A smelly drain can be an embarrassment, especially when guests come over.
Several factors can cause your smelly drains to develop a bad odour. For instance, clogged garbage disposal, rotten food waste, blocked pipes, etc.
It would be best if you took immediate action since smelly drains indicate an unhygienic hazard. Smelly drains can often act as a breeding ground for several diseases and bacteria that can drastically affect your health. Some odours can also cause severe breathing problems and discomfort to your body.
We have compiled this article to help you clean smelly drains. So, let’s dive in!
What Causes Smelly Drain
In this section, we will discuss a few common reasons why your drains would start to have a foul smell:
A. Mould Growth
If you notice your smelly drains release a musty odour, there is a high chance that the odour comes from a mould source. Drains are one of the most common places to find mould since it has plenty of moisture for the mould to grow. This causes the mould to spread and releases tiny puffs of sewer smell.
B. Trapped Dirt Or Gunk
Kitchen sink drains and bathrooms are prone to having bad odour since grease, food, soap, hair, and other gunks can easily accumulate within the pipe. Eventually, the trapped gunk and dirt attract bacteria and other microorganisms. You may also experience this if you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen. This causes your bathroom and kitchen sink drains to emit a foul smell, resulting in a smelly drain.
C. Clogged Vent Pipes
Venting pipes are designed to prevent sewer gas from entering the house. In addition, these pipes can get rid of sewer gases by pushing them back to the rooftop. However, if these pipes are blocked by debris and dust, it causes water to pool within the sink, resulting in a stagnant odour.
The sewer gases will also be forced to pass through the drain pipes if vent pipes are blocked.
D. Invasive Tree Roots
If you have trees growing near your house, there is a high chance that the tree root will grow and penetrate the plumbing system. These roots will eventually block the pipes and prevent the wastewater from leaving the drain. Hence, the drains start to release a foul odour.
E. Water Issues
Sometimes sulphate-reducing bacteria react with the sulphate present in your hot water heater, and this causes the drain to smell like rotten eggs. In this case, you will need occasional maintenance on your water heater to prevent the stinky drain smells from occurring.
F. Plumbing Problems
Another possible reason for a smelly drain is when the plumbing system has structural problems. For instance, rotten drain pipes, water leaks, trapped vents, old pipes, and many more can cause odour and sewer gases to leak from the kitchen sink drain.
G. Issues With The Sewer Line
Lastly, if your sewer lines are broken or blocked for various external reasons, it will cause wastewater to leak or accumulate within the pipes. A leaking sewer can dirty your property and cause bad odours near your house. On the other hand, clogged sewer lines will cause bacteria and other microorganisms to grow and release foul smells.
Materials Required For Cleaning Smelly Drains
After identifying the common causes behind your stinky bathroom and kitchen sink drains, it is high time to assemble the necessary supplies to clean your drain. On that note, we have listed a few important materials to clean smelly drains. Some of these items can be used to open clogged drains, while others can be used to clean smelly drains.
These are the materials you will require:
- Baking soda
- One cup vinegar
- Hot water
- Rubber gloves
- Drain plug
- Snake hose auger
- Metal hanger
- Petroleum jelly
How To Get Rid Of Drain Odours
Once you have identified the main source of your smelly drain, you can follow the steps we have listed to eliminate the drain odours and prevent the smell from ever occurring again. We have made sure that our steps and solutions are easy, and most of the materials required can be found within the house or at your local stores.
Method 1: Hot Water or Vinegar
This method will need boiling water or vinegar until it reaches the simmering point. Once the boiling water or vinegar has reached the simmering point, pour half of it into the drain and wait for a couple of minutes until it removes the gunk fully. You can also use baking soda with vinegar if you believe you have a blocked drain.
If some gunk remains, you can pour cold water to solidify the gunk before pouring the remaining hot water or hot vinegar. This will remove all the remaining gunk, and the odour should eventually vanish from your drain. You can use this method once every three months to clean your kitchen sink, and smelly bathroom drains.
However, if your plumbing systems use PVC pipes, you should be careful since pouring hot water can cause potential damage to your pipes.
