Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, sooner or later you’ll have to deal with a smelly drain. This can be caused by anything from food particles and hair to mold and mildew. But don’t worry; there are ways to clean your drains and get rid of the smell without resorting to harsh chemicals.
Learn how to get rid of drain smell with this guide to cleaning stinky drains; we’ll teach you how to effectively clean your drains using simple and affordable methods. Let’s get started!
How to Get Rid of Drain Smell- Guide to Cleaning Stinky Drains
Drain odor in the kitchen is caused by a build-up of food, grease, and bacteria, while bathroom drains often contain hair, soap, and skin cells. Sprinkle baking soda in the sink, followed by hot water. Vinegar or bleach works to neutralize the sulfur odor and kill the germs that cause it.
A typical toilet bowl contains over 3 million bacteria per square inch! That can equal a big stink in the bathroom. Bathtubs, shower drain, bathroom sinks, and kitchen garbage disposals can all be the source of unpleasant odors throughout the house. Here’s how to get that stench under control and keep it that way.
DIY Drain Odor Elimination
Even if your home is scrupulously clean, drains can sometimes get smelly. Particles of food, grease, and bacteria build up in the kitchen drain and garbage disposal, creating a miasma of foul odors.
When you clean your sinks, don’t forget to freshen the drains while you’re at it.
✔️ Pour a little bleach down, followed by hot water.
✔️ A scoop of baking soda will also sweeten the drain and help clear out the offending smells.
✔️ A handful of ice cubes in the garbage disposal will keep the blades clean and free of grease and food. (They do make quite a clatter but won’t hurt the disposal)
✔️ Citrus peelings- think of oranges, lemons, and limes- will impart a clean, fresh aroma to the garbage disposal. Tear them into small pieces, and be sure to run plenty of water along with the peels.
Bathroom sinks and bathtub drains collect a whole host of objectionable materials. Soap residue and shaving cream, even toothpaste, are combined with hair and skin cells to create a gross smell that can take over a bathroom.
Not surprisingly, toilet bowls often contribute to the stink. To combat these smells, ensure your tub drain has a “hair catcher filter” to reduce the amount of hair that washes down the drain.
Available at hardware stores and online, they are inexpensive and come in sizes to fit every drain in your home. These reduce the amount of hair and bits of soap that go down the drain, cutting down on clogs and slow drains.
Ways to Clean Stinky Sink and Shower Drains
These methods utilize items that you probably already have on hand. All-natural and inexpensive, they work surprisingly well.
- Vinegar. Measure four cups of vinegar into a saucepan and heat to boiling. Pour two cups of hot vinegar down the offending drain, follow with cold water, then the rest of the vinegar. This will eliminate minor clogs and remove the smelly particles in the drain.
- Hot Water. Boil a large pot of water, and stir in a small amount of dish soap. Dump half of it down the drain and allow a few minutes to work. Next, run cold water to solidify any grease remaining in the drain. Finish with the other half of the hot water and soap mixture.
- Baking Soda. A sprinkle a day keeps odors away. Baking soda will naturally sweeten drains and works even better when vinegar is added to the mix. Put about a cupful of baking soda into the drain, followed by about a cup of vinegar. Allow the mixture to fizz, then rinse with first hot water, then cold.
- Snake. Drain snakes are available in stores and online and are very effective at removing the cause of many drain odors.
1 Read and follow the directions on the package.
2 Just poke it down the drain and give it a few twists.
3 You will be astounded at the awful clog that comes out.
4 Many snakes are disposable, so just toss them in the trash when you’re finished.
5 Run plenty of hot water to rinse the inside of the drain.
Ways to Clean Stinky Garbage Disposal Drains
Hardworking garbage disposals need regular attention to continue working properly. Avoid pouring grease down the disposal, as it can cling to the blades and breed all kinds of germs and bacteria. Other things to steer clear of are stringy vegetables (onions, broccoli stems, celery stalks), egg shells, and coffee grounds. These items make great compost, so consider saving them aside for your garden.
