How to Clean a Smelly Drain

Have you ever entered your kitchen only to be greeted by a foul stench? You start looking around—it’s not the garbage can, and the aroma isn’t coming from the fridge. No, the perpetrator seems to be a smelly kitchen drain. Thankfully, with a bit of detective work and drain-cleaning efforts, you can alleviate that annoying smell and say hello to freshness!

Why Do Drains Stink?

Your sink can smell bad for a few reasons. Pinpointing the cause is the starting point to freshening up your kitchen and preventing a recurrence. The most common culprits include:

  • Bacteria: A kitchen drain clogged with food particles, grease buildup and other gunk is a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms that make unpleasant odors as they feed.
  • Blocked drain: Stopped up pipes can lead to stagnant water and bacteria growth, contributing to the stench.
  • Sewer gases: If the P-trap below the sink dries out, sewer gases may emanate from the drain, creating a lingering sewer smell. This most often occurs with household plumbing fixtures that are not used anymore
  • Plumbing mistakes: From DIY accidents to missing traps or drain vents, plumbing issues can allow unwanted smells to penetrate your living space.

Ways to Clean a Stinky Drain

Here are four tried-and-true strategies to cure potent drain odors:

  • Hot water: Heat a mixture of water and vinegar until it nearly boils and carefully pour it in the drain. The hot water clears out the gunk and vinegar neutralizes the odor.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: Start with the hot water technique outlined above. If it’s not enough, put a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow that with two cups of hot vinegar. Watch it fizz and let the solution work for an hour. Then, rinse the drain with more hot water to get rid of stubborn gunk and bacteria.
  • P-trap cleaning: Don your safety gloves and put a bucket underneath the P-trap. Unscrew the pipe by hand or with a wrench, if required, and remove it. Clean out the contents into the trash, wash out the pipe and refasten your sink’s plumbing.
  • A note on bleach: Although it is an effective antibacterial agent, bleach is not ideal for cleaning drains. It can harm your pipes and may create toxic gases, so don’t use bleach in this situation.

Strategies for Fresh and Clean Drains

It’s very easy to keep smelly drains under control with a little elbow grease. Here’s what we suggest:

  • Turn on your garbage disposal and flush it with cold water for 20 seconds after grinding up food to completely flush particles through the pipes.
  • Flush the drain weekly with a gallon of near-boiling water to protect against the buildup of odor-causing gunk.
  • Run water through rarely used sinks to keep the P-trap filled. For extra protection, put a bit of mineral oil in the drain, because that slows evaporation.
  • Sprinkle a handful of baking soda down the drain and follow that with hot water to absorb and counteract odors.
  • Occasionally, follow up the baking soda method with a cup of white vinegar for a even greater clean. Leave it there for a half-hour, then clean the drain completely with hot water.
  • Use ground-up lemon or orange peels to leave your sink smelling nice and clean.
  • Use enzyme cleaners to prevent the buildup of odor-causing residue without relying on harsh chemicals.
  • Hire a specialist to check your plumbing sporadically. This can help catch odor-causing situations before they become a big problem.
  • Avoid pouring grease and other foods in the drain that can easily clog or decay, such as coffee grounds and fibrous vegetables.
  • Install mesh strainers to catch food scraps and other debris before they get caught in the drain. After that, empty the strainers into the trash to keep your pipes flowing easily and smelling fresh.
  • Opt for professional drain cleaning to ensure a comprehensive job. Licensed plumbers have the tools and training to take care of tough clogs and smelly problems. Additionally, they can give personalized advice specific to your home’s plumbing system.

Schedule Experienced Drain Cleaning in the U.S. with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

If your efforts to clean the smelly kitchen drain don’t work, it’s time to call in the specialists. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing delivers fast, long-lasting plumbing solutions in the U.S., including professional drain cleaning. Our 100% satisfaction guarantee means we’re dedicated to your complete happiness.

So, the next time your stinky drains make you want to plug your nose, go with the knowledgeable pros at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Make your appointment by contacting us at 866-397-3787 today!

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