trap and check it.


Before you reconnect the trap pipe, I recommend you replace the plastic or rubber seals at the nuts.  This can save time troubleshooting leaks.  Fit the trap back on the pipes and turn the nuts hand tight.  Realign everything and use the pliers or wrench to snug up the nuts.  Do not over tighten!  Turn the water on and check for leaks.  If you have a small drip at one of the nuts you just removed, tighten is a bit more.  Check again.  Be sure to check other connections that you did not work on as you may have disturbed the connections.