Are you wondering why your sink won’t drain after cleaning the P-trap? Well, this is a common problem that homeowners face from time to time. We all know what it’s like to have a kitchen sink that doesn’t drain properly. Water coming up from under the sink, the bubbling noises, the slow-moving water down the drain pipe —you all know the drill! But it sucks!
Usually, you don’t need to hire a plumber because the clog won’t drain out of your kitchen sink. So how do you fix a sink that won’t drain and yet you’ve cleaned the P-trap? In this guide, we share 6 DIY steps to fix the problem. But first, it’s good to know why sinks clog in the first place and why it doesn’t unclog even after cleaning the p-trap.
Reasons Your Sink Won’t Drain After Cleaning P-Trap
Most people think that since kitchen sinks run water through them, they should wash out all the gunk in the pipes. Drain pipes in kitchens usually clog because of grease and oil. These elements are great enemies of the water. You can continue pouring water down in your oily kitchen sink for over 24 hours, and the oil won’t go away.
Grease and oil lack polar molecules, so they will not react with water when you rinse the drain. Even small amounts of grease or oil can accumulate in sinks and eventually cause problems. When the fat starts to melt down the pipes, it keeps getting more sticky as it cools down and sticks to the liners of the pipes.
When more fat gets down the sink, it accumulates, creating a massive clog. Now imagine that combined with food remains and other stuff that you send down the drain… It can cause your sink to become badly clogged.
6 DIY Steps to Fix a Sink that Won’t Drain After Cleaning P-Trap
Now without wasting more time, let’s jump into the solutions to a clogged kitchen sink.
Step 1: Pour Some Baking Soda Into your Drain
Baking soda is a perfect tool to help you clear clogged pipes. Pour about 1/2 cup of the baking soda into the drain. Use a funnel to ensure that all the baking soda you add goes down the sink drain. Allow the baking soda to settle for about three minutes.
Baking soda helps break up the debris stuck in the pipes and make your sink smell fresh. It is safe to use and clean pipes with baking soda, unlike some of the harmful chemical cleaners out there.
Step 2: Add White Vinegar to Your Drain
The acid in vinegar dissolves all kinds of food debris stuck in pipes. Additionally, vinegar’s deodorant properties can help kill any unpleasant smells that may be coming from the pipes. When you mix baking soda and vinegar, it causes the vinegar to foam and bubble. Allow the reaction to continue for a few minutes, and the acid in the vinegar will dissolve into the rusty pipes. When baking soda is mixed with vinegar, the bicarbonate and sodium ions in baking soda react with the hydrogen ions in the vinegar.
What you are getting through this reaction is the formation of sodium acetate and hydroxy acid. The second reaction that occurs is called decomposition. Carbonic (Hydroxy) acid that you produced in the reaction above decomposes into water and carbon dioxide gas. The Carbon dioxide then rises to the top of the solution (like a soda can). This causes the foamy, glistening mixture you see after you’ve mixed baking soda and vinegar.
Alternatively, you can use Liquid-Plumr liquid that applies a triple-action mechanism to cleanse up clogs quickly. It features a unique PipeGuard technology, a barrier that repels grime and prevents it from sticking to pipes. It ensures your pipes are clog-free!
Step 3: Pour Boiling Water into Your sink’s Drain
Boiling water will help you to wash off food residue from your pipes and will keep the pipes clean. If you have a dirty kitchen sink, you can shorten the process by mixing vinegar and baking soda. Pour your vinegar-baking soda mixture down your sink’s drain and flush it with hot water. Repeat these steps until the pipes are clear. Also, you might be able to clear out a kitchen sink that’s clogged and past the P-trap by simply pouring hot water into the drain. However, vinegar and baking soda provide added efficacy and help remove odors.
Step 4: If the Sink Is Still Blocked, Try Unclogging It Using a Plunger
If the drain is still clogged, use a plunger to force out the obstruction. Push your plunger up and down into the hole in the drain to force water down. Do this ten times or more to drain the clog completely. If a drain in your bathroom has an overflow hole, put a rag in the overflow hole to trap the hot water that is escaping.
