How to Clean a Smelly Drain

Have you ever entered your kitchen only to be greeted by a foul odor? You start searching—it’s not the garbage can, and it is clearly not the fridge. No, the culprit appears to be an icky and pungent kitchen drain. Thankfully, with a bit of detective work and drain-cleaning efforts, you can eliminate that annoying odor and say hello to freshness!

Why Do Drains Stink?

Your sink can stink for several reasons. Pinpointing the cause is the first step of freshening up your kitchen and avoiding a recurrence. The most common offenders include:

  • Bacteria: A kitchen drain clogged with food particles, grease buildup and other gunk is a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms that produce unpleasant odors as they feed.
  • Blocked drain: Stopped up pipes can lead to stagnant water and bacteria growth, making the smell worse.
  • Sewer gases: If the P-trap located under the sink dries out, sewer gases may come up from the drain, causing a lingering sewer smell. This oftentimes is found in household plumbing fixtures that are not used anymore
  • Plumbing errors: From DIY problems to missing traps or drain vents, plumbing issues can allow unwelcome smells to enter your living space.

Tips to Fix a Stinky Drain

Here are four tried-and-true ways to banish potent drain odors:

  • Hot water: Heat a mixture of water and vinegar to near-boiling and carefully pour it into the drain. The hot water clears out the debris and vinegar negates the odor.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: Start with the hot water strategy mentioned above. If it’s insufficient, pour a cup of baking soda into the drain and follow that with two cups of hot vinegar. Enjoy the fizz and let it sit for an hour. Then, clear the drain with more hot water to get rid of stubborn gunk and bacteria.
  • P-trap cleaning: Don your protective gloves and put a bucket underneath the P-trap. Unfasten the pipe by hand or with a wrench, if required, and take the pipe out. Dump the contents into the trash, wash out the pipe and reassemble your sink’s plumbing.
  • A note on bleach: Although it’s a good antibacterial agent, bleach is not ideal for cleaning drains. It can cause harm to your pipes and potentially create toxic gases, so avoid the use of bleach in this circumstance.

Tips for Pleasant-Smelling Drains

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

  • Run your garbage disposal and rinse with cold water for 20 seconds after grinding up food to totally flush particles down the pipes.
  • Flush the drain once a week with a gallon of near-boiling water to protect against the buildup of odor-causing debris.
  • Run water through rarely used sinks to keep the P-trap filled. For more protection, pour a bit of mineral oil in the drain, because that slows down evaporation.
  • Spread a handful of baking soda down the drain and follow that with hot water to absorb and neutralize odors.
  • From time to time, follow up the baking soda treatment with a cup of white vinegar for a more intense clean. Leave it there for 30 minutes, then clean the drain thoroughly with hot water.
  • Use ground-up lemon or orange peels to leave your sink smelling citrus-fresh.
  • Use enzyme cleaners to stop the buildup of odor-causing residue without turning to harsh chemicals.
  • Hire a specialist to check your plumbing occasionally. This can help catch odor-causing situations before they become a big problem.
  • Don’t pour grease and other foods into the drain that can easily clog or rot, such as coffee grounds and fibrous vegetables.
  • Try using mesh strainers to catch food scraps and other debris before they end up in drain. Then, dump the strainers into the trash to keep your pipes flowing smoothly and smelling clean.
  • Schedule professional drain cleaning to ensure a comprehensive job. Licensed plumbers have the tools and skill to deal with tough clogs and smelly problems. In addition, they can supply you with personalized advice specific to your residence’s plumbing system.

Schedule Professional Drain Cleaning in the U.S. with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If your efforts to clean the foul-smelling kitchen drain don’t work, it’s time to call in the specialists. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is known for fast, lasting 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 stinky drains make you want to run out of the room, choose the knowledgeable pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Plan your appointment by contacting us at 866-397-3787 today!

  • 10 Questions to Ask an HVAC Contractor

    Finding the right HVAC contractor to replace or service your home comfort system can be difficult. That choice is important because the contractor you hire greatly impacts your HVAC system’s quality, longevity and efficiency for years to come. To help you make an informed decision, research... Continue reading

  • Are Chemical Drain Cleaners Safe to Use?

    Unblocking a plugged drain can be dirty work, so many homeowners choose chemical drain cleaners to wash away the sludge. Bottles of these products are often found in cleaning closets, but are they really safe? Dive into the world of chemical drain cleaners, find out how they function and learn why... Continue reading

  • Why Drain Cleaning is Important

    It’s that time of year when homeowners in the U.S. have been going through their closets, mopping the floors, and giving the house a deep scrub. But did you forget to clean your drains? You probably have a household drain cleaning product for when the the kitchen sink is backing up or the... Continue reading