4 Ways to Eliminate Drain Odor

A garbage disposal that was freshly cleaned

Many homeowners are beginning to appreciate the usefulness not only of garbage disposal units, but even the simple sink strainer. This is especially true if you are one of those homeowners who work their kitchen sink drains very hard. However, no matter how careful you are with what goes into your drains, inevitably, grease, food particles, and other nasty things will find their way into the drain and cause smelly odor. So what should you do? How can you eliminate the smelly odor from your drains?

First, it’s important to have an idea of what is causing the odor in your drain. While in your kitchen, food and grease are usually the issues, in other parts of your home you may find other causes of odors. Here are a few other common sources of smelly drain odor:

  • Sewage: As sewage decomposes it releases noxious fumes and gases. These gases are unpleasant and smell like old sewage. Sewer gases can permeate through your drains when there are empty drain traps. Usually, sewer smells occur in irregularly used drains.
  • Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew smells are directly attributed to the existence of mold or mildew near your drains. Usually, the mold and mildew smells occur in drains when there is a leak in the drain or pipes that connect to it.
  • Plumber Error: Plumbers, like everyone else, aren’t perfect. Sometimes they make mistakes. Simple errors — like forgetting to install drain traps or sewage vents — can cause severe drain odors.

Luckily, taking care of drain clogs is relatively easy. You can clean out your drains yourself, or hire our team of professional plumbers to do it for you. Now, let’s discuss four ways you can eliminate drain odor!

1. Trap Water Level

One of the most common reasons that your drains begin to smell bad is when sewer gases begin to creep into your home. This normally happens when the water level in the trap begins to evaporate or dry up completely.

The water in the trap will eventually dry up when the drain is not being used frequently like in the case of drains in the basement for example. These floor drains are hardly used, perhaps unless you experience some flooding in the basement or try to do some cleaning.

This kind of odor is not only smelly, but can also be risky to your health. To make sure that the trap water level is enough to seal the harmful sewer gases, pour about a quart of water into the drain and top it off with a few tablespoons of cooking oil. This is to ensure that the water will not easily evaporate and keep the trap sealed.

Do this about 3 to 4 times every year to keep your drain traps in good shape.

2. Pour Hot Water

Hot or Boiling water is good for your drains. This helps to melt hardened dirt that can be causing odor to come from your drains. Simple boiling water can be very powerful against mild smells coming from your drains.

In fact, if you have any boiled water leftover from your cooking or food preparation, instead of letting it cool down, pour it down the drain. Flushing your drains with boiling water is a great way to make sure that grease and fat do not harden inside the drains and cause clogging.

More importantly, because boiling water is not toxic, it will not damage your pipes even if they are considerably old and weak. So the next time you boil pasta, put that hot water to good use.

3. Sprinkle Baking Soda

Did you know that periodically sprinkling baking soda down the drain can help you get rid of foul odor? This is also a good way to keep your drains odor-free. The baking soda that is allowed to rest down the drain will absorb all the smell and dissipate it instead of letting it escape into your home.

When is the best time to sprinkle baking soda? You can do this at least once a week right after washing your dishes. If you are going on a vacation, it would be a good practice to sprinkle some baking soda down the drain before you leave.

4. Pour Hot Vinegar

Is this the first time you heard about using hot vinegar? Most of us are familiar with using white vinegar against smelly odor, but hot vinegar? Actually, hot vinegar is a great way to keep your drains clean. In fact, it is also an excellent cleaner for your coffee maker.

Put equal parts of white vinegar and water in the water chamber of your coffeemaker and allow it to run a half brew before turning it off. After an hour, finish the brew cycle. Now, instead of throwing that hot vinegar away, pour it down the drain and it will take care of all that gunky smell from your drains. Additionally, you can combine vinegar and baking soda for even more odor-taming power!

Preventing Garbage Disposal Odors

  1. The garbage disposal begins to stink when food sits in the pipes. You can prevent this by flushing hot water down the sink after every use of the garbage disposal. Just run hot water in the sink and let it keep running for about 30 – 40 seconds. Run the disposal and follow with hot water every time. Doing so will go a long way towards reducing the occurrence of stinky garbage disposal odor.
  2. Additionally, take time to routinely clean your garbage disposal before an issue comes up. For milder cleanings, simply put some dish soap and hot water in your disposal, plug it with the stopper, and then run the disposal for a little bit. Then, remove the stopper and scrub the flaps at the enterance of your disposal to remove any stuck on food.
  3. Another great method to clean your disposal and prevent odors is to load it up with a decent amount of ice and salt. When you run your disposal with these materials in it, they are abrasive and help break up and remove grime, build up, and stuck on food from your system.

If the odor from your drains persists, despite frequent cleaning and preventive maintenance, call Scott English Plumbing to get your system checked & get a drain cleaning service. From professional drain snaking to more intense drain cleaning methods, we’ll get you home working (and smelling) optimally again.