In the case of a double sink, use a wet rag to cover the drain opening and force some hot water down the drain. Putting a wet rag down the drain will help prevent air from escaping from the overflow hole or other drain and therefore allows water to go more deeply into the drain pipe.
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This plunger has four cups holding four cups of water so that it can work more powerfully than other standard plungers. Not to mention, it can unclog your sink drain even if you have cleared the filter in the sink.
Step 5: Screw-Out and Clean Your Sink’s P-Trap
If the clog is still present, you can try to access the underside of your sink. Unscrew the P-trap using a pipe wrench. Sometimes, you can use your hands to unscrew the P-trap. Before starting this step, place a bucket under the p-trap so that it can catch any objects that will fall from the trap.
Check to see if the clog is in the P trap and remove it, and you’ll have fixed the problem. If your kitchen sink still drains slowly, you’ll need to perform the next procedure.
Here is a video that shows how to easily unscrew and clean a P-trap from your kitchen sink.
Step 6: Use A Plumbing Snake
If there is a clog around the p-trap, you can remove it with some paper towels or your hand. But sometimes the blockage is deeper in the pipe. In such a case, you will need a plumbing snake or a drain auger to eliminate the clog.
These tools are inserted into pipes and undoubtedly perform their job. Rotating the tools inside the pipes can reach farther into the pipe and unclog it. If you have a blocked p-trap or drain, a plumber’s snake will do the magic for you. So, you better try this step.
If you think the snake has caught some debris, you can slowly drag it out of the pipe. Take a bucket to catch any debris that might fall from the pipe. Reinsert your snake into the pipe, and continue pulling out all the debris it can. Your job is done if the snake does not pull out any debris.
Step 7: Wet-Dry Vacuum
It isn’t in a typical job description for a wet vacuum to remove clogs from drain pipes, but who says that we shouldn’t try? If you have a trap in your sink, remove it as you did earlier and extend the dry- vacuum into your kitchen drain pipe. Grab a long flexible hose and put it in the drain and turn it on.
Here are 3 reasons why it works well:
- The powerful air suction is greater than a simple garden hose.
- The vacuum hose can penetrate far inside the sink.
- The blockage is likely just before the drain vent, so the air suction will clear it quickly.
How to Avoid Frequent Kitchen Sink Clogs
It’s possible to prevent kitchen sink clogs from happening frequently. However, it requires you to be very careful about the things you send down the sink drain. Please avoid putting the following items in your kitchen sink; they will cause a blockage in the drain.
- Margarine, cooking oil, butter, or grease
- Coffee grounds
- Fatty meats
It is good to pour vinegar and/or baking soda down your kitchen sink drain every month to help remove any odors and food residues.
Will Drano get past the P-trap?
Using Drano can damage the plumbing system, so it’s not recommended for unclogging a kitchen sink. Unless a lot of water flows down the drain, nothing will be able to go past the P-trap.
Can a blocked sink unclog itself?
Some homeowners assume that if their drains are clogged, they will eventually clear by themselves. That doesn’t always happen. Blockages in drains can get worse over time, and eventually, you will have a drain that is totally blocked, and the water will start to flow back into your home.
When should you replace your P-trap?
Replacing a p-trap is part of installing new pipes, and it is vital to ensure that the trap fits the new sink. If some parts of a P-trap start to rust or if there are leaks that you’re unable to fix by tightening the nuts, it may be necessary to replace the P-trap assembly completely.
Sometimes, a kitchen sink can clog up and cause difficulty when water reaches the P-trap. Grease can accumulate in your p-trap over time, and you need to clear it out to unclog your sink. Baking soda and vinegar should do the job, but getting a plumber’s snake is incredible if the blockage is tough. It takes a little time and patience to get the problem fixed.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in that area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.