Why Does My Drain Smell?

If you’ve noticed that your kitchen has developed an unpleasant smell that you can’t identify, it might be coming from your sink. The kitchen sink is your home’s hardest working plumbing system. If it has begun to smell, it’s probably from a minor problem that you can handle yourself. Here are five reasons why your kitchen drain smells.

1. Food is Trapped

When food becomes trapped in a home’s sink pipes, it starts to rot. As food or other debris rots, it will generate awful odors and turn into a bacteria breeding ground. A smelly sink will also be tempting to pests. Even without a sink disposal, the debris that winds up in the drain may multiply and start to produce an unpleasant odor fast.

Food scraps may become stuck to garbage disposal blades. When this happens, it creates a moldy or rotten smell. You may be able to prevent your drain from developing an unpleasant odor by continuing to run water for 30 additional seconds after the disposal is done grinding up food particles. This step will help you remove old bits of food that could become smelly.

Drain unclogging tips include sending a handful of ice cubes through your garbage disposal. Ice cubes will knock off food that’s become attached to the disposal blades. Toss a few lemon or orange slices through your garbage disposal to give your drain a nice citrus odor.

2. Grease is Stuck in the Kitchen Drain

A common reason why kitchen sinks develop a rotten egg smell or a moldy odor is because grease or fat is stuck in the drain. If you dump food grease down the drain, it may harden along the side. Once the food grease starts to spoil, the odor will begin to drift out and into your kitchen. While the drain is a convenient way to get rid of grease, it’s best to avoid dumping it down the drain.

If grease is causing the smell, you may be able to eliminate it by pouring several teaspoons of baking soda into the drain. Follow that up with a little bit of vinegar. For drain clearing, boil a pot of water and pour that down the drain. The combination of baking soda and vinegar will create a foamy substance that will eat away the grease particles that are creating the smell while the boiling water will remove it and help with drain cleaning.

3. The Drain Hasn’t Been in Use

Every drain line has a trap that blocks sewer gas from making its way back into your home via the drain. The drain line is a U-shaped pipe that holds water. If you fail to use a sink for a while, the water stored in the trap may evaporate. This will permit the gas to enter your home.

To treat the problem, run the water in the kitchen sink. Once you run the water, it will fill the trap and the odor should dissipate.

4. Missing Drain Trap

Some homeowners decide to try their hand at home improvement jobs without knowing how to complete the job properly. This may include installing a new sink. If the person didn’t know what they were doing, they may have failed to include a drain trap. If a sink doesn’t have a drain trap, then there won’t be anything stopping sewer smells from making their way into the main areas of your home.

If you have a sink that’s missing a drain trap, consider contacting a professional plumber who is licensed to install one.

5. A Clogged Vent

When there is a sewer type odor seeping out of your kitchen sink and into the living areas of your home and you don’t suspect that there is an issue with the drain trap, it could be the vent. A sink’s plumbing drain vent is a vertical pipe that’s narrow and long. It connects your home’s main sewer line to the exterior air.

The shaft vent keeps the pipe pressure stable. These vents are installed along the roof of your home. If the vent isn’t operational, something is likely blocking it. This could be a bird’s nest or a bit of debris.

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When to Hire a Professional

If you’ve attempted to fix a drain smell yourself but the odor remains, hire a professional drain cleaner. You may need a licensed plumber if your drain has a stubborn clog or if your home’s water supply has too much sulfate. If you have a drain problem that you can’t solve, contact us at the Clog Wizards.