At least once a year, clean the drain trap. That’s often the source of the clog. Annual maintenance could save you from relying on harsh chemicals, which can damage older pipes and irritate your skin and eyes.
It’s an easy, do-it-yourself job. All you’ll need is a bucket, a pair of slip-joint pliers and a small wire brush.
- Look under the sink for a pipe that’s shaped like a “P” or an “S.” The curved part of the pipe is called the “trap” because it traps water to prevent sewer gases from wafting up through the drain and into your sink. But it can also trap hair and dirt, which can clog your drain.
- Turn off the water and place a bucket under the trap. Using your pliers, remove the slip nuts on either side of the trap. Let the water empty into the bucket before removing the trap.
- When the trap is empty, remove it and scrub out the grease and gunk. Rinse it clean (you’ll have to get water from somewhere else, of course).
- Apply pipe joint compound to the surface of each slip nut washer and secure the trap back in place. Use your pliers to tighten the slip nuts.
- Run the water and check the pipe for leaks. A leak could signal that a slip nut isn’t properly aligned.
- Run the water again to see if the drain seems clear.
- Repeat the process at least once a year or if your drain gets clogged.