21 January Close up of a kitchen sink and vegetables

How to Get Rid of Bad Sink Drain Odours

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It should really come as no surprise that sink drains develop odours over time. After all, they’re constantly exposed to dirty water, food debris, and even things like grease and dirt. If those items were allowed to sit in a bucket on the floor in your house for a few days, they’d also start to smell pretty terribly. And because your sink drain is often damp and humid, the potential for odours to grow and multiply is ripe. That doesn’t mean that you have to just accept the stench as a part of your daily life, of course. There are many things you can do to try and fix the issue on your own – and if that fails, you can always reach out to professional kitchen sink plumbing in Oakville for additional help!

Close up of a kitchen sink

What causes kitchen drain odour?

There many different reasons that your drain could be odorous. One of the most common is the buildup of bacteria and “gunk” in the pipes. Food, soap particles, grease, and a plethora of other things can line your drain and attract a lot of bacteria, which can release its own smell independent of rotting food. A clogged vent pipe trapping water in the drain and leading to stagnation can also lead to a foul sink odour. And, of course, sewer gases and plumbing errors can also be the culprit of, particularly smelly pipes.
The good news is that there are many different things you can try to clean your drain and move on with your life, including enlisting the help of professional Oakville plumbers.

1. Dish Soap and Hot Water

One of the first things to try is also the simplest: use dish soap and hot water. Clean your sink and then fill it with hot, soapy water. Turn the garbage disposal on and allow the water to run through it while it works. This allows the water and soap to actually fill the disposal and clean the nooks and crannies that are missed when just running it dry.
This tip is helpful even if you don’t have a garbage disposal, as an aside. Skip the bit about “turning on the disposal” but still allow the hot water and soap to run through the pipes.

2. Boiling Water

This is different from the first tip in that the water should be boiling this time. Don’t let it cool – pour the still-boiling water straight down the sink. If the drain is only mildly smelly, this could be enough to clean away whatever is sitting in there and end the odour.

3. Boiling Water, Baking Soda, and Vinegar

Many people are tempted to buy expensive cleaning solutions when the reality is that you likely have some of the most effective methods right in your kitchen. Baking soda, when mixed with vinegar, creates a bubbling mixture that can help clean the drain. Pour a handful of baking soda directly into the drain and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Follow that with about one half of a cup of white vinegar. While the mixture begins to bubble and pop in the drain, boil a kettle or pot of water. About 15 minutes after you poured the vinegar down the drain, pour the boiling water down the drain, too.
Another tip to try here is to add equal parts coarse salt and baking soda to the drain as opposed to the baking soda alone. The rest of the steps remain the same.

Close up of sliced lemons

4. Baking Soda, Boiling Water, and Lemon Juice

You might be noticing a trend here – baking soda and boiling water are a fairly powerful cleaning duo that appears in some of the most effective of these tips. In this version, all of the steps remain the same as described in step three above, but you add lemon juice instead of vinegar. The only real difference here is that the lemon juice will smell nicer than the vinegar. In terms of effective cleaning, they’re on the same level.

5. Clean the Stopper

Finally, don’t forget that sometimes the most obvious answers are the best answers. If the above doesn’t work, make sure that the sink stopper itself isn’t in need of a thorough cleaning. It comes into contact with even more debris than the rest of the drain, so it’s no surprise that it can develop odours of its own eventually. Remove any debris you find in it, wash it with hot water and soap, and then replace it back in the drain.

How can I keep my drain in good shape?

It’s no fun to face repeat odours again after you’ve worked so hard to clean your drain. One of the most effective things you can do is to simply carry out some of the above tips periodically. This is easier than you might think. If you boil water for tea or coffee, pour whatever is remaining of the clean, boiled water down the drain. You can toss some baking soda in the drain first for an extra burst of clean. This takes only a few moments and can work to prevent bacteria and food debris from sticking to the drain in the first place rather than trying to fix the issue after they’ve been allowed to run amok.

What do I do if nothing works?

If you try all of the tips above and your drain still smells horrible, you might be dealing with a more serious issue. There could a blockage or clog further down the pipes that are causing the smell as opposed to the fairly routine buildup of food debris and grease. If this is the case, you’re going to want to enlist the help of a plumber as quickly as possible. Not only will the smell only get worse as time goes on, but the clog could be damaging your plumbing in the process.
The expert team at PlumbWize can help! We’re ready to take on even the toughest and most odorous of drains and pipes. Contact us today for more information about our services.

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