How to Eliminate Drain Odor

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Have you ever walked into your kitchen or bathroom only to discover a foul and unidentifiable smell? If you have, and you failed to find the source of this unknown smell, then the culprit is most likely drain odor. That’s right! Your drains can stink.

Okay, so we’ve established that drains can smell bad. But that begs the question: how do you get rid of the smell? Well, to answer that, we should first discuss precisely why your drains smell bad in the first place. Then, once we’ve established the reason behind your stinky drains, we’ll talk about the steps you can take to alleviate the problem. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

What Causes Drain Odors in the First Place?

Usually, the two primary culprits behind smelly drains are bacteria and clogs. Hair, food, gunk, grease, and other debris can clog pipes. If you don’t take care of your clogs, then they provide odor-causing bacteria with a perfect breeding ground. 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.

However, clogs and the bacteria they contain are not the only causes of foul-smelling drains. Other things that can cause your drains to smell a little funky include:

  • 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.

How to Rid Yourself of Drain Odor

Now that you have a firm grasp on what causes drain odor in the first place, let’s go through the DIY steps you can take to get rid of the problem. Some of the most successful DIY solutions include the following:

  • Use Bleach: Bleach kills almost every type of odor-causing bacteria. Remember, kill the bacteria, and you kill the odor. To clean your drains with bleach, fill the sink with hot water. Then add a little cup or so of liquid bleach to the hot water. After that, let the sink drain and repeat the process until the smell is gone.
  • Try Boiling Water: Just like bleach, boiling water kills most forms of odor-causing bacteria. To use boiling water to remove drain odors, just pour a little bit of boiling water down the drain. Repeat until the smell is gone.
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda May Do the Trick: Vinegar and baking soda are incredibly effective at killing drain odors at the sources. To use vinegar and baking soda to clean your drains, pour a little dry baking soda down the drain. Then slowly add vinegar until all the baking soda has reacted. You’ll know you’re done when you can’t hear any bubbles when you pour in more vinegar and the smell is eliminated.
  • Snaking the Drain: Using a drain snake to remove clogs from your drain can help eliminate smells. Remember, most drain smells come from clogs and bacteria. If you remove the clog where the bacteria reside, then you’ll effectively remove the odor as well.
  • Mineral Oil Can Help: As we said earlier, sewer odor can escape through rarely used drain traps. To eliminate sewage odors from unused drains, just pour some mineral oil down the trap. The mineral oil acts as a barrier between sewer gasses and your sink.


Foul-smelling drains are no fun. Luckily, most drain odor problems can be eliminated with a little hard work and basic knowledge. The DIY drain cleaning steps listed above will go a long way towards reducing your drain odor problems. They might even save you a couple of hundred dollars in unnecessary plumbing repairs! So, if you have smelly drains, then give some of the tips and tricks listed above a try! If after you’ve finished trying to solve the problem yourself you still have odor problems, then feel free to contact our drain cleaning professionals!