How to guide for fixing and solving smelly drains

how to fix smelly drains

Share This Post

How to Fix Smelly Drains

You may be thinking that it is fairly common for drains to have a minor smell to them, but this actually is not the case. Your drains are designed to flush away all manner of water and waste, but over time, debris such as soap and food particles can fix itself to the lining of a drain causing a build-up of residue that begins to petrify over time.

Additionally, a smelly drain can also be a sign of a larger issue, such as a drain clog. There are several steps you can take to understand what causes this and how to both fix and prevent it. Pour boiling water and baking soda down the drain to release gunk build-up and to get rid of the smell.

It is always a good idea to contact a company like KJC Drainage, since there is always a possibility that foul-smelling drains are the sign of a larger, more complex problem. In the meantime, there are a series of steps you can take to at the very least, neutralise the odour. Smelly drains can result from food particles, hair, cooking grease, soap and shampoo debris, and other gunk that can line your pipes.

These substances do not have to become jammed into the pipes below to release putrid odours, bacteria can begin to breed and multiply on the particles that remain stagnant for long periods of time.

Additionally, the drainage vents can become clogged, which is the likely culprit of a standard clog noticed in residential drains in kitchens and bathrooms. Once the vent is overrun with debris, a build-up of stagnant, dirty water likely begins to pool in the basin of the sink. But there can also be smelly drains simply from not using the sink and drain often enough.

The sewage lines below release a series of gases, which can easily permeate up a drain that has no water and particle lining to trap or deter the gas. Old and outdated plumbing lines can erode and rust over time, which is likely a cause of an odour that smells metallic or like decaying matter resulting from calcification. There are many causes and thankfully there are many DIY remedies to fix smelly drains.

What Can You Do About Smelly Drains Inside The House?

There are few residential smells as unpleasant as a smelly drain, drain smells in houses make life unpleasant, and the prospect of having guests over during this issue is zilch. In the time that you are waiting for a professional drain company to address the issue, there are some home remedies you can perform to reduce the odour. Avoid using industrial-grade chemicals at first, and try the following remedies instead.

Baking soda, vinegar, and hot water are amazing home remedies when it comes to cleaning and destroying smells. You can start by running as much hot water into smelly drains as your water bill can stand. The hot water loosens matter effectively, which will promote flushing if there isn’t a substantial clog.

You can also add a cup or two of baking soda to your smelly drain. Baking soda is renowned for its neutralisation properties. There is a reason that this substance works so well as an antacid and a cleaning agent. Allow the baking soda to sit in the drain an hour or two while it eats up and cancels out the particles or bacteria causing the smell and then rinse the drain with hot water.

Vinegar is also a great drain odour eliminator. This substance works much in the same way as baking soda but has the added benefit of being a particularly powerful cleaning agent. Boil or microwave a few cups of vinegar and simply pour down the smelly drain. Wait about an hour and then flush the drain with hot water.

The problem may be a bit more complex than what is seeable with the naked eye from above. The p-trap (curved structure under the sink), as well as drainage vents, can also be causes of drain smells in houses. The p-trap can easily be removed with a wrench and you may want to place a bucket underneath it to catch any stagnant water or debris. Rinse out any present gunk or substances.

Drainage vents are not given the acknowledgment that they deserve when it comes to plumbing as many residential homeowners barely even think of the role vents play at all. Drainage vents are a crucial component of a drainage system because they provide air pressure to drains to assist in moving the water and waste through to the sewage system. These vents can become clogged with outside debris over time and need to be cleaned off to allow air to enter into drains.

See our post on how to unblock a sink!

Smelly Drains Outside: What Can You Do?

Outside drains are usually more prone to produce foul odours than indoor drains. This is due to the constant exposure to the elements, as well as debris from storms and wind that can drive all manner of things into outdoor drains. When an outside drain smells of rotten eggs, this is usually a sign of sewage gas, such as hydrogen sulfide, building up into your drain as a result of a clog.

This is likely a result of bacteria growth in the ground around the outside drain. It can also be a result of a severe sewage back-up that may or may not be coming from your home or the surrounding sewage lines. If you notice this smell with a blocked outside drain, you can follow the above steps for indoor drains, but it is essential to call a plumbing professional for outdoor drains as this can be a very serious sign of a residential issue.

Related Smelly Drain Questions

Can I Use a Drain Cleaner to Get Rid of the Smell?

Cleaners for smelly drains are readily available, and if you have one on hand, you can certainly follow the directions and see if it fixes the problem. Until a professional can address the problem, it is usually best to stick to simple solutions that may not cause any adverse effects as a powerful cleaner would. If you choose to purchase a smelly drain cleaner, be sure and follow the directions on the label accordingly.

Smelly Washing Machine Drains

Apart from kitchen and bathroom sinks, a washing machine drain is probably the most common drain that can release foul odours over time. Thick washing detergents can produce gunk build-up at a rapid pace and when combined with the soil released from clothing, this can easily result in smelly washing machine drains. If you encounter this problem, run a standard wash cycle with only hot water and no clothing or soap.

Hot water is usually a wonder fix for smelly drains since it releases stubborn gunk and particles to then flush easily into the sewer line. If this doesn’t work, you will certainly want to call a plumbing professional. Washing machines piping and drainage systems are incredibly complex, so it is always best to allow professionals to address these concerns.

Smelly Shower Drains

We use our shower on a daily basis, which means that dirt, grime, soap, shampoo, shaving cream, sweat, and any other debris from our person goes through a shower drain. Hair is also a nightmare when it comes to shower drains since it can cause clogs so easily. If your shower drain smells, this is likely the cause of a clog. It may help to start with a drainage rod and probe the interior of the shower drain. If the rod pulls up hair, this is likely the culprit.

You can keep pushing the rod around to release the gunk and hair, which will release the clog. If a clog is indeed the case for a smelly shower drain, you can then run hot water down the drain with some baking soda, vinegar, and lemon to neutralise the odours. If none of this works, you may need a plumber to take more drastic steps to fix what very well may be a severe clog.

In Summary

Smelly drains are a fairly common occurrence, albeit not an occurrence that anybody ever wants to deal with. The causes behind smelly drains can be superficial or complex, depending on what is causing the odours to emanate from the drain. To fix a smelly drain, you can use a combination of hot water, baking soda, vinegar, and even lemon to run through the drain to get rid of the smell.

If none of those remedies seem to work, you may need to consult with plumbing company in Hampshire to address the problem. Other causes can be clogged pipes, obstructed drainage vents, and even structural abnormalities in the main sewer line, which is why reporting the issue is usually the best course of action. Smelly drains can be fixed and there is no reason to live in a foul-smelling home due to pesky drainage problems.

More To Explore

Scroll to Top
Request a call back by a drainage expert
Get professional drainage advice now by completing our call back form or call us on 01329 310630 or 07496771999: