If you’re getting a bad whiff when you turn on the water, that could mean it’s just time for some cleaning. A clogged drain can cause your sink to smell bad and give off odours from waste particles in sewage that are not removed with soap and hot water alone. Luckily there are methods of solving this issue without having to call an expensive plumber.
What Are Common Causes of a Smelly Drain?
Before we get around to clearing that smelly drain, first understand what is the reason for that awful smell.
Trapped Gunk or Dirt:
The shower drain and the bathroom and kitchen sink drains are often the worst-smelling areas of a home, primarily because they collect hair, food particle from meals cooked throughout the day, as well as soap residue that emits foul smells.
Most people are familiar with the musty odour that invades their home when they have a clogged drain. This is because mould, which feeds off of moisture, thrives in drains and releases tiny puffs of smelly gas – so if you notice this foul odour, it’s highly likely to be coming from a mould in the drainpipe!
The p-trap is the most important part of your sink, but you may not know what it does. Look under your kitchen or bathroom sink and find a curved section or that u-shaped pipe that connects to the drainpipe! Its primary function is to capture water that acts as a plug. So if the water has leaked out, this means that sewer gasses might be coming up the drainpipe, which can lead to some pretty nasty smells.
For many homeowners facing odour problems with their sinks, they may think this problem has something to do with what goes in there – when really we’re talking about structural issues like water leaks or rotting pipes, which are causing an unpleasant stench out into your house!
What Can I Do About Smelly Drains?
If you’ve been dealing with these common causes for a while now, then chances are you’ll need professional help to deal with them. If not, here are a few things you can try on your own:
Step 1: Identify the Source
Find the source of the smell is the first step. Is it from the shower drain, bathroom sink, Kitchen sink or somewhere else? If the mouldy smell is coming from the walls, then it may not be a drain problem, and you need to call the professionals.
Step 2: Hot Water or Vinegar
To start, bring water or white vinegar to a boil. Pour half the amount down your drain slowly, then pour in cold water, so any remaining gunk solidifies and is easily slide off. Pour the remaining hot vinegar or hot water to flush out what was left. If you have PVC pipes, be careful not to do this with boiling hot liquid as it has the potential to damage them!
Step 3: Use a Plunger
To unclog your shower drain, first, apply some petroleum jelly to the edge of a plunger. Next, position it over the cover the drain and fill it with hot water, just enough for it to submerge the plunger partway. Begin vigorously plunging until you are no longer hearing any gurgling noises!
Step 4: Combine Baking Soda & Vinegar
Instead of spending a fortune on expensive commercial drain cleaners, you can try an old fashioned home remedy with baking soda and vinegar. Let the tap run for a few seconds, then turn it off. Pour in a cup of baking soda followed by two cups of vinegar. Let it fizz and sit for an hour. Run the tap and see if the clog is gone.
Step 5: Use a Snake Hose Auger or Coat Hanger
If you are looking to clear clogs from your stinky drains, snake hoses and metal wire coat hangers can be used for a makeshift drain snake. However, it is important that the hose or wire being used stays clean by washing with soap after each use so as not to create more problems in and around the home.
Step 6: Clean the P-Trap
Remove the p-trap and get rid of any gunk that is inside. Clean out with water, or use a hose to spray it off outside on your lawn. Reattach securely back onto the plumbing system, then try using sink again if the problem was clogged drain vent remove debris from the trap, but if you don’t have safety gear its best to call professional help.
How Can I Prevent Smelly Drains?
Preventative regular plumbing maintenance is key when it comes to avoiding smelly bathroom drains. With a little bit of work, you can prevent the need for costly drain cleaning and avoid an embarrassing stink!
Routinely disinfect your sink and shower drains by following these steps. Once a week, boil up the kettle and slowly tip steaming water into every drain in your bathroom twice. After that, run cold water for at least one minute to eliminate any leftover residue. Next, once per month, use the baking soda and vinegar mixture followed quickly by hot tap water and leave for an hour. Rinse again with hot water. Remember not to let this mixture sit overnight as an adverse reaction may occur due to any mildew present and start eating away at your pipes.
What if The Problem Still Isn’t Fixed?
If the smell is still there after cleaning it, you may need a professional plumber’s help. It would be best to call them if you think you’re not capable of doing the steps above, too. A licensed plumber would be able to identify the source of the smell, asses and pinpoint the issue and clear it out faster than you could prepare your baking soda mixture.
A licensed plumber will also give you peace of mind and not have you worry if you put the P-trap back on properly or if you rinsed the baking soda out well. Get your drains cleaned and checked by experienced plumbers that would not only get rid of that unpleasant smell but ensure that your pipes are free from clog issues.