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Loosening your tight P-trap with a wrench.

Being a homeowner can have its adventures. Not many homeowners enjoy the idea of messing with their plumbing. In some cases, you develop a clog, drop some jewelry down the drain, or just need a good cleaning. This requires you to get down and dirty. How to loosen tight P-trap? Using a plumbers wrench or something with a strong grip and ability to twist should do the trick.

Let’s take a look below at what we might need and how to successfully loosen a tight P-trap.

Do I Need Tools

Having the right tools will make your job so much easier. This project is not a difficult one to tackle. However, if you do not have the tools or the strength and time, you might need to call on a master plumber. Let’s review the recommended items for a successful project.

  • Wrench – used to loosen the P-trap
  • Bucket – placed under the P-trap so it can catch the excess water and grime sitting in the P-trap.
  • Rubber gloves – needed to protect your skin as you get into the dirty grime of the P-trap.
  • Mask – to protect you from breathing in any sewer gases trapped in the line.
A metal sink P-trap might be tighter than a PVC P-trap.
A metal sink P-trap might be tighter than a PVC P-trap.

What Are My Steps

Every project in the home requires necessary steps to be taken, for it to be a success. Let’s take a look below at how you can loosen a tight P-trap and remove the trap.

  1. Find the compression nuts on either end of the P-trap assembly. One nut connects the P-trap to the tailpiece of the sink, while the other nut connects the P-trap to the drain. Check for a possible adjustable swivel connection where the P-trap elevates and becomes horizontal.
  2. If you are working on a PVC pipe P-trap, you should be able to loosen the nuts on either end with a little bit of strength. Then, turn them counterclockwise to loosen and unscrew.
  3. Make sure that the nuts and your rubber gloves are dry. The rubber gloves allow you to get a tighter grip when attempting to loosen the P-trap nuts by hand.
  4. If the rubber gloves don’t work, go ahead and use the plumbers wrench. Hold the P-trap with one hand while you twist the P-trap nut with the wrench. Once you have loosened it, finish unscrewing by hand. Do this for both nuts on each end of the P-trap.

How Do I Loosen A Metal P-trap

Removing a plastic P-trap is a lot easier than removing a metal P-trap. Fortunately, they are both projects that can be accomplished by the homeowner. Let’s take a look at what we need to loosen a tight metal P-trap.

  1. Lubricating the P-trap joints between the tailpiece and the wall drain is your first step. Use a penetrating oil spray that can be purchased from a local hardware store.
  2. Now that the penetrating oil has had time to get into the joints, grip the P-trip with one had and take your wrench or pliers and wrap a rag around the coupling and twist it in a counterclockwise motion.
  3. While holding the trap, continue to twist the metal coupling nuts counterclockwise until the nut is loosened. Apply added torque as needed.

Why Should I Remove The P-Trap

Removing the P-trap should be done as part of your monthly maintenance. This is recommended in order to keep your sinks from clogging up and releasing a foul odor. Below is a list of the few reasons why you should remove a P-trap.

  • Replace: in many cases, a P-trap could end up needing replacing. Overtime a metal P-trap could get corroded and rusty. You wouldn’t want those minerals in your water. Also, a PVC P-trap could become brittle as the plastic dries out and has a higher propensity of snapping or cracking into pieces.
  • Clean: taking apart your P-trap is recommended maintenance. You will want to clean the inside of the pipes and remove any hair or debris that has built up a clog. This is also a great time to check the seals and make sure they are in good working condition.
  • Retrieve Lost Items: in some cases, the middle stop plug in your sink is elevated and jewelry or small toys could potentially fall into the drain pipe. Luckily, a P-trap is there to be removed, which gives you access to the lost item.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you have an understanding of how to loosen a tight P-trap. Also, consider learning about how to fix the water pressure in your sink. Keep in mind that while you are done cleaning out and or repairing your P-trap, it might be a great time to work on fixing your water pressure.

Next, after cleaning your P-trap and making sure the pipes are clear of debris, go ahead and flush out the sediment in your water lines. As your water heater works, sediment can begin to build up in your pipes over time. Knowing the most economical way to get rid of the sediment from your lines will save you money on repairs later on.

Lastly, as you are currently in the mode of cleaning and clearing your sink P-traps and water pipes, focus on maintaining the rest of your sink. This includes the faucets. The type of water you have in your home can determine how quickly minerals can build up in and on your faucets. Always remember to clean and soak your faucet aerators to keep the calcium from building up.

A plumber fixing the p-trap under your kitchen sink.
A plumber fixing the P-trap under your kitchen sink.

When Do I Call A Professional

Calling on a master plumber is a great idea in this situation. Keep in mind that many homeowners are afraid of breaking the plumbing. Also in some cases, the PVC plastic pipes could be older and dried out. This makes them brittle and easier to snap. You wouldn’t want this issue under your sink.

Hiring a master plumber allows the job to be done quickly. Additionally, if you aren’t sure which master plumber to trust, call on your local home inspection team. They can inspect all of your plumbing and recommend the most reliable master plumber for all of your plumbing needs.


Having to deal with the maintenance or clogging issues regarding your sink P-trap could be rather frustrating. Also, if you don’t have the tools, time, or strength to loosen a tight P-trap, then calling on a master plumber is important. Save your stresses and call on your master plumber.

This is also a great time to have your plumbing inspected. Prior to having a master plumber come out to assist with your tight P-trap, you can contact your local home inspection team. Getting a full assessment of where your plumbing stands, is a great way to save money.

Call Waypoint Property Inspection to inspect your home in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Orlando, Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and surrounding areas.