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How to Clean a Smelly Drain

When your kitchen or bathroom drains stink, it can quickly make your home uncomfortable. If you’re fighting a smelly drain at home, this blog is for you. Read on to learn about the different causes of stinky drains and how to clean a smelly drain.

Don’t feel comfortable cleaning the drain yourself? Has your clog led to flooding or water damage? Schedule an appointment online or call for expert 24/7 emergency services.

Stinky Dain Causes

There are four key causes of smelly drains:

  1. Clogs and bacteria
  2. Lingering odors from strong-smelling foods
  3. Rotten materials built up in the pipe
  4. Sewer gases

Each of these issues is problematic in its own way. Read on to learn more about the signs and symptoms of each cause.

Clogs and Bacteria

Items such as hair, food, grease, and oil can congeal and lead to clogs and backed-up pipes. This clog then leads to bacteria buildup, which is what leads to a smelly drain.

Strong Smelling Foods

Are you regularly eating items like onion, garlic, fish, or broccoli? This could be the reason your drain is smelling. These items not only leave lingering odors, but they can continue to smell for days if they get caught in your drain. Luckily, this smelly drain issue is the least difficult one to neutralize.

Rotten Foods

Different from strong-smelling foods, rotten foods build up in your drain over time. This happens when you put any type of sticky grease down your drain that traps food particles and then starts to decay. The decaying of these items trapped in your drain is what produces a bad odor.

Sewer Gasses

The last reason you may have a stinky drain is sewer gasses. The P-Trap under your sink is designed to prevent sewer gasses from getting into your home. If you are smelling a rotten egg odor in your home, this means your P-Trap could be working incorrectly.

If you believe your P-Trap is not working correctly, call a plumber immediately, as sewer gasses are toxic.

How to Clean a Smelly Drain

Wondering how to clean a smelly drain? Smelly drains can’t always be remedied with DIY solutions - but here are a few tricks you can try before calling in a professional.

Hot Water Flush

This type of stinky drain solution takes the least effort and we recommend starting with it, especially if your smell is being caused by strong-smelling or rotten foods. Simply pour a few drops of a dishwashing liquid and half a gallon of very hot (but not boiling) water down the drain. After five minutes, pour cold water down the drain to solidify any remaining fat or grease. Repeat the process once more to remove any last remnants.

Hot Vinegar Flush

Vinegar contains acid which neutralizes odor, cuts through grease, and helps disinfect. By heating up (but not boiling) four cups of vinegar, pouring half down the drain, running the water for a minute, and then pouring the remaining vinegar down the drain, you can help eliminate smells and smaller clogs.

Baking Soda & Vinegar

If the hot water or hot vinegar flush didn’t work or you are still experiencing an odor in your pipes, try introducing baking soda into the mix. The combination of vinegar and baking soda begins to fizz and helps break up any congealed grease in your drain. Pour one cup of baking soda and then two cups of white vinegar down your drain and wait 10 minutes. Flush it away with hot water and then repeat the process if needed.

Does your drain seem slow? Let the mixture set for 30 minutes instead of 10 before flushing with hot water.

Clickable graphic directing to Rainbow Restoration's blog How To Fix a Leaky Faucet Handle: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Stinky Garbage Disposal Solutions

In kitchens, it’s common for smells to emanate not from the pipes, but from your garbage disposal. If you believe your garbage disposal may be the cause of an unsavory smell, try this stinky garbage disposal solution:

  1. Take a handful of small lemon wedges (other citrus will work too) and put them in your garbage disposal.
  2. Run the water and turn the disposal on.
  3. Run the disposal until all the citrus has been flushed.

The acid from the citrus will help remove any odor or gunk from your garbage disposal blades. This natural cleaner can be repeated as necessary to keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh.  

Choose Rainbow Restoration for Kitchen and Bath Water Damage Restoration

Did your clog lead to a flood or water damage? Are you still experiencing foul odors in or around your home? Trust the pros at your local Rainbow Restoration to deliver water damage restoration and odor removal services you can trust. Call for 24/7 emergency service or schedule an appointment online to get started.

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Let us know how we can help you today.

Call us at (855) 724-6269
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