New clay trap for the studio sink

It’s been a busy week setting up the final details of my studio. I know once I’m deep into the clay, it’s hard to find the motivation to take care to the remaining items on the to-do list. I really don’t want to mess up the plumbing, so I was anxious to figure out some sort of clay trap for the sink.


Whenever I think about a clay trap, I have the image of a box trap trying to entice the tiny clay clay particles from escaping down the plumbing.

But that doesn’t really seem like a realistic solution! I had been planning on putting together my own trap, but then I read of stories about how they can “go bad” by getting super stinky or leaky or they prove to be too difficult to change when they get full. So I got scared off of  the DIY solution. If it’s something that you’ve thought about doing, these plans look interesting. Then there is the Gleco Trap. People seem to like it, but the little containers seem expensive, and as a full time potter, I was worried that I would have to change it all the time.  Then I discovered that they had a couple of larger sizes, but the price tag was too steep. Thanks to Facebook, Paul Randall gave me a fantastic tip.  Gleco Traps are used by dentists, and if you buy directly though a dental supply company, they’re much cheaper. I am a huge supporter of ceramics suppliers (trust me, they get lots of my money!), but I couldn’t ignore the price difference. Since I first looked at the traps, the price from the dental company has inched up a little, and the price from the ceramic supply company has dropped quite a bit. But when I bought it, it was literally almost half the price.


The directions are pretty straight forward. When we first had a sink installed, we left room for a system under the sink, so it was easy. If you have a closed sink cabinet, it would be good to make sure you have enough room to squeeze it in before you order it. I bought the 3.5 gallon size. There is also a 5 gallon size, but this seemed like it would be enough, plus it would be a little more manageable.


It comes with lots of extra fittings so it should work with most plumbing situations. Everything just screws together so you can disassemble it when you need to change the bucket. The downside is that you do need to buy a whole replacement bucket. But hopefully that will be a long time from now.


I have no idea if this is going to be the ideal solution, I’ll let you know in the coming months. You can see into the semi-transparent bucket and how much sediment is in to so it’ll be obvious when it needs to be replaced. Changing the bucket will really be the test of the system! It does have the possibility of getting a little stinky, so they suggest adding chlorine crystals from a pool supply company, but it seems like bleach should do the trick, right? That’s what I’ve done with other trap systems.

What do you do in your studio to keep the plumbing from getting clogged?

11 thoughts on “New clay trap for the studio sink

  1. Ha Emily, you had me laughing out loud with that trap; you always have had the best posts, thanks for the info on the trap. I hope to be following in your footsteps soon.

  2. Brandon and Rob,
    It’s a good question, and the same one that I was asking during my research. There doesn’t seem to be a great answer… But it seems like in order for it to be well sealed, it’s gotta be permanently sealed. If it could be opened up to be emptied, then it could also open up for leaks, etc.. The rest of the system is reusable, but the bucket isn’t. It’s definitely not ideal, but it’s the first system of the size that’s available for purchase. Luckily, just the bucket needs to be replaced, not the rest of the system. There are valves on top of the lid that will be open when you disconnect it. Seems possible to pour out those openings, and then reuse the bucket without compromising the seal. I will definitely give that a try before spending any more money!

    Linda, I’m glad you had a laugh! I did too :)

    1. I think that most commercial traps are designed to capture plaster in dentist’s or orthopedic surgeon’s offices. The plaster sets up in the trap and the whole thing has to be thrown away.

      I’m just starting to look into a system for my studio. The system would be under a utility sink in the laundry room. The space under the sink is small and the p-trap is very close to the floor and I’m trying to think of a way around that problem.

    2. I bought two clay traps. I have one attached to my sink and when it is full I switch it out with the spare. It takes very little time to switch out the buckets. I then empty the full trap through the holes on top into utility buckets and let the slop settle. There will always be a tiny bit left in bottom of the trap bucket. The last step to pour out the water once the slop settles. I pour the clay residue in to milk/ juice cartons and throw them in the trash.

  3. I took a lime mortar workshop once, and it was indoors… so naturally, they have much the same problem as clay studios, with all that mortar. Their trap was made with a Rubbermaid bin that lived under the sink. The sink drain dropped straight into it, and the horizontal into the wall was about 1/4 of the way from the top of the bin, if I recall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *