How to Clean a Smelly Drain

Have you ever entered your kitchen only to detect a foul odor? You start investigating—it’s not the garbage can, and the aroma isn’t coming from the fridge. No, the cause seems to be a stinky kitchen drain. Fortunately, with some investigation and drain-cleaning efforts, you can say goodbye to that undesirable smell and say hello to freshness!

What Causes a Stinky Drain?

Your sink can smell bad for many reasons. Identifying the cause is the first step of freshening up your kitchen and preventing a recurrence. The most common culprits include:

  • Bacteria: A kitchen drain clogged with food particles, grease buildup and other gunk is a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms that make unpleasant odors as they feed.
  • Plugged drain: Stopped up pipes can lead to stagnant water and bacteria growth, adding to the bad odor.
  • Sewer gases: If the P-trap below the sink dries out, sewer gases may come up from the drain, leading to a lingering sewer smell. This frequently is found in plumbing that is no longer used
  • Plumbing mistakes: From DIY mishaps to missing traps or drain vents, plumbing problems can allow unwanted smells to permeate your living space.

Ways to Fix a Stinky Drain

Here are four reliable methods to banish potent drain odors:

  • Hot water: Heat a mixture of water and vinegar to near-boiling and slowly pour it in the drain. The hot water clears out the gunk and vinegar neutralizes the odor.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: Start with the hot water method mentioned above. If it’s inadequate, put a cup of baking soda down the drain and chase it with two cups of hot vinegar. Enjoy the fizz and leave it for an hour. Then, clear the drain with more hot water to clean out stubborn gunk and bacteria.
  • P-trap cleaning: Don your safety gloves and place a bucket below the P-trap. Unfasten the pipe by hand or with a wrench, if necessary, and remove it. Clean out the contents into the trash, flush any leftovers out of the pipe and reassemble your sink’s plumbing.
  • A note on bleach: Although it is an effective antibacterial agent, bleach is not advisable for cleaning drains. It can damage your pipes and possibly create toxic gases, so avoid the use of bleach in this situation.

How to Keep Your Drains Smelling Fresh

It’s easy to keep reeking drains from happening with a little elbow grease. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Operate your garbage disposal and flush it with cold water for 20 seconds after grinding up food to completely flush particles through the pipes.
  • Rinse the drain weekly with a gallon of near-boiling water to stop the buildup of odor-causing gunk.
  • Run water into infrequently used sinks to keep the P-trap filled. For additional protection, pour a bit of mineral oil in the drain, because that reduces evaporation.
  • Sprinkle a handful of baking soda in the drain followed by hot water to absorb and reduce any odors.
  • Once in a while, follow up the baking soda method with a cup of white vinegar for a more intense clean. Allow the baking soda to activate for half an hour, then rinse the drain extensively with hot water.
  • Use ground-up lemon or orange peels to leave your sink smelling fragrant.
  • Make use of enzyme cleaners to counter the buildup of odor-causing residue without relying on harsh chemicals.
  • Hire a specialist to check your plumbing occasionally. This can help catch odor-causing issues before they become a big problem.
  • Don’t pour grease and other kitchen scraps or substances in the drain that can easily clog or decay, such as coffee grounds and fibrous vegetables.
  • Try using mesh strainers to catch food particles and other debris before they get caught in the drain. After that, dump the strainers into the trash to keep your pipes flowing easily and smelling fresh.
  • Hire professional drain cleaning to ensure a comprehensive job. Licensed plumbers have the tools and expertise to deal with tough clogs and smelly problems. Additionally, they can provide personalized advice specific to your household’s plumbing system.

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

If your attempts to clean the smelly kitchen drain don’t work, it’s time to call in the pros. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing provides fast, enduring plumbing solutions in the U.S., including professional drain cleaning. Our 100% satisfaction guarantee means we’re focused on your complete happiness.

So, the next time your smelly drains make you want to plug your nose, 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

    Choosing the right HVAC contractor to replace or service your home comfort system can seem difficult. That decision is significant because the contractor you hire seriously impacts your HVAC system’s quality, durability and efficiency for years to come. To assist you in making an informed... Continue reading

  • Are Chemical Drain Cleaners Safe to Use?

    Unblocking a plugged drain can be dirty work, so many homeowners resort to chemical drain cleaners to wash away the gunk. Bottles of these chemicals are frequently found in cleaning aisles, but are they completely safe? Dive into the world of chemical drain cleaners, find out how they function and... Continue reading

  • Why Drain Cleaning is Important

    It’s spring and that means many homeowners in Philadelphia have been organizing their closets, mopping the floors, and giving the house a deep scrub. But what about your drains? You can’t forget to clean out your drains! You most likely have a liquid drain cleaning product for when the the... Continue reading