The only thing worse than a plumbing problem is one that makes your house smell bad! If a stinky sink is ruining your home environment, you may not know what’s causing the odor or how to get rid of it. You may also be worried that the smell means a major plumbing bill is headed your way.
Your sink has a tough job. Imagine all the things that go down your sink in a week, especially if you have a garbage disposal. Over time, even the cleanest household’s sink will begin to accumulate odor-causing bacteria or blockages.
Luckily, getting rid of a gross smell from your sink drain is usually fairly simple.
If you’re wondering, “Why does my sink drain smell?” We’re here for you. Keep reading for some of the most common reasons this important part of your home starts to smell and what you can do about it.
Why Does My Sink Drain Smell?
When you notice that your kitchen sink smells, you may be at a loss as to why. The good news is that smelly sinks are often the result of a minor issue that can be easily fixed. Depending on what the cause is, you may even be able to do it yourself.
1. Mold and Mildew
Sometimes a leak that has been overlooked causes a smell, and the sink will take the blame. Water escaping your pipes can soak wood and other materials around it, causing a moldy smell. That’s why, if you’re noticing a bad odor in your sink area, one of your first steps should be to look for leaks.
2. Bacteria Growth
If you’re sure there’s no leak causing the smell, the most likely culprit is bacteria. Bacteria are a natural part of your plumbing system, but when too many, or the wrong kind accumulate, they can cause terrible odors.
During the normal course of a sink’s life, it sees everything from food scraps to hair makes its way down the pipe. Eventually, even a regularly cleaned sink can accumulate enough bacteria to cause an odor, particularly if there is a clog or the start of a clog somewhere.
3. Clogged Sewer Vent
When your sink smells bad and isn’t draining properly, there’s a chance you have a clogged sewer vent. When this happens, the gases that normally get sent out of your pipes get trapped and build up, causing not only a growing odor but drainage problems too.
This is a more common occurrence in houses that aren’t regularly used, so if you have a vacation home with an smelly sink, this could be the cause.
If your sink has a distinct rotten egg smell, you may have too much sulfate in your water. This isn’t toxic, but sulfates can damage clothing and cause digestive issues when ingested. Too many sulfates in your water can also create drainage problems, meaning the smell may be coming from both the sulfates themselves as well as a clog.
5. Plumping Errors
Sometimes you may notice a smell right after you have plumbing work done or new pipes installed. This may be due to an error made by your plumbers, such as a leaking pipe or a missing component. If you notice a bad smell coming from your sink drain soon after a plumbing visit, contact your plumber to have them double-check the work.
What Do I Do If My Sink Drain Smells?
Luckily, smelly sinks are often fairly easy to take care of on your own before needing to involve a professional. If the problem is just build-up or minor clogs, some of these common DIY tips for cleaning a sink drain could help.
Hot Water and Dish Soap
If you’re really lucky, all your sink needs is a decent wash. Start by filling your sink with at least a few inches of very hot water, and then add some dish soap and agitate the mixture until it seems bubbly. When you’re ready, open the drain and let the soapy mixture run through it.
If you have a mild odor or a new sink, this might be all that is required to get things smelling good again.
Ice, Lemon Peels, and Salt
When basic soap and hot water don’t do the trick, you can try this technique instead. With your garbage disposal off, put some ice cubes and a handful of coarse salt down your drain. Turn on your disposal and let the ice and salt be processed for a few moments before throwing in some lemon peels.
The salt and ice will work to get rid of any physical residue in your sink, while the lemon peels help eliminate odor.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
A tried and true DIY cleaning method, baking soda and vinegar can be very effective for cleaning smelly sink drains.
Start by boiling some hot water on the stove. While your water is heating, pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar down your drain, and let the mixture sit. After about ten minutes, flush the drain with boiling water.
Finish up by flushing the drain with cold tap water, and wait to see if the odor is gone.
When Should I Call a Professional?
If you try a few times to resolve the smell on your own without success, it may be time to call a professional drain cleaner. We also recommend bringing in your plumber when you suspect you may have too much sulfate in your water, a severe clog, or a leak that you can’t pinpoint.
Professional plumbers have plenty of tools and tricks to help get your sink healthy and your home smelling great again, so it’s never a bad idea to give them a call.
Get Your Home Smelling Fresh Again
After a long day at work, the last thing you want to ask when you come home is: Why does my sink drain smell? That’s because a stinky sink can turn even the comfiest home into an unpleasant place.
If you’ve noticed a bad smell around your sink drain and you can’t fix the problem on your own, it’s time to get outside help. Contact us today at (402) 731-2727 to arrange a visit and get back to the wonderful smelling home you deserve.