How to Clean a Smelly Drain
Smelly drains are the worst! No one likes to walk by a nasty drain with a disgusting odor coming out of it. It is good to be familiar with what causes a smelly drain and some home remedies to fix it. If you ever need drain assistance, Great Pros has plumbers who are readily available to help. Let’s go over the most common causes of a smelly drain and some home remedies for the stench.
The p-trap is that curvy pipe underneath your kitchen sink or bathroom sink. P-traps are hidden in other areas of the house like your bathtub and toilet as well. So what does the p-trap do? There is a small amount of water in the p-trap that blocks sewer gas from escaping as shown in the picture below.
If a drain has not been used for quite some time, the water in the p-trap can evaporate and cause sewage odor to escape. There could also be a leak in the p-trap that causes that water to slowly leak out of the pipe. The picture below gives a great visual on what this looks like.
Soil Vent Pipes and Air Admittance Valves
Another top cause of sewage smells is not having a soil vent pipe to vent the drains. Also known as SVP’s, these stench pipes prevent odor from entering the house by venting it out of the SVP instead. Plumbers also use air admittance valves instead of SVP if the house is not connected to the main drainage. If there are problems with these valves or the SVP, then this is an obvious reason as to why your drains smell. These vents typically drain sewage air to the top of the home.
4 Home Remedies for Smelly Drains
- The first thing you can do, and the most simple, is to remove any type of stopper from your sink or drain and clean it. There is a possibility that there is debris lodged in the stopper that is causing a gross smell.
- The second thing that can be done is to pour ¼ cup of baking soda into the drain, and then pour ¼ cup of vinegar into the drain. Allow this to bubble for 10 minutes to deodorize the pipes and remove and debris that has built up on the side of the pipes. It might also be worth buying some type of drain cleaner to pour down your drain. Make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle though.
- If the first two steps don’t work, try repeating the baking soda and vinegar step, but this time pour boiling water down the drain after you have let the bubbling occur for 10 minutes.
- The fourth home remedy is for a drain that has a garbage disposal. Place fresh citrus rinds into the drain and run the garbage disposal. The ground-up rinds help deodorize any remaining smells.
What to do if Your Drain Still Smells
If none of this works, your best option is to inspect the p-trap for any obstructions or to call a plumber to come take a look. It's best to take care of the problem as soon as possible to avoid any additional pipe or drain issues. If you let us know what the problem is with your drain, we can connect you to some of the top plumbers in your area for some free quotes.