1Ice Cube Method: Once a week, pop a half dozen ice cubes in the waste disposal. Run the cold water and turn the disposal on until the clunking stops. You may choose to add a cup of table salt along with the ice cubes to add an extra boost of cleaning. The abrasive salt will help remove food particles from the disposal.
2 Citrus Peels: Lemon peelings smell so wonderful and clean, especially when chopped up. Any citrus fruit will work, however: grapefruit, oranges, and limes. Cut into small pieces of an inch or so, push them down the disposal and grind away. Run plenty of cold water along with the peels.
3 Vinegar and Baking Soda: For deep cleaning, pour one cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal. Follow with one cup of white vinegar and let it fizz up. Cleaning vinegar is a great alternative to white vinegar. It contains 6% acidity, rather than 5% of regular vinegar, and also has a nice fresh scent. Cleaning vinegar should never be used in cooking.
Bathroom Drain Odor VS Kitchen Drain Odor
The big difference between the two is the cause of the odors. Bathroom drains are exposed to soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, hair, and skin cells. Kitchen drains mostly deal with dirty dishwater and bits of food, grease, and fat. While the causes are different, the cure is nearly the same.
Smelly bathrooms can also be caused by the toilet or bathtub drain, not just the sink. Crush a clove of garlic and place it in the commode overnight. In the morning, flush and be amazed! The odor is gone. Bathroom sinks can get gunky in a hurry. Add a half-cup of baking soda down the sink, followed by two cups of boiling water. Allow about ten minutes for the mixture to clear. This same recipe will freshen shower drains.
These remedies should be used in conjunction with regular cleaning of the sink, toilet, and bathtub. Odors and clogs will be much easier to deal with if performed regularly.
How to Make Homemade Drain Cleaner
Homemade drain cleaners are not meant to clear tough clogs. These weekly maintenance tips will prevent slow drains and blockages. Snaking the drain monthly will keep drains cleaner and better smelling.
1 Room temperature cola (doesn’t have to be a name brand) can do wonders for your drains. Pour a two-liter bottle of any kind of cola down the drain and allow it to sit for an hour or more. Follow with good flushing of hot water to remove any sticky residue that might be left in the drain.
2 Vinegar and baking soda have been a favorite since middle school science fairs. There’s something satisfying about the fizzing action of the baking soda when mixed with vinegar. Better yet, it works!
3 A pot of boiling water with a squirt of basic dawn dish soap in it can clear up a world of grease and gunk that are stuck in the drain. This method works especially well in the kitchen.
Tips-n-Tricks to Prevent Stinky Drains
Our grandmothers told us that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this adage couldn’t be more true than when it comes to housekeeping. Keeping sinks and drains clean is a whole lot easier than trying to cure them.
1 Run your waste disposal for at least 20 or 30 seconds when putting food scraps down the drain.
2 Pour a large pot of very hot water down the drain weekly to prevent the accumulation of sludge.
3 Run water in sinks that aren’t used regularly. Add a small amount of mineral oil to the drain to prevent rapid evaporation.
4 Fill the sink with hot water and add a cup of bleach. Allow the mixture to drain naturally. This will kill bacteria and keep your pipes clean.
What NOT to Put Down the Drain
Drains are handy places to dispose of liquid waste, but many things should never be flushed down the commode or dumped in the sink. Paint, chemicals, and non-food items can damage pipes. Cotton balls, cigarette butts, and paper towels can clog your commode.
Feminine hygiene products should be disposed of with care. Some parts are flushable, some are not. Follow the directions on the package. Baby wipes, clean-up cloths, and Q-tips should never go down the pipes.
Medicines, bandages, and gauze should be disposed of properly, and the drain is not the place.
Large pieces of vegetables or fruit should go in the compost pile. Don’t put potato peelings, apple cores, or fibrous vegetables like cabbage leaves down the disposal.
Cooked rice can clump into a sticky mess and is better thrown in the garbage. Oils, fat, and grease do not go down the drain. Besides clogs and smells, fatty waste can draw flies and gnats (and worse) to your kitchen.
Avoid lye and other harsh chemicals when it comes to clogs. If you can’t snake it out or unclog it with hot water and a plunger, you may need to call a professional. Here are 5 common clogged drain causes and how you can fix them quick!