Method 2: Use A Plunger
You will need to purchase a plunger to unclog your shower drain. Begin this process by applying petroleum jelly to the edges of the plunger. This helps the plunger seal better and prevents it from losing its grip. Now place the plunger over the shower drain and cover it so that you can fill the shower with water.
Ensure the plunger is submerged in the water before you plunge the blocked drain. In addition, you should continue to plunge the shower drain till all of the clogs have been removed.
Method 3: Baking Soda And Vinegar
As mentioned above, begin this method by letting tap water run down the drain for a few seconds. After some time, turn off the tap and pour a glass of baking soda into the drain. Additionally, pour two cups of hot vinegar into the drain and ensure that the vinegar is at its boiling point.
Leave the vinegar and baking soda mixture in the kitchen drain or bathroom sink for an hour and let it fizz. This will help the mixture clear out debris or in your blocked drain. Once this is done, pour some hot tap water down the drain and see if the clog has cleared up. You can repeat this method till the clog cleans up entirely.
This is one of the most effective drain cleaners since it dissolves all the gunk and eliminates any drain smell.
Method 4: Use A Drain Snake Hose Auger
A drain snake is a tool commonly used to clean clogged drains. The drain snake is made from flexible metal tubes fitted into a plastic tube with an auger at the end of the tube. These tubes work together to move along the pipe and remove the clog from the drain.
When using the drain snake, you should hold the plastic tube tightly and push the flexible end into the drain. Turn the handle whenever you feel a clog in the drain. This will clear blocked drains since the flexible end will hook onto the clog and remove it from the drain. After clearing the drain, you should sanitise the drain snake before placing it in storage. You could also pour some boiling water down to remove any remaining debris.
If you don’t own a drain snake, you can make one at home by following a simple and easy DIY trick. Use a metal coat hanger to form a flexible long metal wire with a hook at the end. Slowly slide the hook through the drain until it reaches the clog. Turn the handle, and the hook will pull out all the gunk and debris from the drain.
If this method is successful, you will need to thoroughly clean the bathroom and drain snake since you will find a clump of hair and gunk coming out of the drain. This should remove any foul drain smell in your home.
Method 5: Clean The Drain vent And P-Trap
The p-trap is important since it prevents sewer gases from escaping the sink. However, if the p-trap dries up, sewer gas can easily escape, resulting in a smelly drain. One of the main reasons for a p-trap to dry up is when gunk clogs the drain and prevents water from reaching the p-trap. So, you will need to clean the p-trap and remove the gunk from the plumbing system.
Before cleaning the p-trap, you will need to wear gloves for protection. Once that is done, use a wrench and disconnect the curved section of your plumbing system. This is where the p-trap is located.
Remove the gunk from the p-trap and throw it in a dustbin while you rinse out the p-trap. After cleaning the p-trap thoroughly, you can let it dry before attaching it back to your main plumbing system. You can then proceed to turn on the tap and see if the water flows down the drain properly. If it does, you have successfully restored your p-trap.
Similarly, you can use the same method to clean your drain vent if debris and dust are trapped between the vents. Remember that you will require the necessary tools and safety gear to clear the vents. If you don’t have the proper equipment to clean your drain vent, we highly suggest contacting a plumbing expert to get the job done.
Get Rid Of Smelly Drains
You can avoid smelly drains if you take the correct steps. As mentioned earlier, one of the primary reasons for a smelly drain is when food waste, hair, gunk, and soap get stuck within the pipes.
As time passes, these waste materials will eventually degrade and release foul odours, which can leave a nasty smell in your house. You can avoid this by throwing food waste in a garbage bin before washing your plates.
In addition, you shouldn’t flush sanitary items such as wipes, diapers, or tissues down the bathroom drain since it can clog the drain and prevent the wastewater from leaving. If the nasty smell continues to build up, then you should hire a plumber to get the job done.
Big Blue Plumbing provides the best drainage cleaning and repair services in South East Queensland. Whether you have a clogged drain or a bathroom sink smell that won’t go away - we can help. So, contact us today!
With that, it’s a wrap. See you next time!