How to Clean a Smelly Drain

Have you ever walked into your kitchen only to detect a foul smell? You start looking around—it’s not the garbage can, and the aroma isn’t coming from the fridge. No, the perpetrator appears to be a smelly kitchen drain. Fortunately, with some investigation and drain-cleaning efforts, you can eliminate that undesirable stench and say hello to freshness!

What Causes a Stinky Drain?

Your sink can stink for many reasons. Identifying the cause is the first step of freshening up your kitchen and stopping a recurrence. The most frequent causes include:

  • Bacteria: A kitchen drain lined with food particles, grease buildup and other crud is a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms that make unpleasant odors as they feed.
  • Clogged drain: Blocked pipes can lead to stagnant water and bacteria growth, adding to the bad odor.
  • Sewer gases: If the P-trap underneath the sink dries out, sewer gases may come up from the drain, creating a lingering sewer smell. This typically occurs with household plumbing fixtures that are not used anymore
  • Plumbing mistakes: From DIY problems to missing traps or drain vents, plumbing challenges can allow unwanted smells to permeate your living space.

Ways to Clean a Stinky Drain

Here are four reliable ways to eliminate smelly drain odors:

  • Hot water: Heat a mixture of water and vinegar to near-boiling and slowly pour it into the drain. The hot water clears out the debris and vinegar counteracts the scent.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: Get started with the hot water method mentioned above. If it’s insufficient, dump a cup of baking soda into the drain and follow that with two cups of hot vinegar. Enjoy the fizz and let the solution work for an hour. Then, rinse the drain with more hot water to get rid of stubborn gunk and bacteria.
  • P-trap cleaning: Don your safety gloves and position a bucket below the P-trap. Unscrew the pipe by hand or with a wrench, if needed, and remove it. Clean out the contents into the trash, wash out the pipe and reattach your sink’s plumbing.
  • A note on bleach: Although it is a powerful antibacterial agent, bleach is not advisable for cleaning drains. It can cause harm to your pipes and possibly create toxic gases, so avoid using bleach in this situation.

How to Keep Your Drains Smelling Fresh

It’s simple to keep funky drains at bay with a little maintenance. Here’s what we encourage:

  • Run your garbage disposal and clear it using cold water for 20 seconds after grinding up food to totally flush particles out the pipes.
  • Clean the drain weekly with a gallon of near-boiling water to stop the buildup of odor-causing debris.
  • Run water into seldom-used sinks to keep the P-trap filled. For extra protection, put a bit of mineral oil in the drain, because that reduces evaporation.
  • Pour a handful of baking soda into the drain and follow that with hot water to absorb and counteract odors.
  • From time to time, follow up the baking soda process with a cup of white vinegar for a even greater clean. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse the drain thoroughly with hot water.
  • Use ground-up lemon or orange peels to leave your sink smelling fragrant.
  • Utilize enzyme cleaners to stop the buildup of odor-causing residue without relying on harsh chemicals.
  • Hire a pro to check your plumbing sporadically. This can help detect odor-causing issues before they become a concern.
  • Avoid pouring grease and other foods in the drain that can easily clog or rot, such as coffee grounds and fibrous vegetables.
  • Install mesh strainers to catch food scraps and other debris before they end up in drain. Next, throw the debris from the strainers into the trash to keep your pipes flowing easily and smelling pleasant.
  • Hire professional drain cleaning to ensure a properly done job. Licensed plumbers have the tools and knowledge to take care of tough clogs and smelly problems. In addition, they can supply you with personalized advice specific to your residence’s plumbing system.

Call for Experienced Drain Cleaning in the U.S. with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If your attempts to clean the stinky kitchen drain prove unsuccessful, it’s time to call in the pros. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing delivers fast, enduring plumbing solutions in the U.S., including professional drain cleaning. Our 100% satisfaction guarantee means we’re dedicated to your complete happiness.

So, the next time your smelly drains make you want to run out of the room, reach out to the knowledgeable pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Schedule your appointment by contacting us at 866-397-3787 today!

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