Why Does My Drain Smell?

There’s nothing worse than a drain with a disgusting odor. Whether it’s in your bathroom or kitchen, a smelly drain can make any room feel unwelcoming. But what makes a smelly drain…smelly?

Common Causes of Drain Odors

There’s more than one reason your drain could smell funky. Here are some common culprits:


Clogs are a plumbing problem almost every household will come into contact with at one point or another. But when clogs get really bad, they can create strange odors. Food, grease, soap, and hair are some of the common causes of really bad clogs. However, if a clog is building, it may not cause noticeable problems. Over time, these substances begin to decay, which can cause an unseemly smell.

Rotten food

This is one of the most likely causes of a smelly drain in the kitchen. Certain foods are more pungent than others, and any leftovers that find their way down the sink have the potential to stink.

Mold and mildew

Mold and mildew are organisms that require darkness and water to grow–which is exactly what your drains offer. Kitchen and bathroom drains are also very likely to be the host of bacteria, which is another great agent of growth for both mold and mildew.

Dry p-trap

The p-trap is the piping visible underneath your sink. The p-trap does exactly what it’s named for: trapping debris in your plumbing before it goes too deep into your plumbing. The p-trap has another function as well: preventing sewer gas from entering your home. If the p-trap dries out, the sewer gas is released into your home.

Sewer line

A clog deep within your plumbing system can cause a rancid stench in your home, and common clog solutions can’t penetrate deeply enough to fix it. On rarely used drains, sewer gases can rise out of dried out, empty drain traps.

Venting problems

Another common way for sewer gas to stink up your home is when you have a problem with the vent pipes. Plumbing vents are used to move sewer gas out of your home. However, if these vents become clogged (typically with debris from outside, such as a bird’s nest or leaves), the sewer gas can’t escape on its normal route and will be forced back into your drains.

How to Get Rid of Smelly Drains

Thankfully, strange odors don’t have to be a permanent problem. With these simple solutions, your home will be smelling fresh and clean in no time!

  • Grind up citrus rinds – Lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit–no matter what kind of citrus fruit is your favorite, the rinds get disposed of. Throw the rinds in your garbage disposal and grind them up to give your drains a clean, fresh scent.
  • Boiling water – Hot water is a natural solution to smelly clogs. Even if this doesn’t flush the clog away completely, it could be hot enough to dissolve some of the debris.
  • Baking soda and vinegar – Vinegar and baking soda create a chemical reaction that could help clear out your drain. Simply throw some baking soda down the drain in question and follow it up with vinegar. Let the mixture do its thing, then follow it with boiling water to put the clog to rest.
  • Hire professionals – If none of the above steps have worked, you may have a problem deep in your plumbing. Contact the professionals to find and fix the issue.

The plumbing experts at Quality First Service Group work hard to make sure your home feels like home. Contact our team to see how we put Quality First in every job we do.

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